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CEP calls for lower hydro rates


February 24, 2006
By Pulp & Paper Canada

The announcement of further aid for the beleaguered forestry industry is being called a ‘welcome first step,’ by th…

The announcement of further aid for the beleaguered forestry industry is being called a ‘welcome first step,’ by the Communications, Energy and Paperworkers’ Union.

“Now, Mr. McGuinty needs to focus on energy costs which are absolutely crippling this sector and which have led to the loss of more than 3,500 of our members’ jobs in the last year or so. Every single company which has closed a mill or cut back operations in Ontario in the past year has cited energy costs as the primary reason,” said Cecil Makowski, Ontario region vice president of the CEP. “The allocated relief for road construction and maintenance and the reduction in stumpage fees is a more than welcome first step. But it cannot be isolated from the bigger issue of hydro costs which was also stressed in the final report of the Council on Forest Sector Competitiveness,” Makowski said of the recommendations set out by the group.

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Makowski further called attention to his union’s earlier proposal for the creation of special economic zones in northern and eastern Ontario, which would allow for a targeted reduction in hydro rates.

“This sector is the lifeblood of vast parts of this province and, in fact, is second only to the automotive sector in providing good paying jobs for Ontario workers. We need long term stability so that people can plan their lives. Designating special economic zones, in our view, is the best way to achieve that goal.”


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