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Business & Politics

CN, CP trains sharing rail lines to keep supplying Canada during blockades

By Ashley Burke
CBC News
February 25, 2020
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada

Quiet talks brokered by a government desperate to stop a growing economic threat led to two rail rivals coming together with a workaround to bypass the Tyendinaga blockade site. Since last week, Canada’s two largest railways — CN and Canadian Pacific — have been quietly sharing their rail lines to transport essential supplies to communities in need. …CN trains have been circumventing blockades using alternate routes — some through the U.S. — to continue deliveries to Quebec and Maritime communities facing shortages of essential goods such as propane, chemicals for water treatment facilities and animal feed. Transport Canada and Transport Minister Marc Garneau’s office approached the two companies and helped to negotiate the rail-sharing deal — which is still active in parts of the country dealing with blockades. …Government sources say they didn’t advertise the deal, fearing that more blockades could pop up in response.

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CN Rail layoffs will ‘further complicate’ tangled supply chain, industries say

Global News Radio
February 20, 2020
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada

Global News “The Morning Show” interview Joel Neuheimer, Vice-President of International Trade and Transportation for the Forest Products Association of Canada.

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Canfor loss nearly $300 million for year

The Prince George Citizen
February 21, 2020
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, United States

Lumber and pulp producer Canfor Corp. has recorded year-end loss of $294 million. The outcome, reported in its quarterly report issued Thursday, is in contrast to the $608 million in operating income the company gained over 2018 – the highest it had achieved in 10 years. “In contrast to the record-high lumber and pulp prices seen in 2018, weaker than anticipated global lumber and pulp demand for much of 2019 in combination with excess inventory levels gave rise to a sharp drop in market pricing for both lumber and pulp products in the current year,” the company said. “The deterioration in market conditions, in combination with ongoing fibre supply challenges and significant log cost increases in British Columbia resulted in extensive temporary and permanent sawmill curtailments across B.C., as well as summer curtailments at Canfor Pulp.”

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Police move in on blockade in Tyendinaga, Ont., take protesters into custody

By Solarina Ho
CTV News
February 24, 2020
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada

TORONTO — A large number of Ontario Provincial Police vehicles and officers moved in on a Mohawk blockade adjacent to a railway in Tyendinaga, Ont., outside Belleville Monday morning, after supporters of the Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs remained in place despite a midnight deadline to clear the area in order to avoid a police investigation and potential charges. A stream of police cruisers, vans, unmarked vehicles, loaded with officers, including some wearing what appeared to be tactical outfits were seen flooding the area. Some demonstrators were also seen taken into custody. …The demonstrations began across Canada in wake of the B.C. RCMP enforcing an injunction in unceded Wet’suwet’en territory to allow workers to start construction on the natural gas pipeline. …Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and high-level cabinet ministers will meet as part of the Incident Response group later Monday morning.

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CN Rail layoffs will ‘further complicate’ tangled supply chain, industries say

By Rachael D’Amore
Global News TV
February 19, 2020
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada

Blockades across Canada’s railway system have choked branches of the supply chain for two weeks. Now, industries are facing a new hurdle — the layoffs of hundreds of CN Rail workers. …“Our last situation like this was the CN Rail strike in November… and it took us over a month to recover,” Joel Neuheimer, VP for the Forest Products Association of Canada. …“Given that we’re in day 13 of the blockade now, it’s going to take at least twice that to recover.” …CN says it’s been forced to cancel more than 400 trains and keep a significant portion of the network at a standstill. …Canada’s forest sector — which includes lumber and wood products like pulp and paper — has already seen a loss of $100 million since the blockades sprang up two weeks ago. The pulp side of the industry is being hit the hardest, Neuheimer said.

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Feds should have extended EI, says displaced forestry worker

By Aman Parhar
The Caledonia Courier
February 22, 2020
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

Fort St. James forestry worker says the federal government should have extended EI and provided temporary job program assistance, until permanent jobs became available. Francois Hamel who worked for Conifex before it shut down shop in the district last year, was part of the plant committee and is still the committee’s chairman. Hamel’s job includes representing his co-workers during conflict and protecting their collective agreement. Hamel who is currently unemployed, told the Caledonia Courier “We have not had any support from the Federal Government to this point.” …The forestry placement office a.k.a Job Placement Co-ordination Office was set up by the Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development. In Fort St. James the office opened end of December, 2019. …As of now, only eleven people from Fort St. James have found employment through the job placement office.

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Painful Truth: Forestry no longer close to top of B.C.’s economy

By Matthew Claxton
BC Local News
February 21, 2020
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

Many of us grew up in an era when everyone knew someone who worked at a lumber or pulp mill, or driving a logging truck, or wielding a chainsaw in the woods. It wasn’t so long ago that B.C. was so synonymous with logging that even Monty Python could joke about “the mighty rivers of British Columbia” in the lumberjack sketch. If you knew nothing else about B.C., you knew it was where men in plaid cut down big trees. Up into the 1980s and early 1990s, even suburban communities like Langley, Surrey, and Maple Ridge had shorelines dotted with mills. Remember the old Interfor mill in Fort Langley? Remember how Fort Langley used to be a sort of quaint little village that had a couple of museums, but was still largely a blue-collar town? …We still think of British Columbia as somehow grounded in forestry. And while it’s a big industry, it’s not the biggest, and it hasn’t been in quite a while.

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WFP strike was long but necessary fight

Letter by Ryan Devoe
Cowichan Valley Citizen
February 21, 2020
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

Regarding Joe Sawchuk’s letter about WFP employee greed: Joe Sawchuk’s letter was big on opinion and short on fact, reason and perspective. The lengthy Western Forest Products strike had little to do with money. In fact, the percentage of yearly increases were rarely brought up on the picket line. The main issues of discussion were the many ridiculous and unwarranted concessions demanded by the company as well as the alternate shifting that was being used in some divisions. Of course if you give in to concessions on one contract, the company will be back to pick your pocket the next time.  Joe’s implication that it would be wise to work without a contract is backwards. Doing so would take away any leverage that the union might have in negotiations. 

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BC Forest Minister Updates Foresters On Actions To Regain Public Trust

By Kelly McCloskey
Tree Frog Forestry News
February 24, 2020
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

Doug Donaldson

Citing a long list of “unacceptable trends” inherited by his government after the 2017 election—such as rising log exports, falling AACs, tenure concentration and devastating forest fires—BC’s Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development Minister, Doug Donaldson prefaced his February 7th keynote presentation to the Association of BC Professional Foresters by opining on how these and other factors have resulted in an “erosion of public trust in how BC forests are managed”. “The result”, said Donaldson, “being forest-based communities and the people who live in them feeling frustrated and powerless”. Donaldson also noted the many market challenges facing the sector and world trade in general—such as low lumber prices, US trade protectionism, and the coronavirus outbreak—prior to updating the large crowd on eight associated actions undertaken or in process by his government. First up was the second phase of government’s Forest and Range Practice Act review, which recently completed its public input process. According to Donaldson, “the key themes include the need for more oversight and accountability, integration of non-timber resources, and forest landscape-wide plans to reduce cumulative effects and help address climate change”.

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Clearwater mayor loses patience with province’s slow pace on Canfor timber transfer

By Derrick Penner
The Vancouver Sun
February 23, 2020
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

Merlin Blackwell

Clearwater Mayor Merlin Blackwell’s patience ran out last week when he heard Forests Minister Doug Donaldson say in the legislature that an application for approval of the transfer of timber rights between lumber firms Canfor Corp. and Interfor Corp. hadn’t even reached his desk. …Donaldson has subsequently clarified, in interviews, that a recommendation is in the works and should be on his desk for a decision within a week or so, but that was after Blackwell snapped and expressed his own frustrations. …Blackwell’s understanding was that the companies submitted an application for the transfer to the Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development on Nov. 7. …Blackwell said Friday that he hadn’t talked to Donaldson but did get a call from his deputy minister, John Allan, and was glad to hear the new information. 

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Relive the ABCFP 2020 AGM and Conference

By Sandy McKellar and Kelly McCloskey
Tree Frog Forestry News
February 7, 2020
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

Earlier this month, 500+ foresters gathered in Nanaimo, BC for the ABCFP 2020 AGM and Conference. View our full image gallery. 

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The $20B Frontier mine shelved amid escalating rail blockades, CEO says Canada must reconcile climate and oil

By Jesse Snyder
The National Post
February 23, 2020
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

Teck Resources has withdrawn its application to build the $20-billion Frontier oilsands mine, just days before Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was expected to issue a ruling on the contentious project. …Teck chief executive Don Lindsay said the company made the decision as protests against a separate pipeline project stretch into their second week, blocking rail lines across the country and occupying public spaces. Lindsay said the Frontier project put his company “squarely at the nexus” of much deeper-lying tensions in Canada between natural resource extraction and First Nation land claims. “The promise of Canada’s potential will not be realized until governments can reach agreement around how climate policy considerations will be addressed in the context of future responsible energy sector development,” Lindsay said. …The Frontier mine has gone through nearly a decade of regulatory review, and a decision by the Liberal cabinet… was expected by end of week.

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Alberta and two First Nations make deal for proposed oilsands mine

By Rod Drinkwater
The Canadian Press in the Prince George Citizen
February 23, 2020
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

EDMONTON — The Alberta government has struck deals with two northern Alberta First Nations over a proposed open-pit oilsands mine that’s awaiting Ottawa’s approval. The Mikisew Cree and Athabasca Chipewyan First Nations had previously reached deals with Teck Resources Ltd. for the Frontier mine, but were still negotiating with the province over environmental and cultural concerns. …But on Sunday, the province announced agreements have been reached with both First Nations that address bison and caribou habitats and protect Wood Buffalo National Park. Adam says in a news release he’s now confident the project is a net benefit to his community, while Mikisew Cree Chief Archie Waquan called work by Teck and Alberta to resolve their concerns “groundbreaking.” Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government has until the end of the month to make its decision on whether to approve the project.

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Cariboo-Prince George MP says it’s time to end illegal rail blockades

By George Henderson
My Cariboo Now
February 20, 2020
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

Todd Doherty

The MP for Cariboo-Prince George is gearing up for a full day of debate on what he calls the national crisis created by the “illegal” rail blockades that have shut down much of the country’s rail system. Todd Doherty says the Prime Minister has so far been missing in action whether it’s… the logs that are sitting in West Fraser’s lot right now or Dunkley’s lot right now, the grain that goes form the prairies worldwide, it all moves by rail.” Doherty says the way he sees it, we’ve allowed a small group of economic disruptors to have just a disastrous effect on our economy, and put the livelihood and prosperity of First Nations and non First Nations in jeopardy.

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Domtar Looking to Bring new Fibre to Kamloops Pulp Mill

By Jeff Anreas
Radio NL 610
February 20, 2020
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

Domtar says its long-term goal in Kamloops is that wastewood can be brought to the mill economically. Fibre manager Andrew Lavigne says right now it’s only economical to get some of that wastewood because of government funding, through the Forest Enhancement Society of BC. The province has provided up to $1.25 million dollars for wastewood to be brought to Domtar, which would otherwise be burned in slash piles. …Lavigne says accessing that wood wouldn’t be economically viable right now otherwise. …The mill needs 2.3 tonnes of fibre to make one ton of pulp, and he says it’s been trying to replace the loss of sawmills in Vavenby and Chasm. …“Up to this point, we haven’t had to take any curtailments. And we’re working hard to make sure the fibre that’s needed in this facility is in place.”

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Computer malware stalls operations at Vancouver Island pulp mills

By Scott Cunningham
CTV News
February 20, 2020
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

Pulp and paper mill operator Catalyst Paper says its production capabilities have been curtailed and deliveries to its customers might be missed after malware was discovered on company computers. …Hackers sometimes use malware to extort money from companies. Paper Excellence Canada owns the Catalyst mills in Port Alberni, Crofton and Powell River. The company confirms each of those mills has been affected.  “The event has impacted the company’s ability to utilize its communications as well as certain production capabilities,” said Paper Excellence spokesperson Graham Kissack. External advisors are being called in to help the paper company deal with the problem. 

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Rural grant program missing from budget as $25M redirected to forestry crisis response

CBC News
February 20, 2020
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

Carole James

Small town mayors in B.C. are lamenting the absence of a grant program in this week’s provincial budget that supported economic development projects for rural communities. The $25-million Rural Dividend Program provided grants to rural communities of up to 25,000 people for projects ranging from infrastructure to planning and training. But the program funding was reallocated last September toward a new $69-million fund to help unemployed sawmill workers. …B.C. Finance Minister Carole James defended the decision… “I think all communities, particularly rural communities, understand the pressure that is being faced by forest communities right now,” James said. “I think they understand the fact that there was a critical need there for communities, for families who were losing their jobs, for businesses that were going under,” James said. …the Ministry of Forests said the program remains in the ministry base budget despite the reallocation of most of its funds to support forest workers.

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Some forestry workers returning to work just days after strike-ending deal ratified: union president

CBC News
February 20, 2020
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

It may not have been audible, but many union forestry workers on Vancouver Island exhaled with relief when a tentative agreement with Western Forest Products was ratified… and now some may be returning to work as early as this week, the union’s president said. …Brian Butler says there is still anger toward the company over some issues but he is pleased with what members have achieved under the new deal. …Butler said the union had a mandate to make no concessions to the company, and did not. “They misjudged the strength of our membership,” he said, adding the company has been making record gains for years and the concessions on the table were unwarranted. …The union did not get back the right to control alternate shifts, but Butler said it did gain the right for members to propose other alternate shifts.

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Nanaimo mill workers back on the job after 7-month strike

By Scott Cunningham
CTV News
February 20, 2020
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

NANAIMO — Operations are about to ramp up at a large mill outside of Nanaimo, which for months has been shut down due to a strike. The union representing Western Forest Products workers confirms that its members have been recalled by the employer to the Duke Point Saw Mill. “Duke Point is doing two days of safety training prior to production start-up next Monday,” union president Brian Butler told CTV Vancouver Island Thursday. …Butler says the ball is now WFP’s court in terms of restarting operations in the backcountry and in manufacturing. …Exactly how many staff members have been recalled to the Duke Point Mill is unknown. Work officially begins on Monday. 

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‘We were fighting for people before us and in the future:’ forestry workers due back on the job

By Alex Rawnsley
Nanaimo News Now
February 19, 2020
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

NANAIMO — An incredibly tough nearly eight months off the job is coming to an end. An agreement between United Steelworkers 1-1937 and Western Forest Products (WFP) was ratified by 81.9 per cent. Bill Merriman, a long-time boom operator at WFP’s Duke Point mill, told NanaimoNewsNOW the strike impacted a lot of younger workers with families. …“A lot of the younger people realized that we were fighting for people before us and in the future. That’s what kept people really strong, we didn’t want to go backwards.” …Merriman believed the contract will help in future negotiations with other companies and unions around the province. …He said pressure mounted from those outside the industry to stop strike action and return to work while negotiations continued.

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Cariboo North MLA and forest industry workers want more from BC Budget

By George Henderson
My Cariboo Now
February 18, 2020
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

Cariboo North MLA Coralee Oakes says at first glance, it appears today’s provincial budget doesn’t have a lot for those being impacted by the downturn in the forest industry. That won’t sit well with forestry workers who were rallying outside on the front lawn of the legislature. Oakes says they represented small businesses, contractors, and logging truck drivers. “The message really is that the forest sector is in crisis. We are in a time of significant change and we all know that. The challenge is the folks out on the front lawn want to know what are the elected officials going to do.” …“Last year when they took the money out of the rural dividend they said that they were going to restore that funding, and we were hoping to see that in this budget. …We’ve lost 32,000 private sector jobs and we really want to see what the plan was to get that back.”

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Budget 2020: Weaver ‘delighted,’ minority B.C. NDP stable

By Tom Fletcher
BC Local News
February 19, 2020
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

The B.C. NDP government’s latest budget carries on with its post-election program of subsidized housing, climate measures and taxes, while building up capital debt to record levels for hospital upgrades, transportation and other public works. …The budget offered little new for the forest industry, as loggers rallied outside the legislature, with a $13 million fund to pursue the government’s waste wood recovery and delivery of a $69 million package for communities that have lost sawmills. …Former B.C. Green leader Andrew Weaver said he is “delighted” with the budget, including one of its few new spending measures, a grant program for post-secondary studies including diplomas and certificates under two years. …The budget projects small operating surpluses for three years, helped by personal and business income tax revenue and strong employment from projects including the Trans Mountain and Coastal Gaslink projects.

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B.C. forestry crisis having an impact on Interior real estate market

By Ashley Legassic
CFJC Today
February 19, 2020
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

KAMLOOPS — The province’s forestry crisis appears to be having an impact on the B.C. real estate market. BC Real Estate Association Chief Economist Brendon Ogmundson says most housing markets in B.C. are expected to experience a recovery this year — but that likely won’t be the case for communities impacted by the declining forestry sector. …“I think the one that’s probably the most prominent in its struggles is the forestry industry and we’re starting to really see that link into things like housing demand as well,” he says. “So in the big forestry-focused communities — Kamloops, Vancouver Island and the north — we’re off to a pretty slow start in 2020 with all of those markets actually experiencing declining sales year over year in January.”

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North Island MLA on forestry sector: ‘Their message is being heard’

By Troy Landreville
My Campbell River Now
February 19, 2020
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

North Island MLA, Claire Trevena, says she’s listening to the concerns of the forest industry. This comes in the wake of yesterday’s B.C. Forestry Alliance rally in Victoria. … They were calling on the government to defend the harvestable land base. …Trevena said she went out to the lawns of the legislature to speak with a few people at the rally. “Obviously their message is being heard,” Trevena said. “We know that forestry is vital for not just communities but for the economic health of the province, and we continue to work to try and make sure that it is viable.” She pointed to the Coast Forest Sector Revitalization Initiative, and the $5-million Coast Logging Equipment Support Trust designed to help contractors avert foreclosure of logging equipment on the coast, as examples of what the province is doing to support the sector. Trevena said forestry is “still foundational” to B.C.’s economy.

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Midway mill shutdown expected to last 8 to 10 weeks

By Jensen Edwards
The Castlegar News
February 14, 2020
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

Vaagen Fibre Canada’s mill will be shut down for at least two months, Fibre Manager Dan Macmaster said Friday. The Midway sawmill, which directly employs 70 workers and contracts another 45 between Grand Forks and Osoyoos, shut down on Feb. 10 and anticipates being closed for eight to 10 weeks, Macmaster said in a release. This past week, all workers were kept on to work on equipment that normally can’t be as thoroughly maintained while the mill is running. In a release, the company said that the bulk of the workforce will be temporarily laid off, starting Feb. 18, but they expect to re-hire everyone when the mill resumes operations.

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BC’s Top Employers: Winner’s List

The Vancouver Sun
February 18, 2020
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

The following forest industry and related organizations were chosen as BC’s Top Employers for 2020:

  • Canfor – supports next generation with summer employment, co-op placements, and paid internships.
  • CanWel Building Materials – tuition subsidies for courses.
  • DLA Piper – wellness weeks with activities such as meditation coaching.
  • Finning –  encourages ongoing employee development with tuition subsidies.
  • Interfor – In-house apprenticeships, paid internships, co-op placements.
  • Perkins+Will Architects – paid days to help balance working lives.
  • West Fraser – a portion of pre-tax profits to charitable and community giving.
  • WorkSafeBC – extends health benefits to retirees, with 100% premium coverage.

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Saying goodbye to a wood champion and a friend: Judson Beaumont

Straight Line Designs Facebook Page
February 18, 2020
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

Judson Beaumont

It is with great sorrow that we inform the community of the sudden passing of Judson Beaumont on February 17th, 2020. Jud has touched, inspired, and challenged a large creative community during his time. He was a complex character and a driven craftsman; truly a one-of-a-kind individual with standards beyond us mere mortals. His personality was larger than life which reflected highly in his work. Jud left an inspiring legacy that the rest of us strive towards. The studio was a laboratory for many students and aspiring artists to learn and thrive, and for the creative exploration of ideas. He was an avid ambassador for art, design, and creative practices and his far-reaching influence within the Parker St. Studios, Vancouver and the rest of the world is immeasurable beyond words and he will truly be missed. Judson’s successes and accomplishments were only possible because of the concrete foundation of his family- Kate, Taylor, and Shelby- that fuelled Jud’s flame. He was the wittiest designer you’d ever meet and was determined to find moments of playfulness and whimsy both in his work and everyday life. “If you can draw it, you can build it.” – Judson Beaumont

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Budget 2020: Not much new for B.C.’s struggling forest industry

By Tom Fletcher
BC Local News in The Comox Valley Record
February 18, 2020
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

As laid-off forest workers protested outside the B.C. legislature Tuesday, Finance Minister Carole James had little immediate assistance to offer for the struggling industry in her 2020 budget. James’ third NDP budget contains a new $13 million fund for “economic development and revitalization” of the B.C. forest sector. …The budget for forests ministry operations is $844 million, up from $814 million. …James described the $13 million fund as financing Forest Minister Doug Donaldson’s changes to wood waste utilization, and Premier John Horgan’s initiative to bring industry players together for better use of a diminished Crown timber supply. …Industry representatives says they support better collection and use of pulp logs and waste wood for pellet production, but at the moment, the cost of bringing out waste is twice as much as what they can expect to sell it for. …James said her government’s long-term strategy includes a commitment to “wood first” in public construction projects.

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Forest industry supporters and convoy deliver petition at B.C. legislature in Victoria

By Shalu Mehta
The Western News
February 18, 2020
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

Forest industry supporters and a large convoy of logging trucks from Campbell River were in Victoria for a rally at the B.C. legislature. The demonstration, organized by the B.C. Forestry Alliance, was held to deliver a petition in favour of a “working forest” designation and to raise awareness about the importance of forestry in B.C. The petition asks the government to start looking at protecting the harvestable land base so future generations can continue to harvest. …A crowd of hundreds gathered on the lawn of the B.C. legislature with many people holding signs and wearing sweaters that said “forestry feeds my family.” The crowd clapped and cheered as a convoy of trucks arrived just before 1 p.m. Sweet said they want to raise awareness about how important forestry is for the province.

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Stalled exports have caused a growing backlog of ships waiting off B.C.

By Alex Binkley, Ontario Farmer
Ontario Farmer
February 19, 2020
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada East, Canada

Grain Growers of Canada (GGC) and the Canadian Federation of Agriculture (CFA) are among the agrifood groups calling on the federal government to quickly end the blockade of rail lines by activists supporting a faction in a British Columbia native community. The Canadian Produce Marketing Association, CropLife Canada, Fertilizer Canada, the Canadian Meat Council, Food Processors of Canada and Food & Consumer Products of Canada are among the groups supporting the wider business community including the Forest Products Association of Canada and the Mining Association of Canada. At latest count, close to 70 ships are waiting off B.C. ports for cargo and the delay will cost the Canadian shippers mounting demurrage costs.

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Lumber Producers Want To See North American Trade Deal Ratified Soon

By Brad Perry
Huddle Today
February 19, 2020
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada East, Canada

NEW BRUNSWICK — Lumber producers in New Brunswick are calling on Parliament to ratify the new Canada-United States-Mexico Agreement. The trilateral free trade agreement, which has already been ratified by the U.S. and Mexico, is still being studied by a House of Commons standing committee. New Brunswick Lumber Producers (NBLP) said ratification may allow for a final settlement in the ongoing softwood lumber dispute. “Currently, the majority of NBLP members are paying a crippling duty of over 20 percent on exports to the United States,” said the NBLP. …On Wednesday, Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland urged her fellow MPs to ratify the new agreement as quickly as possible.

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Ottawa to study forestry issues

By Mike Aiken
Kenora Online
February 20, 2020
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada East, Canada

The Natural Resources Commitee in Ottawa will be taking a closer look at the issues facing the forest industry. Kenora MP Eric Melillo says…“I’m pleased… The forestry sector has seen reduced revenues, mill closures and job losses across the country, and the Kenora riding has not been immune.” The committee’s work will be a wide-ranging study that will incorporate insights from a variety of experts and stakeholders. It coincides with work at the provincial level. …The news comes sawmill workers deal with the bankruptcy of Kenora Forest Products, in part due to American tariffs on softwood. The deadline for bids to purchase the facility passed Feb. 14, and a proposal by the bankruptcy trustee is expected in early April.

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China halts tariffs on North American hardwoods

By Karen Koenig
The Woodworking Network
February 21, 2020
Category: Business & Politics
Region: United States, International

WASHINGTON – The Chinese government has announced it will remove tariffs on certain species of U.S. and Canadian hardwood lumber for one year, starting Feb. 28. The exemption lists several North American hardwoods, including cherry, ash, oak and “other” lumber and logs. The National Hardwood Lumber Association said, “Work is underway to define exactly what that will mean for these products and what the definite tariff rate will be moving forward.” …Products on the first list allow Chinese importers to apply for refunds of collected duties within six months from Feb. 21. Items on the second list are exempted, but the affected companies cannot apply for tariff refunds. …The announcement comes approximately one month after the United States and China signed the first phase of a bilateral agreement in Washington to end the two-year trade dispute.

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U.S. millwork industry likely hurt by Brazilian, Chinese imports; probe continues: US International Trade Commission

By Susan Heavey & Chris Reese
Reuters
February 21, 2020
Category: Business & Politics
Region: United States

WASHINGTON – There is a “reasonable indication” that American companies are harmed by wood moldings and millwork products imported from Brazil and China, the U.S. International Trade Commission said in a statement on Friday. The U.S. Department of Commerce will continue its anti-dumping and countervailing duty investigations given the ITC’s findings, it added, with preliminary decisions due by April 2 and June 16. [END]

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Guest Column: ‘I’m in the fight of my life’

By Mike Pihl, owner of Mike Pihl Logging and president of the TimberUnity association
The Astorian
February 23, 2020
Category: Business & Politics
Region: United States, US West

Mike Pihl

…After graduating, the logging bug got a hold of me. …Today, 38 years later, I’m in the fight of my life. Oregon legislators are taking another run at passing a cap-and-trade bill this year … bottom line – Oregonians are going to pay a lot more. …But even the supporters of the bill say… gas costs will go up 20 cents per gallon starting in 2022. It will keep going up in the years afterward. Imagine that – paying 20 cents more a gallon for gas in the first year alone. For companies like mine, the increased gas costs could bankrupt us. …Most Oregonians don’t appreciate that we already have thousands of carbon eating machines in Oregon. They’re called fir trees… I’ve harvested thousands of those trees and replanted many more trees than I’ve harvested – it’s the law, and it works well.

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Former Weyerhaeuser CEO passes away

Nip Impressions
February 18, 2020
Category: Business & Politics
Region: United States, US West

Jack Creighton


WASHINGTON — Former Weyerhaeuser CEO John “Jack” Creighton died Jan. 29 at the age of 87. He had retired as chief executive of Weyerhaeuser in 1997 but not from business life. He took on the jobs of chairman and CEO of United Airlines in the wake of the 9/11 terrorist attacks; locally, he was a strategic director for the Seattle-based tech-investment firm Madrona Venture Group. Creighton’s appointment as Weyerhaeuser CEO in 1991 marked the start of a transition of Weyerhaeuser, both in terms of leadership — he was the first CEO not a member of the family whose name was on the company door — and company structure. It was Creighton’s job to start bringing some order and strategic rationalization to what was a sprawling company with hands in everything.

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How losing his voice taught a Maine CEO to give workers more say

By Lori Valigra
The Bangor Daily News
February 24, 2020
Category: Business & Politics
Region: US East, United States

Kevin Hancock led his family’s lumber company with a strong hand, taking charge of most meetings and directing strategy. But all that changed a decade ago. Hancock, the sixth-generation CEO of Hancock Lumber, felt his throat tightening and found it difficult to speak or be understood. His diagnosis: spasmodic dysphonia, an incurable and rare condition that causes throat spasms. “When I had my voice I could be really controlling and used my title and position to hold a gavel to talk forcefully to people,” said Hancock. …He described those changes, which led to a distributed management style at his company where employees now have more of a say in operations, in his second book, “The Seventh Power: One CEO’s Journey Into the Business of Shared Leadership,” due out Tuesday.

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Maryland Department of the Environment to sue Verso

WCBC – Cumberland Broadcasting Company, Inc.
February 19, 2020
Category: Business & Politics
Region: US East, United States

The state of Maryland, through the Department of the Environment, issued notice Wednesday that it intends to bring a lawsuit in federal court against the former owner of the Luke paper mill, alleging seepages into the North Branch Potomac River threaten public health and the environment. The suit will be filed under federal hazardous waste law to stop the alleged discharge and require an appropriate cleanup. Verso owns the mill, located in Luke, and Beryl, West Virginia, with facilities spanning the Potomac River at the site. Paper products were manufactured there until Verso announced on April 30 the mill would close. It was subsequently shut down on May 30, displacing nearly 700 workers. According to MDE, a black substance that may include contaminants from caustic and corrosive “pulping liquor,” coal ash or other undiscovered sources continues to seep from a riverbank at the paper mill site and into the river.

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Labour dispute settled in mechanical forest industry, wages to rise by 3.3%

By Aleksi Teivainen
The Helsinki Times
February 24, 2020
Category: Business & Politics
Region: International

Jyrki Hollmén, Vuokko Piekkala & Turja Lehtonen

THE INDUSTRIAL UNION has called off its strikes, overtime bans and other industrial actions in the mechanical forest industry after striking a new collective bargaining agreement with Finnish Forest Industries. The agreement is based on a settlement proposal tabled by National Conciliator Vuokko Piekkala.  The Industrial Union on Sunday said it will put an end to all of its strikes, sympathy strikes and overtime bans in the industry, as well as suspend all industrial actions in the bioproduct sector where it is continuing its collective bargaining talks with Finnish Forest Industries. Its members began to return to work at 10pm on Sunday. …Finnish Forest Industries said yesterday the new collective bargaining agreement ensures production facilities can remain in continuous operation because employers employers will still be able to take advantage of additional working hours in weeks with public holidays on weekdays.

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Greenpeace Campaigner Of 22 Years Announces Bid To Stand For Parliament

By Steve Abel
Scoop.co.nz
February 20, 2020
Category: Business & Politics
Region: International

Steve Abel

NEW ZEALAND — Steve Abel was selected last night as the Green Party candidate for the New Lynn electorate in West Auckland. The Long time environmental activist and Greenpeace’s former Senior Campaign and Political Adviser stepped down from the organisation in December last year to stand for Parliament. …Abel says he will advocate for the Greens bringing “transformational policies” to the voting public. “We need government policies that are equal to the scale of challenge that we face with the ecological crisis,” he says. …Abel began his activism in 1998 with Native Forest Action and the successful campaign to stop Timberland’s West Coast native logging during which he was arrested for locking himself to a five-ton logging helicopter.

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