BC Court should ensure Northern Pulp financing protects workers and the forestry sector

Industry News

July 23, 2020 - VANCOUVER - Unifor is urging the British Columbia court overseeing creditor protection hearings for Northern Pulp to ensure the ridiculous squabble between Paper Excellence and the Nova Scotia government doesn’t destroy the forest industry in Nova Scotia.

A financing agreement that is good for workers, protects the environment, and supports the continuation of the forestry sector in Nova Scotia must be achieved.

“Following the announcement from the Nova Scotia government to oppose third-party financing to Northern Pulp, it’s clear that more work must be done to reach a mutually-beneficial agreement,” said Linda MacNeil, Atlantic Regional Director. “Tomorrow’s hearing in front of the BC Supreme Court is a defining moment for the future of the forestry sector in this province. We are hopeful the judge will force Northern Pulp and the government to negotiate financing terms that will ensure our members are paid their severance and leave the door open for a future restart of the mill.”

Unifor Local 440 members at the mill are still owed more than $7 million in severance. If the company cannot secure Debtor-In-Possession (DIP) financing, it warned Unifor members it will run out of money by early August and be unable to meet its obligations to workers, forestry contractors, landowners and other service providers.

“If a financing agreement cannot be reached through the BC courts, Nova Scotians are on the hook to pay for cleaning up the mill site and will feel the continued impact of losing a key economic driver in the region,” said Scott Doherty, Executive Assistant to the National President. “The best outcome for everyone involved would be for Paper Excellence to get financing for Northern Pulp’s outstanding debts, and for a future restart of the mill with an environmentally-sound treatment facility in place.”

Unifor has long supported and advocated for a solution at Northern Pulp that supports good jobs, protects the environment, and respects First Nations.

Unifor is Canada’s largest union in the private sector, representing more than 315,000 workers in every major area of the economy, including 24,000 in the forestry sector. The union advocates for all working people and their rights, fights for equality and social justice in Canada and abroad, and strives to create progressive change for a better future.

Source: Unifor