Canfor’s Houston sawmill re-opened Jan. 7 following an extended Christmas shutdown. (Black Press file photo)

Canfor back to full production

Company had curtailed operations at all its mills

Canfor has resumed operations at its Houston mill following what turned out to be an extended Christmas shutdown.

The shutdown, termed a curtailment by the company, was in effect at all of its operations at the end of 2018 due to a continuing decline in lumber prices as well as high log costs and a shortage of logs.

Operations resumed Jan. 7 following a Dec. 24-28, 2018 closure which was extended to include Jan. 2 to 4.

“The curtailments have not resulted in any layoffs. We employ approximately 385 people at the Houston mill, including the woodlands team,” said company official Michelle Ward last week.

Canfor’s production output is expected to be reduced by 55 million board feet in the first quarter of 2019 due to the extended curtailment and a reduction in operating hours.

The production cut followed a Canfor announcement it was buying 70 per cent of a privately-owned sawmill company called the VIDA Group, something the company said was to satisfy the demand of its global customers.

“[With] some of that annual allowable cut reductions due to the mountain pine beetle and some of the recent forest fires that we’ve all had to deal with in the past couple of years, the expansion opportunities were certainly limited in B.C., but our customers are growing and we need to keep pace with them,” company president and chief executive officer Don Kayne said at a news conference last year in announcing the purchase.

“This acquisition enables us to secure additional fibre and an operational platform outside of Canada that will allow for the type of growth we need to support our customers.”

Canfor owns 38 production facilities, 21 of which are in B.C.

The Houston facility has been owned by Canfor since 1999 and after an extensive expansion program, was unveiled in 2004 as the world’s largest sawmill with an annual production capacity of 600 million board feet of dimension lumber.

While Canfor has scaled back up, it and other companies continue to bargain with unionized employees in hopes of reaching a new contract.

Members of the United Steel Workers staged a series of rotating strikes throughout the province last year to press for a new contract of wage increases and benefits improvements.

Companies, gathered together in the Council of Northern Interior Forest Employment Relations and the Interior Forest Labour Relations returned to the bargaining table with unionized workers in Kelowna last week.

Just Posted

Smithers man receives two-year sentence for fatal car crash

Over a year after a fatal crash, a Smithers man has been sentenced to two years plus a day in jail.

First Nations push for massive conservation area in northern B.C.

Includes ancestral areas of three Kaska Dena First Nations, just shy of the B.C.-Yukon border

Tahltan reach benefits agreement over Seabridge’s massive KSM gold mine project

$308M agreement provides additional billions for Tahltan jobs, contracts

B.C. court to mull continuing order against Coastal Gaslink pipeline opponents

Coastal GasLink was granted an interim injunction in December following arrests and protests

10 facts about Father’s Day

Did you know that the special day for dads was first celebrated in 1910?

B.C. university to offer mentorship program for former youth in care

Students using the provincial tuition waiver program will soon be able to form a community at KPU

Cyclists competing in one of the toughest bike races on the planet pass through Fernie

Divide riders looking strong as they finish first leg of 4160 km race

You might not know these B.C. records are public

Hired a lawyer to file a civil claim? Those are published online

B.C. bus driver loses case to get job back after texting while driving full bus

An arbitator ruled that Tim Wesman’s phone usage was a “a reckless disregard for public safety”

B.C. Interior First Nation family ‘heartbroken’ over loss of young mom

RCMP have released no new information since the June 8, 2019 homicide

Revamped B.C. Lions set to battle veteran Winnipeg Blue Bombers

The Lions’ first test of the season will be a big one

No business case for Trans Mountain expansion, says former environment minister

Cabinet is expected to announce its decision on the expansion of the Alberta-to-B.C. pipeline by Tuesday

LETTER: British Columbia’s forest industry crisis being made worse

Andrew Wilkinson warns of regulatory overload by John Horgan’s NDP

Most Read