Paper Excellence to shutter Mackenzie, BC pulp mill
By P&PC Staff
By P&PC Staff
Paper Excellence Canada is indefinitely curtailing operations at its pulp mill in Mackenzie, British Columbia at the end of June, affecting 253 jobs.
“Despite best efforts by the company and its committed team of employees in Mackenzie, the COVID-19 global pandemic is having negative impacts on pulp markets creating conditions that no longer support the on-going operation of the mill,” says the company in a statement.
“Furthermore, the deep fibre shortage in BC and the Mackenzie region have affected the mill’s competitiveness. This shortage was exacerbated by recent curtailment of sawmills in the Mackenzie region dramatically reducing economic fibre availability.”
The company says the employees may have opportunities at other Paper Excellence mills across Canada, and that the terms of the collective agreement with Unifor Local 1092 will be honoured.
The mill will close June 30, and the 182 Unifor members will receive compensation through August 6.
“This shutdown comes after a lengthy battle from both the workers and the owner to address fibre access issues and develop a sustainable plan for the province’s forestry sector,” says Jerry Dias, president of Unifor, in a statement.
“A forestry town like Mackenzie won’t survive if both governments don’t intervene immediately.”
Doug Donaldson, B.C.’s minister of forests, lands, natural resource operations and rural development, says in a statement that the government will assist workers under the province’s $69-million forestry worker support fund, which includes retraining, job placements and retirement transitions.
A skeletal staff will remain at the mill to monitor equipment and provide security.