British Columbia reduces sawmill output

1 April 2020

Three of British Columbia’s largest forest products companies announced reductions in output due to Covid-19 market volatility.

Despite being listed as essential services in all ten Canadian states (the Federal government has not been involved in this classification process), allowing them to continue production, Interfor announced a 60% reduction in timber production and US$140m in cuts to capital expenditures for the remainder of 2021.

West Fraser planned to reduce timber, panel, pulp and paper production until at least April 6, with US$75m in capital expenditure cuts for 2020. Western Forest Products announced a halt to all manufacturing for one week while it evaluated the situation. Canfor has temporarily reduced timber production by 40%

“Our principal focus is ensuring the safety and well-being of our people through these unprecedented times, while taking the necessary actions to protect the long-term sustainability of our business,” said Don Kayne, president of Canfor Corporation.

British Columbia’s chief forester, Diane Nicholls, has also ordered a delay to the province’s interior tree planting program that was set to see a record number of seedlings planted in areas affected by the 2017 and 2018 wildfire seasons.

According to a report by CBC News, Ms. Nicholls stated “Concerns about the spread of COVID-19 has put the planting season on hold until early May”.

The program, which was set to begin April 20, was due to plant 230 million seedlings over a 10-week period.