TORONTO, Nov. 13, 2014 /CNW/ - Unifor is calling on the Wynne government to ensure an opportunity to expand and strengthen Ontario's recovering forestry sector is not lost.
"We are frustrated that plans to save a closed pulp mill in Fort Frances currently owned by Resolute Forestry are needlessly floundering," said Jerry Dias, Unifor National President.
Recently, Expera Specialty Solutions, a Wisconsin-based paper company, announced that its exploration of an opportunity to purchase the now closed Fort Frances mill had ended and that it was unable to reach a deal. The acquisition would have resulted in 200 jobs at the facility and another 800 related jobs.
"The government needs to take action to not just save the mill, but to establish a fair and economical way to manage our forestry resources," stressed Dias.
In the short-term, the government must commit to heat the pulp mill over the winter to preserve the equipment in the mill.
Unifor is also calling on the Minister of Natural Resources and Forestry to immediately establish a multi-stakeholder taskforce to make recommendations regarding forestry licencing and resource management.
"The government's continued failure to take action is putting the future of Ontario's recovering forestry sector in jeopardy," said Dias.
Ontario is now at risk of losing the Fort Frances pulp mill asset and the possibility of 1000 jobs in the community.
"There is good potential for the forestry industry in Ontario, which is obviously based on a renewable resource, to have a strong future. But that is not going to happen without leadership from the government and business, in consultation with community, labour and First Nations," said Dias.
Unifor is Canada's largest union in the private sector, representing more than 305,000 workers. It was formed Labour Day weekend 2013 when the Canadian Auto Workers and the Communications, Energy and Paperworkers unions merged. Unifor works to protect its members and play a leadership role in building thriving, safe workplaces and a strong economy so all workers in Canada have a good job, a decent standard of living and greater equality.
For further information: Please contact Unifor Communications Director, Sarah Blackstock, at [email protected] or 416-949-1072.