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Alberta pulp mill workers face layoffs because of issues caused by B.C. flooding: company

A file photo of cedar planks. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson

A major Canadian forestry firm says this fall’s flooding and mudslides in B.C. have impacted its operations and are resulting in layoffs at an Alberta pulp mill.

“As a result of the significant flooding in southern B.C., the province is now facing serious transportation and logistics issues impacting highways, rail and our ports,” Joyce Wagenaar, a corporate spokesperson for West Fraser, told Global News in an email on Wednesday.

“These issues are now impacting West Fraser’s pulp operations as we are unable to ship product and have run out of accessible storage.”

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According to Wagenaar, the company began to temporarily curtail production at its pulp operations in Slave Lake, Alta., and in Quesnel, B.C., on Tuesday.

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“We are working to minimize impact on employees and some activities will continue on a reduced basis,” she said.

The company said Slave Lake Pulp is cutting back production for two weeks. It did not confirm how long the 40 employees there would be laid off.

“At Quesnel River Pulp, we will be running the mill at one-third of our usual capacity over the next two weeks,” Wagenaar said. “This will impact approximately 60 employees.

“At Cariboo Pulp and Paper, we temporarily shut our plant for production over the next 16 days which will impact approximately 160 employees. Some functions will continue, such as the operation of the cogeneration facility.”

Wagenaar said West Fraser is monitoring the “transportation situation” on an ongoing basis and will update its plans as the situation unfolds.

“Our hope is to see our employees come back to work as soon as possible,” she said.

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