Canfor permanently closing Chetwynd Sawmill and Pellet Plant

CHETWYND, B.C. — Canfor has sent letters to all its Chetwynd Sawmill and Pellet Plant employees announcing the permanent closure of the mill.

“Canfor has made the very difficult decision to permanently close our Chetwynd Sawmill and Pellet Plant. We deeply regret the significant impact [this] will have on our employees, their families, and the community of Chetwynd,” read the letter from Senior Vice President Katy Player.

According to the letter, 180 employees will be affected.

The mill will reportedly finish processing the logs in the yard and begin terminations in March 2023, with individual letters sent out to employees for specific termination dates.

Canfor expects the mill to be fully shut down by April 2023.

Canfor confirmed in a press release late Wednesday that the Chetwynd sawmill will be closed permanently, and their Houston sawmill will be closed temporarily. The Houston facility will undergo major redevelopment before returning to production.

The press release says that Canfor will put into place what they call comprehensive supports to help minimize the impacts of this transition. Canfor did not say what those supports would be.

South Peace MLA Mike Bernier said he was “absolutely devastated to hear the news.” He went on to say, “I’m being told that the company was not able to get guaranteed certainty on fibre supply for the future, and so it’s hard to make any decisions to stay open when you can’t access enough wood anymore. I am so sorry for all the families involved.”

Bruce Ralston, Minister of Forests, and Brenda Bailey, Minister of Jobs Economic Development and Innovation, released the following statement.

“Our immediate priority is to support the workers and families impacted by the closure of the Chetwynd sawmill and pellet mill, and the temporary closure of the Houston mill. Community support teams have been activated and will be there to connect workers with the services they need.”

Earlier this month, Canfor announced the closure of its pulp and paper mill in Prince George. That closure affected approximately 300 people in Prince George. The announcement also included curtailments at other Canfor facilities.

Here is a copy of the letter given to employees Wednesday.

**Story has been updated to include new information released by Canfor and comments from South Peace MLA Mike Bernier.

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