About 300 northern residents will be out of a job, following the announcement this week (Jan. 11) that Canfor is permanently closing one of its Prince George milling operations.
The pulp line at the Prince George Pulp and Paper Mill will be phased out over the next couple of months. The publicly traded company said the closure of this kraft pulp aspect of their business would be finished by the end of 2023’s first quarter.
Calling it a “right-sizing” of its “operational footprint,” Canfor said the closure was connected to the overall downturn in forestry activity on the regional landscape. Pulp and paper production is tied directly to the availability of wood from other aspects of the forest industry like sawmilling.
“In recent years, several sawmills have permanently closed in the Prince George region due to reductions in the allowable annual cut and challenges accessing cost-competitive fibre,” said Canfor’s president and CEO Kevin Edgson. “This has had a material impact on the availability of residual fibre for our pulp facilities and we need to right-size our operating platform. As a result, we have made the very difficult decision to shut down the pulp line at Prince George Pulp and Paper Mill and will continue to operate the Specialty Paper facility.”
Canfor has two other pulp facilities in Prince George that are still operational, in addition to the specialty paper line that will still operate within the one affected factory.
Analysis is still underway as to the impact of the job losses on the region’s labour pool and economy.
“We greatly appreciate our valued team members who have been helping to navigate a very challenging business environment,” said Edgson. “We understand and regret the impact today’s announcement has on our employees, their families, the businesses that support our operations, and the local community. We will be working in the weeks and months ahead to support our employees through this transition.”