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Canfor permanently closing pulp line at PG Pulp and Paper Mill, around 300 jobs affected

Canfor Pulp announced late this afternoon (Wednesday) the “right-sizing of their operating footprint” with the permanent closure of the pulp line at the Prince George Pulp and Paper Mill.

The pulp line is expected to close by the end of March this year.

According to the company, this will result in the reduction of 280,000 tonnes of market kraft pulp annually.

This will affect an estimated 300 positions across the organization by the end of the year.

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The Specialty Paper Facility at the site will continue to operate.

“The pulp line at PG Pulp provides steam to the paper facility, and we need to transition those services over to Intercon,” Canfor’s VP of Corporate Communications Michelle Ward explained.

“The Intercontinental Pulp Mill will provide that to the paper line, and that process takes some time.

Ward confirmed around 80 employees will be retained over a period of six to nine months to facilitate the transition.

“In recent years, several sawmills have permanently closed in the Prince George region due to reductions in the allowable annual cut and challenges accessing cost-competitive fibre,” said Canfor President and CEO Kevin Edgson in a news release.

“This has had a material impact on the availability of residual fibre for our pulp facilities and we need to right-size our operating platform. As a result, we have made the very difficult decision to shut down the pulp line at Prince George Pulp and Paper Mill and will continue to operate the Specialty Paper facility.”

BC’s Minister of Forests, Bruce Ralston, and Minister of Jobs, Economic Development, and Innovation have issued the following statement in response to the closure:

Our thoughts and support are with the workers and their families whose livelihoods have, for years, contributed to the success of the Canfor Pulp and Paper mill.

This is extremely difficult news considering the impacts this closure will have on the community.

Our government has invested $185 million in supports for people impacted by weakening
markets and changes in the forest sector.

This includes skills training, short-term employment opportunities and employment assistance, and retirement transition support for workers who are 55 years or older.

More information on support services can be found here: https://forestryworkersupport.gov.bc.ca.

At a local level, ministry staff will work with the community during this period to share information and co-ordinate an in-community response to ensure supports are in place for both individuals and the community.

Government is also working collaboratively with the B.C. Pulp and Paper Coalition, and has
acted on many of its recommendations to improve fibre access for pulp mills.

We have renewed funding for the Forest Enhancement Society of British Columbia, introduced the Coast Fibre Recovery Zone , and put in place new timber pricing policies and waste penalties for fibre left in the bush.

We will continue to be there for workers and support the forest sector as we continue to prioritize innovation and made-in-B.C. manufacturing, including a healthy lumber sector.

 

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