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Domtar Espanola’s year-long curtailment announcement devastates mill workers, says Unifor

September 8, 2023  By P&PC Staff

Photo: Unifor

Unifor shared in a statement that 400 of its members and their families are feeling dejected with the news of a year-long curtailment of the Domtar mill in Espanola, Ontario.

“There were hopes this mill would find a buyer and find a way to continue its legacy as a vital part of the Ontario forestry sector, but with today’s news, workers are devastated,” said Lana Payne, Unifor National President. “We fully expect workers to be protected in the event of corporate mergers that have occurred recently in the forestry sector and our union believes that jobs should be protected through the regulatory process surrounding such mergers.”

Members were notified on Wednesday, September 6 that the mill will stop production on November 30, 2023, for a period of at least a year, with an intention to restart. Some workers will be required on-site to keep the mill in an idling state so the facility is kept in good working order, but this will be a fraction of the current workforce.


“Losing this many jobs for a year or more will impact the whole community so we are of course hoping the shutdown will end as soon as possible,” said Chris Presley, president of Local 74 at the mill. “Right now, we’re focused on supporting the workers through this transition.”

The union and the company have meetings arranged over the coming days to discuss specifics and members will receive updates through their local union representatives.

“I think many of us are trying to keep our hopes up and help each other out,” said Dean Houle, President of Local 156. “Forestry workers are used to ups and downs, but the longer we’re down, the harder it will be to get up and running again.”

Unifor Local 74 represents 250 members at the paper mill and Local 156 represents another 91 workers. The mill is reportedly the largest employer in the town of Espanola.

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