One of West Fraser’s operations on Two Mile Flat in Quesnel. (Quesnel Cariboo Observer file photo)

COVID-19: West Fraser temporarily suspending plywood production in Quesnel as demand for forest products declines

They are also reducing lumber production at their sawmills, starting March 23

West Fraser is reducing lumber production at its western Canadian sawmills and temporarily suspending plywood production in Quesnel as it responds to the COVID-19 pandemic and declining demand for forest products.

West Fraser announced the changes Thursday, March 19 as the company released its COVID-19 pandemic response plan.

“In response to the COVID-19 outbreak, West Fraser is taking steps to protect its employees and respond to changing market conditions,” according to a news release. “The health and safety of our employees, their families and the communities we work in are vitally important. West Fraser has taken a series of actions to ensure a safe and productive working environment. West Fraser has implemented changes to mitigate potential exposure at our worksites, with a focus on thorough cleaning, strict travel limitations, health education and appropriate social and physical distancing at all company sites.”

West Fraser says that as the demand for forest products has begun to decline, it is also making several changes to operating schedules at its manufacturing operations.

Starting Monday, March 23, lumber production will be reduced at western Canada sawmills by approximately 18 per cent or 12 million board feet per week, and lumber production at the company’s U.S. South sawmills will be reduced by approximately 24 per cent or 15 million board feet per week.

“These reductions will be implemented through various means, including reduced operating hours, elimination of overtime, elimination of shifts and curtailment of operations,” according to West Fraser. “Shipping will be maintained as needed to fulfill order commitments.”

These temporary reductions are expected to stay in place until at least April 6.

Plywood production will be temporarily suspended at West Fraser’s Quesnel plywood facility from March 23 until at least April 6. The company says this will reduce the company’s plywood production by 5,000 thousand square feet per week.

At West Fraser’s jointly-owned Cariboo Pulp and Paper Mill in Quesnel, the scheduled maintenance shutdown has been deferred due to risk stemming from the COVID-19 outbreak.

“Absences due to COVID-19 policy are increasing at some of the company’s other pulp mills, and it is possible that curtailment of operations at these mills may be necessary due to key technical resources not being available,” according to West Fraser.

West Fraser says actions are also underway to reduce the company’s planned capital spending for 2020 by $75 million through the delay and deferral of projects that had not yet been started.

“West Fraser is regularly monitoring market conditions and contractor availability,” states the news release. “Further potential steps on capital expenditure are being evaluated as the situation unfolds. The COVID-19 crisis threatens to further impair staff availability and create market volatility. West Fraser is monitoring the situation closely, and it is possible that additional reductions in production or operating curtailments may be necessary.”

READ MORE: B.C. records new COVID-19 death as number of cases rises to 271



editor@quesnelobserver.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Coronavirus

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

B.C. firefighters only responding to most life-threatening calls during COVID-19 pandemic

The directive comes after province spoke with paramedics, fire services, according to top doctor

Visitor to Kamloops army club tests positive for COVID-19: Interior Health

The individual visited Anavets 290 Army and Navy Club between March 13 and March 17

‘An extra $220 every 90 days’: B.C. patients pay more dispensing fees due to prescription limits

Kelowna woman says it’s outrageous to charge for refills every 30 days

A grateful community

Another community convoy to thank health care workers is planned for April 5

QUIZ: How much do you know about hockey?

Take this test and find out how well you know Canada’s most popular winter sport

QUIZ: How much do you know about hockey?

Take this test and find out how well you know Canada’s most popular winter sport

Two inmates found positive for COVID-19 at federal prison in B.C.; other tests pending

15 staff self-isolating waiting results, refusal to work notice sent, says correctional officer

Critic, workers’ group ‘disappointed’ Trudeau chose Amazon to distribute PPE

Amazon Canada said in an email to The Canadian Press that it is working with Canada Post, Purolator

How to cope with your mental health during a global pandemic

Becca Shears, clinical counsellor in Vanderhoof speaks about ways to deal with stress and anxiety during this time.

Full World COVID-19 update: National Guard collect ventilators in New York; Spain, Italy improve

Comprehensive coronavirus update with news from around the world.

Two people fined after B.C. police spot online ads re-selling 5,000 surgical, N95 masks

Police confiscated the masks, being sold at inflated prices, and now working with Fraser Health

Sex workers face new risks during COVID-19 pandemic

‘Desperation has kicked in’ for vulnerable, undocumented workers unable to access help

Most Read