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No accurate number on those displaced by Nova Scotia mill closure, officials say

The Northern Pulp mill in Abercrombie Point, N.S., is viewed from Pictou, N.S., December 13, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Andrew Vaughan

Officials with the transition team tasked with helping forestry sector workers in Nova Scotia displaced by the closure of the Northern Pulp Mill say they don’t have an accurate picture yet of how many people need help.

READ MORE: RCMP investigating after ‘N.S. needs mills’ spray-painted on Mi’kmaq sign

The deputy minister of the province’s Lands and Forestry Department says the number is “a moving target” because many of those who did contract work for Northern Pulp have been picked up by other mills.

Julie Towers says the only solid number is the just over 300 Northern Pulp employees who have been laid off, along with about two dozen woodlands staff who work in forests managed by the company.

Click to play video: 'Pictou residents preparing for Northern Pulp shutdown' Pictou residents preparing for Northern Pulp shutdown
Pictou residents preparing for Northern Pulp shutdown – Jan 23, 2020

Three members of the province’s forestry transition team, including its chairwoman Kelliann Dean, appeared before the legislature’s natural resources and economic development committee on Wednesday.

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The team is tasked with advising the government on how to spend a $50-million job transition fund announced on Dec. 20.

READ MORE: Vandalized provincial sign an act of racism in response to Northern Pulp shut down: N.S. MP

That’s when Premier Stephen McNeil confirmed Northern Pulp would no longer be allowed to dump effluent near the Pictou Landing First Nation as of Jan. 31.

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