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GreenFirst to revamp operations at Kapuskasing Paper Mill with government support


April 5, 2022
By P&PC Staff

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GreenFirst Forest Products is planning to restart the second paper machine at its Kapuskasing Paper Mill. The company received over $1.2 million from the Skills Development Fund of the Ontario government’s Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development to support the recruiting, hiring and training of more than 45 new employees.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in many challenges, especially on the North American/Global newsprint markets. We are very pleased to receive the SDF funding from the Ontario government, which will ultimately allow for the creation of 45 new full-time positions with a focus on hiring candidates with manufacturing aptitudes that will become skilled trades or high-skilled operators,” said Paul Rivett, chairman of GreenFirst Forest Products.

GreenFirst acquired the Kapuskasing Paper Mill from Rayonier Advanced Materials on August 28, 2021. The mill was operating only one paper machine at that point. With the new investment, the company will begin restarting the second paper machine in May. This will help increase direct employment to about  300 jobs in Kapuskasing and surrounding areas. The mill is welcoming youth, women and Indigenous applicants for these positions. GreenFirst will restart the second machine in multiple phases starting in May, with the goal of full production (seven days – 24 hours operation) by October 2022.

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“This is tremendous news for GreenFirst and the communities around Kapuskasing, we thank Minister McNaughton and the Government of Ontario for providing this opportunity,” said Rick Doman, CEO of GreenFirst. “The Kapuskasing Paper Mill is a well-established paper operation that we continue to invest in to become more productive, with a goal to achieve more stable and sustainable employment. We would like to thank our president Michel Lessard, our vice-president of operations West André Ouimette, our general manager Pascal Champoux, and the entire Kapuskasing team for their significant contributions towards restarting the second paper machine.”

The funds received from the provincial government will be directed towards recruiting and training new employees, as well as current employees. This is to ensure that the workforce has the necessary skills to produce quality paper and meet required production targets safely and efficiently.

“We’re working for workers and bringing well-paying manufacturing jobs back to Northern Ontario. I am proud to support this project, which delivers millions of dollars to build a stronger community here in Kapuskasing and provide over 100 people with the skills they need to earn bigger paycheques for themselves and their families now, and for decades to come,” said Monte McNaughton, Minister of Labour, Training and Skills Development.

GreenFirst is partnering with local employment organizations and academic institutions, including the Employment Service, College Boreal, Schools, Indigenous communities, the Town of Kapuskasing and surrounding municipalities to continue to build and train its growing workforce in Kapuskasing.

The company has established a training platform, which includes online training and a standardized delivery in support of the integration of all new workers. The training also focuses on the development of existing employees moving into more senior roles.

This Employment Ontario project is funded in part by the Government of Ontario and the Government of Canada.