Federal government would do well to resist call by Mosaic Forest Management, before opportunities to process wood in province are further compromised.
BRITISH COLUMBIA’S FOREST INDUSTRY was in trouble long before anyone had heard the name of the virus now seared into our brains.
Months before COVID-19 appeared, forest companies had curtailed operations in response to declining prices and escalating costs.
One of the earliest companies to shut down was Mosaic Forest Management, a company that coordinates logging and marketing efforts for Island Timberlands and TimberWest.
The two companies export, by far, more raw, unprocessed logs from the province than any of their competitors—roughly half of all the logs shipped from BC to out-of-country buyers.
Mosaic pulled the plug on its coastal logging operations in late November, announcing that its annual winter shutdown would start early and last indefinitely, affecting 2,000 union and non-union contract workers.
“We are currently experiencing very challenging pricing and market conditions,” Mosaic’s media spokesperson, Pam Agnew, said then. “As a result, we are shutting down earlier ahead of a usual winter shutdown. We are monitoring the situation closely and look forward to restarting production when the market outlook improves.”
So to recap, four months before the global pandemic arrived Mosaic’s workers were out of work and reeling from the left hook of slumping markets. The right jab to follow—the virus—came second.
Keep that one-two punch in mind, because it is critical to what follows—an attempt by Mosaic to obliterate rules that place only a modicum of restrictions on its ability to export raw, unprocessed logs by the millions out of the province.