The Canfor mill in Houston has been added to the list of sawmills being closed later this month and into January with the company citing market conditions as the reason.
The closure is for three weeks, beginning Dec. 19 and lasting until Jan. 6.
All of the company’s sawmills are affected in B.C. and in Alberta with some closures lasting as long as four weeks.
There was no immediate estimate as to how many local Houston employees will be affected.
“Due to the significant decrease in demand for solid wood products and challenging economic conditions, we are temporarily curtailing production in Canada,” said company president and chief executive officer Don Kayne.
“We will be working to mitigate the impacts on our employees by providing support and identifying meaningful work during the downtime.”
The company will be paying its salaried employees as well as its hourly unionized employees for statutory holidays taking place over the closure period.
“This is Canfor going beyond what is in the collective agreement, under which if an employee is not working on a stat, they don’t get that pay until they return to work. We are waiving this requirement to help mitigate the financial impact on our employees,” said company official Michelle Ward in a subsequent email regarding its hourly workforce.
A company release of Dec. 5 hinted at continuing uncertainty.
“The company will continue to adjust operating rates to align with market conditions and anticipates that the majority of its B.C. facilities will operate below full capacity in the New Year,” the release said.
The upcoming closure follows what has been a lengthy period of Friday closures already this year.
And that follows occasional shutdowns over the past several years with the company citing high log costs and supply chain problems of various kinds in getting lumber to markets.