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Crofton mill gets workers back on the job with provincial, federal funding

January 20, 2023 at 9:39 am  BC, News, Politics, Provincial

More than 100 jobs will resume at Paper Excellence’s Crofton Mill facility, resulting from a partnership and funding from the provincial and federal governments, as the mill retools to manufacture new pulp products that reduce the need for single-use plastics.

“Our investment is the result of governments and business collaborating to innovate and create new, sustainable opportunities in forestry,” said Premier David Eby. “By working together we can find solutions to the pressing challenges faced by many forestry workers and communities.”

The Government of British Columbia and the Government of Canada are contributing a combined $18.8 million to join with Paper Excellence’s investment that will result in more than 100 people getting back to work at Crofton’s paper line.

“This is good news for workers, their families and the people of Crofton,” said Brenda Bailey, Minister of Jobs, Economic Development and Innovation. “We understand there is more work to be done to support people and families in forestry-dependent and rural communities. We’ll continue to roll up our sleeves, work with industry, workers and communities and get the job done.”

This funding supports a clean, innovative economy, while supporting jobs for people in the resource sector. It will aid in the production of water-resistant paper packaging to replace single-use plastics, increase the competitiveness of the Crofton mill, reduce waste from production, use fewer trees for the same volume of product, all while reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

“Canada’s forestry sector provides economic opportunities and good jobs in communities right across the country,” said Jonathan Wilkinson, federal Minister of Natural Resources. “By supporting the development of innovative forest products and investing in projects, such as the ones announced today, the federal government is helping to reduce emissions, eliminate harmful waste, build up strong local economies, and support good, sustainable, jobs.”

Earlier this week, the B.C. government announced up to $90 million in funding for the B.C. Manufacturing Jobs Fund that will provide funding to forestry companies that require equipment to support new product lines, such as mass timber production or paper packaging, or smaller-diameter tree processing and manufacturing or a company that wants to build or expand a plastics-alternative manufacturing facility in a rural community.

As well, with an investment of $50 million from the Province, the Forest Enhancement Society of BC (FESBC) will expand funding for projects and programs that increase the use of low-value or residual fibre, including trees damaged by recent wildfires and waste left over from logging that would otherwise be burned in slash piles.

Quotes:

Bruce Ralston, Minister of Forests

“Creating cleaner more efficient forest operations is setting the foundation for future opportunity. We have the most skilled and experienced workers and a growing reputation for innovative technologies in our province. We are investing in both of those strengths and bringing people back to work at Crofton’s paper line.”

George Heyman, Minister of Environment and Climate Change Strategy –

“We’re supporting good, local jobs for people in the clean economy by working together with industry and the federal government to produce innovative products that reduce our impact on the environment. This funding will provide renewable alternatives to single-use plastics and reduce climate pollution, while supporting more than 100 people in the local community.”

Doug Routley, Parliamentary Secretary for Forests, and chair of the Forestry Worker Supports and Community Resiliency Council

“This investment in the mill at Crofton is exciting. Not only will it put people back to work, it is an example of how investment in our forestry infrastructure can help reduce emissions, encourage innovations, reduce waste and make sure we get the most value from every tree harvested. Forestry is a foundation of B.C.’s economy and we are committed to making sure there is a strong, stable forest industry that can provide good, family supporting jobs now and for generations to come.”

Stew Gibson, chief operating officer, Paper Excellence Canada

“This investment will enhance the development of innovative products that replace banned plastics with renewable paper, while significantly reducing carbon emissions. We thank the Government of British Columbia for their support toward this important project and the benefits to the surrounding community. These contributions are absolutely essential to restarting the paper operations and securing these rural jobs at the site.”

Geoff Dawe, president, Public and Private Workers of Canada Local 2 –

“We appreciate seeing government and Paper Excellence working together to support workers in Crofton. The investment for this project will help secure well-paying jobs that will attract more people to the beautiful Cowichan Valley. It will also help reduce the mill’s carbon footprint on the environment.”

Gavin McGarrigle, Western regional director, Unifor

“The investment in Crofton is a step in the right direction for B.C.’s forestry sector. It is an industry facing uncertainty in many regions, but Unifor will continue to work with the provincial government to ensure forestry workers and their communities get the support they need to thrive.”

Quick Fact:

  • The Government of Canada is contributing $14.3 million in funding and the Province of British Columbia is contributing $4.5 to the project.

Learn More:

To learn more about the Forest Worker Community Support programs, visit; https://forestryworkersupport.gov.bc.ca/

To learn more about the StrongerBC Economic Plan, visit: https://strongerbc.gov.bc.ca/plan

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