On 10 August, West Fraser Timber announced it would be permanently reducing its production of softwood lumber and plywood. According to the announcement, production at the Fraser Lake and Williams Lake sawmills will be reduced by a total of approximately 170m bdft per annum, and plywood production at the Quesnel Plywood mill will be reduced by 85m sqft per annum. The company states that the reductions represent approximately 10% of West Fraser’s lumber production in British Columbia and around 17% of plywood production in the province.
The reductions are to be implemented by eliminating one shift at each mill. The elimination of one shift is expected to result in 77 job cuts at the Fraser Lake sawmill, 15 at Williams Lake Lumber and 55 at Quesnel Plywood during the fourth quarter. Affected employees will be offered alternative job opportunities at other West Fraser operations.
West Fraser is citing increasing roundwood supply problems in the province as reason for the measure. Ongoing transport restrictions have been further impairing business operations for a considerable period. These newly announced reductions mean that production at the three mills can be adjusted to the sustainably available roundwood volumes and utilisable transport capacities in each case.