July 5, 2019 - HALIFAX – Unifor is pleased to see that Northern Pulp is making significant progress on the additional information required by the Nova Scotia Department of the Environment in order to achieve approval to build an effluent plant at the Nova Scotia pulp mill.
“We are encouraged by the progress, but to be clear this is an extremely challenging, anxious and frustrating time for our members who are worried about their jobs and their community,” said Lana Payne, Unifor Atlantic Regional Director.
Payne and Unifor leaders from Local 440 received an update from top-ranking company officials on Wednesday, followed by an all-member town hall at the mill on Thursday about the status of the company’s response to the Department of Environment’s Focus Report, a report responding to the company’s Environmental Assessment application.
The loss of the pulp mill will have far-reaching and huge implications for the entire forestry sector including the 240 unionized workers at the mill and thousands of others in the sector across the province.
Don MacKenzie, President of Unifor Local 440, said it is critical the company get the work done as quickly as possible and also show the government they are doing everything they can to meet the requests from the Department of Environment.
“It is reassuring to see the company continuing to invest in the mill, including during the recent maintenance shutdown. It’s also reassuring to see Premier Stephen McNeil’s recent commitment to look at all possibilities with respect to the future of the mill. The company needs to finish the work, do it well and put the ball back into the government’s court,” said MacKenzie.
Payne said there has always been a solution that resulted in a new treatment facility, that respected First Nations and that also ensured environmental standards were met and exceeded.
“It has really been about having the time to get it all done and meet the deadline imposed by the government. The dilemma for the premier and his government is whether they will stand by and allow an economic crisis to ensue when there is a sincere commitment to do what needs doing to create a path forward that protects the environment and good jobs in the forestry sector of Nova Scotia.”
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.