More regional mill workers will be off the job for a significant period of time as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Sinclar Group Forest Products is the latest among several other major lumber, pulp and paper producers electing to curtail its mills in promoting physical distancing and the health and safety of its employees, in addition to rapidly changing market conditions.
Lakeland Mills in Prince George will be curtailed for three weeks starting this Sunday (April 5), as well as Nechako Lumber in Vanderhoof and Apollo Forest Products in Fort St. James.
“Our priority is to protect the health and safety of our employees and their families, with a focus on the prevention and mitigation of the spread of the COVID-19 virus in our communities,” said company President Greg Stewart in a news release.
“We are taking our lead from the relevant public health authorities as we adjust our manufacturing operations to meet this new and challenging reality.”
However, Winton Homes in Prince George and Premium Pellet in Vanderhoof will stay open as Sinclar Group states the move is ‘to meet current demand for their products, while observing all recommended public health guidelines.’
Stewart says these decision are subject for re-evaluation as the situation progresses, adding he understands the impact this will have a ripple on workers and families.
“Unfortunately, given the current market conditions globally, the decision to curtail was a question of when, not if. It was our strong belief that curtailing at this critical time, while the world battles COVID-19, was the right thing to do as it would help reduce the risks to our community, and it allows many of our employees to be at home with their families during a very critical time.”
Sinclar Group has listed the actions it's taken in response to COVID-19:
- Health and safety protocols at the workplace including social distancing and increased sanitation of workstations and common areas
- Work from home measures, where possible, and rotating shifts
- Self-isolation procedures for those returning from international travel and those exhibiting symptoms
- Business travel restrictions
- Restricting access to office and sites
- Employee and family assistance support