One of West Fraser’s operations on Two Mile Flat in Quesnel. (Quesnel Cariboo Observer file photo)

One of West Fraser’s operations on Two Mile Flat in Quesnel. (Quesnel Cariboo Observer file photo)

COVID-19: West Fraser temporarily curtailing lumber production in western Canada as demand for forest products declines

Reducing hours, eliminating of overtime, eliminating shifts, curtailing operations to start March 23

West Fraser is reducing lumber production at its western Canadian sawmills and temporarily suspending plywood production in Quesnel as it responds to the COVID-19 pandemic and declining demand for forest products.

West Fraser announced the changes Thursday, March 19 as the company released its COVID-19 pandemic response plan.

“In response to the COVID-19 outbreak, West Fraser is taking steps to protect its employees and respond to changing market conditions,” according to a news release. “The health and safety of our employees, their families and the communities we work in are vitally important. West Fraser has taken a series of actions to ensure a safe and productive working environment. West Fraser has implemented changes to mitigate potential exposure at our worksites, with a focus on thorough cleaning, strict travel limitations, health education and appropriate social and physical distancing at all company sites.”

West Fraser says that as the demand for forest products has begun to decline, it is also making several changes to operating schedules at its manufacturing operations.

Starting Monday, March 23, lumber production will be reduced at western Canada sawmills by approximately 18 per cent or 12 million board feet per week, and lumber production at the company’s U.S. South sawmills will be reduced by approximately 24 per cent or 15 million board feet per week.

“These reductions will be implemented through various means, including reduced operating hours, elimination of overtime, elimination of shifts and curtailment of operations,” according to West Fraser. “Shipping will be maintained as needed to fulfill order commitments.”

These temporary reductions are expected to stay in place until at least April 6.

Plywood production will be temporarily suspended at West Fraser’s Quesnel plywood facility from March 23 until at least April 6. The company says this will reduce the company’s plywood production by 5,000 thousand square feet per week.

At West Fraser’s jointly-owned Cariboo Pulp and Paper Mill in Quesnel, the scheduled maintenance shutdown has been deferred due to risk stemming from the COVID-19 outbreak.

“Absences due to COVID-19 policy are increasing at some of the company’s other pulp mills, and it is possible that curtailment of operations at these mills may be necessary due to key technical resources not being available,” according to West Fraser.

West Fraser says actions are also underway to reduce the company’s planned capital spending for 2020 by $75 million through the delay and deferral of projects that had not yet been started.

“West Fraser is regularly monitoring market conditions and contractor availability,” states the news release. “Further potential steps on capital expenditure are being evaluated as the situation unfolds. The COVID-19 crisis threatens to further impair staff availability and create market volatility. West Fraser is monitoring the situation closely, and it is possible that additional reductions in production or operating curtailments may be necessary.”

READ MORE: B.C. records new COVID-19 death as number of cases rises to 271



editor@quesnelobserver.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Coronavirus

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Workers at Kitimat General Hospital last week were presented with a large variety of food packages in appreciation of the last year of dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic. The donations came via local Epicurean representative Kerri Weightman who collected money for the purchases. (Jacob Lubberts photo)
Hospital workers receive food donation

Workers at Kitimat General Hospital last week were presented with a large… Continue reading

(Phil McLachlan/Capital News)
Murder charge laid in February 2020 stabbing death of Smithers man

Michael Egenolf is charged with the second-degree murder of Brodie Cumiskey

Island Health chief medical officer Dr. Richard Stanwick receives a first dose of Pfizer vaccine, Dec. 22, 2020. (B.C. government)
COVID-19: B.C. seniors aged 90+ can start to sign up for vaccination on March 8

Long-term care residents protected by shots already given

A health care worker prepares to test a Coastal GasLink field worker for COVID-19. (Coastal GasLink photo)
Coastal GasLink begins COVID screening of pipeline workers

Construction is once again ramping up following Northern Health approval of COVID management plan

FILE – A COVID-19 vaccine being prepared. (Olivia Sullivan/Sound Publishing)
B.C. seniors 80 years and older to get COVID vaccine details over next 2 weeks: Henry

Province is expanding vaccine workforce as officials ramp up age-based rollout

Health Minister Adrian Dix looks on as Dr. Bonnie Henry pauses for a moment as she gives her daily media briefing regarding COVID-19 for British Columbia in Victoria, B.C. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
7 additional deaths and 542 new COVID-19 cases in B.C.

Provincial health officials reported 18 new COVID-19 cases linked to variants of concern

Grand Forks’ Gary Smith stands in front of his Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster float. Photo: Submitted
Grand Forks’ Flying Spaghetti Monster leader still boiling over driver’s licence photo

Gary Smith, head of the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster of B.C., said he has since spoken to lawyers

A Cowichan Valley mom is wondering why masks haven’t been mandated for elementary schools. (Metro Creative photo)
B.C. mom frustrated by lack of mask mandate for elementary students

“Do we want to wait until we end up like Fraser Health?”

(Pxhere)
B.C. research reveals how pandemic has changed attitudes towards sex, health services

CDC survey shows that 35 per cent of people were worried about being judged

Some Canadians are finding butter harder than usual, resulting in an avalanche of social media controversy around #buttergate. (Brett Williams/The Observer)
#Buttergate: Concerns around hard butter hit small B.C. towns and beyond

Canadians find their butter was getting harder, blame palm oil in part one of this series

Jobs Minister Ravi Kahlon speaks in the B.C. legislature, describing work underway to make a small business and tourism aid package less restrictive, Dec. 10, 2020. (Hansard TV)
B.C. extends deadline for tourism, small business COVID-19 grants

Business owners expect months more of lost revenues

Anti-pipeline protests continue in Greater Vancouver, with the latest happening Thursday, March 4 at a Trans Mountain construction site in Burnaby. (Facebook/Laurel Dykstra)
A dozen faith-based protestors blockade Burnaby Trans Mountain site in prayer

The group arrived early Thursday, planning to ‘block any further work’

Mid day at the Vancouver Port Intersection blockade on March 3, organized by the Braided Warriors. (Zoë Ducklow photo)
Anti-pipeline blockade at Vancouver intersection broken up by police

Demonstraters were demanding the release of a fellow anti-TMX protester

Most Read