February 12, 2020 By P&PC Staff
The government of Nova Scotia has announced it is putting the $50-million forestry transition fund it created after Northern Pulp’s closure into trust.
This will allow the money to be used over multiple years, giving time for the industry to diversify.
A total of $13.5 million of the package has been spent so far by the forestry transition team on initiatives tied to securing employment for workers affected by the mill’s closure. The government will top that amount back up to $50 million before placing the money in trust.
Lands and Forestry Minister Iain Rankin announced the new trust to about 180 members of the forestry sector Feb. 12 at the Forest Nova Scotia Annual General Meeting in Halifax.
A three-member trustee board will oversee spending decisions and will include one government nominee and two transition team nominees. The trustee members will be announced once appointed.
The transition team will continue to listen to and work with those in the forestry industry to provide their best advice on short-term supports for workers and businesses, and on innovative approaches that support the sector over the long-term.
To date, $7 million has been allocated for silviculture and road work on both Crown land and private lands, $5 million for government to provide a guarantee for the Forestry Contractor Financing program, and $1.5 million to help workers from across the sector connect to customized programming in the skilled trades.
The province has also established emergency assistance funding for laid-off workers available through local Access Nova Scotia centres.
Northern Pulp closed on Jan. 31 to meet the province’s legislated deadline to stop depositing mill wastewater into Boat Harbour.
A small number of the mill’s 300 workers remain at the mill to complete a winterization process that will last through April, at which point the effluent pipe will be cleaned and capped.
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