TORONTO, ON, April 1, 2022 – GreenFirst Forest Products Inc. (TSXV: GFP) (“GreenFirst”) is pleased to announce plans to restart the second paper machine at its Kapuskasing Paper Mill.
GreenFirst has received over $1.2 million from the Skills Development Fund of the Government of Ontario, Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development to support the recruiting, hiring, and training of more than 45 new employees.
On August 28, 2021, GreenFirst acquired the Kapuskasing Paper Mill from Rayonier Advanced Materials, which was only operating one paper machine at the time. GreenFirst will begin to restart the second paper machine in May, thereby increasing direct employment to almost 300 jobs in Kapuskasing and surrounding areas, these positions welcome youth, women and Indigenous applicants. The restart will occur in multiple phases starting in May, with the goal of full production (7 days – 24 hours operation) by October 2022.
The funding from the Skills Development Fund will be used towards the recruitment and training of new employees, along with current employees, to receive the required skills to produce quality paper and meet required production targets safely and efficiently. GreenFirst has established partnerships with local employment organizations and academic institutions, including the Employment Service, College Boréal, Schools, Indigenous communities, the Town of Kapuskasing and surrounding municipalities to continue to build and train our growing workforce in Kapuskasing, The Company has established a solid training platform, which includes online training and a more standardized delivery in support of the integration of all new workers and the development of existing employees who will move to more senior roles.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in many challenges, especially on the North American/Global newsprint markets. We are very pleased to receive the SDF funding from the Ontario government, which will ultimately allow for the creation of 45 new full-time positions with a focus on hiring candidates with manufacturing aptitudes that will become skilled trades or high-skilled operators,” said Paul Rivett, Chairman of GreenFirst Forest Products.
“We’re working for workers and bringing well-paying manufacturing jobs back to Northern Ontario. I am proud to support this project, which delivers millions of dollars to build a stronger community here in Kapuskasing and provide over 100 people with the skills they need to earn bigger paycheques for themselves and their families now, and for decades to come,” said Monte McNaughton, Minister of Labour, Training and Skills Development.
“This is tremendous news for GreenFirst and the communities around Kapuskasing, we thank Minister McNaughton and the Government of Ontario for providing this opportunity,” said Rick Doman, CEO of GreenFirst. “The Kapuskasing Paper Mill is a well-established paper operation that we continue to invest in to become more productive, with a goal to achieve more stable and sustainable employment. We would like to thank our President Michel Lessard, our Vice President of Operations West André Ouimette, our General Manager Pascal Champoux, and the entire Kapuskasing team for their significant contributions towards restarting the second paper machine.”
This Employment Ontario project is funded in part by the Government of Ontario and the Government of Canada.
GreenFirst Forest Products is a forest-first business, focused on sustainable forest management and lumber production. The Company owns 7 sawmills and 1 paper mill across Ontario and Quebec. GreenFirst is a significant lumber producer in Canada having an annual lumber production capacity of 905MMfbm, with a goal to increase. GreenFirst’s mills are located in rich wood baskets proudly operating over 9.2 million hectares of FSC® certified public and private Canadian forestlands (FSC®-C167905). The Company believes that responsible forest practices, coupled with the long-term green advantage of lumber, provide GreenFirst with significant cyclical and secular advantages in building products. GreenFirst’s long-term vision is to be a leader in the global forestry industry.
Source: GreenFirst Forest Products