Canfor temporarily shutting down lumber mills across B.C.

Canfor temporarily shutting down lumber mills across B.C.

Low lumber prices and the high cost of fibre are the cause of curtailment, according to the company

Canfor has announced it will be temporarily closing down operations at almost all of its B.C. dimension mills.

The company said in a news release Wednesday, it will be shutting down operations for one week starting April 29. WynnWood mill outside of Creston will be the only facility of 13 to remain open.

Canfor cited low lumber prices and the high cost of fibre for the cause in having to curtail operations, which will impact 2,000 hourly employees.

“We regret the impact the curtailments will have on our employees, their families and their communities. We appreciate the hard work of our employees and contractors across all our operations,” said Michelle Ward, director of corporate communications.

She said two other mills in Mackenzie and Isle Pierre will be down for a second week in May.

This is the fourth curtailment that has been announced by Canfor since November of last year.

READ MORE: Canfor curtailing sawmill operations in B.C.

READ MORE: Canfor adds to mill curtailments with brief B.C. Interior shutdowns

Local 1-2017 President Brian O’Rourke said the union doesn’t feel good about the news.

“We heard today that they are going to be curtailing all their operations in B.C. and they are citing low lumber prices and high logging costs. They will be curtailing for one week,” he said.

He added that previous curtailments by Canfor in December were all due to fibre and lumber costs, as well. However, the union has no control over temporary shutdowns.

“We are hoping it will only be short term, a one week thing, and hopefully things will pick up and run as they did normally,” O’Rourke said.

Meanwhile, UNBC economist Dr. Paul Bowles said the scale of the shutdown is unexpected, however, there were signs that something along these lines would continue to happen.

“The price of lumber has fallen by 40 per cent from a year ago, so with weakening demand, big companies are worried about how many losses they are able to sustain in the short run,” he said.

Bowles explained that the point of the curtailment is to bring companies back into profitability by getting the price to go up and taking out some supply from the market.

“Which would eventually be felt by consumers as well,” he said.

“It is going to mean that workers, their income is going to be reduced and interrupted because of this. So that is going to have an impact on the provincial economy but especially in those communities such as Vanderhoof, that are heavily reliant on the lumber industry. It is going to mean less demand there and less activity in the services in the community,” Bowles added.

Dr. Kathy Lewis, Chair of Ecosystem Science and Management and a forestry professor at UNBC, said she doesn’t find the curtailment surprising.

“We have known for quite a long time that there was going to be a short fall in timber supply, so this was no surprise at all. But it is a short, middle-term problem,” she said.

Lewis said in the long run, the industry is going to be strong.

“In fact the industry itself is working to change what they are doing to make better use of wood that is available. So I think the long term prognosis is pretty good, but there will be some short-term problems,” she added.

In terms of timber supply, Lewis said forests are a renewable resource which leads to a fairly good picture for the industry in the long term. However, if various disturbances are added to climate change, it brings more elements of uncertainty.

“So there will always be uncertainty around timber supply and so the industry has to adapt to that and they have been,” Lewis added.

“We have major mills that have been making dimensional lumber, but they are also engaged in making other products from the forest such as pellets and chemicals and different kinds of solid wood products and so on, that allow them to make more of the trees that they cut,” she said.

Canfor Corporation has 13 sawmills in Canada with the total annual capacity of approximately 3.8 billion board fleet.

With files from Blair McBride


Aman Parhar
Editor, Vanderhoof Omineca Express

aman.parhar@ominecaexpress.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Tim Schewe
Drivesmart column: Pedestrians have rights to use highways

A highway is not the exclusive domain of drivers.

Sahtlam Volunteer Firefighters Association has stepped up, in spite of COVID, for a number of charities. (Submitted)
Sahtlam firefighters step up

Sahtlam Volunteer Firefighters Association has a long history of supporting charities

A mobile home fire prompted a quick response from firefighters Saturday around 3:30 p.m. (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)
Mobile home up in flames at Duncan RV Park

One patient burned, EHS on scene

Phaecelia used as a cover crop attracts bees and provides them with high quality nectar. (Mary Lowther photo)
Mary Lowther column: Cover crops keep soil healthy and productive

We don’t harvest a cover crop and instead dig the tops under when they’re immature and soft

Sarah Simpson
Sarah Simpson Column: Home is where you know your neighbours

My mom has lived at that address for 43 years.

The James C Richardson Pipe Band marches in a Remembrance Day parade on Nov. 11, 2019 in Chilliwack. Wednesday, March 10 is International Bagpipe Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of March 7 to 13

International Bagpipe Day, Wash Your Nose Day and Kidney Day are all coming up this week

(The Canadian Press)
‘Worse than Sept. 11, SARS and financial crisis combined’: Tourism industry in crisis

Travel services saw the biggest drop in active businesses with 31 per cent fewer firms operating

Pictures and notes in from friends and classmates make up a memorial in support and memory of Aubrey Berry, 4, and her sister Chloe, 6, during a vigil held at Willows Beach in Oak Bay, B.C., on December 30, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Mother of slain daughters supports recent changes to Canada’s Divorce Act

Sarah Cotton-Elliott said she believed her children took a back seat to arranging equal parenting

The Port Alice pulp mill has been dormant since 2015. (North Island Gazette file photo)
Parts recycled, life returning to inlet as as old Port Alice mill decommissioned

Bankruptcy company oversees de-risking the site, water treatment and environmental monitoring

Victoria man Brett Andersen is asking for people’s help to secure him one of eight free tickets to the moon. (Screenshot/@brettandersen Instagram)
Victoria man wants your help securing a free ticket to the moon

Japanese billionaire offering eight people a trip to the moon

The Conservation Officers Service is warning aquarium users after invasive and potentially destructive mussels were found in moss balls from a pet store. (BC Conservation Officers Service/Facebook)
Aquarium users in B.C. warned after invasive mussels found at pet store

Conservation officers were told the mussels were found in a moss ball from a Terrace pet store.

Hockey hall-of-fame legend Wayne Gretzky, right, watches the casket of his father, Walter Gretzky, as it is carried from the church during a funeral service in Brantford, Ont., Saturday, March 6, 2021. HE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Walter Gretzky remembered as a man with a ‘heart of gold’ at funeral

The famous hockey father died Thursday at age 82 after battling Parkinson’s disease

Donald Alan Sweet was once an all star CFL kicker who played for the Montreal Alouettes and Montreal Concordes over a 13-year career. Photo courtesy of Mission RCMP.
Ex-B.C. teacher who was CFL kicker charged with assault, sexual crimes against former students

Donald Sweet taught in Mission School District for 10 years, investigators seek further witnesses

Most Read