Canfor extends Houston, Plateau mill closures

COVID-19 continues to dampen lumber demand

Canfor is temporarily closing Houston and Plateau mills. (File picture)

Canfor is temporarily closing Houston and Plateau mills. (File picture)

Canfor’s Houston mill and its Plateau one outside of Vanderhoof are to remain closed for the remainder of the month in response to low lumber demand arising from the COVID-19 economic slowdown.

A first announced closure on March 26 was to last until April 17 but a company announcement April 9 extended the closure until May 1.

Affected in Houston and at Plateau are hundreds of direct workers and others employed as contractors to provide wood to the mills.

“Canfor is experiencing a significant decrease in customer demand due to the global impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has resulted in the difficult decision to take additional downtime in Canada,” said Canfor president and chief executive officer Don Kayne.

“Our top priority continues to be supporting our employees through this challenging time. We are encouraged by the financial relief programs the provincial and federal governments are implementing to support all impacted workers.”

Other of the company’s B.C. mills will also be closed longer as part of the decision to reduce lumber production by 100 million board feet or approximately 30 per cent of normal operations.

Cuts are also being experienced at Canfor operations elsewhere, including at Swedish facilities.

“As the global impacts of COVID-19 continue to evolve, there is the potential that further adjustments to operating plans may be required,” the company indicated April 9.

The continued closures continue a challenging period for operations of Canfor and other companies in B.C. owing to high logging costs and American softwood tariffs.