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No softwood lumber tariff-related job losses in BC yet

Last Updated May 18, 2017 at 10:46 pm PDT

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Nearly 1,300 workers in Quebec have received layoff notices at seven sawmills

BC's forest industry has other markets to prop it up, unlike Quebec and Ontario

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – People working in BC’s forest industry have so far been lucky – in the wake of new softwood lumber tariffs.

No job losses have occurred here, but the same can’t be said for Quebec.

Nearly 1,300 workers in that province have received layoff notices at seven sawmills.

Bob Matters is chair of the United Steelworkers Wood Council and says he’s surprised some small BC cedar producers have weathered the tariffs.

He points out lumber companies in BC have other markets to prop them up.

“We do have the luxury of sending some of our products to Asia, whereas in Ontario and Quebec, transportation makes that option impossible.”

The situation, though, could change with new anti-dumping levies that could be announced next month. Those would be in addition to the countervailing duties applied to Canadian lumber as of last month. The duties alone represent a 20 per cent increase in price and anti-dumping tariffs could add another 20 per cent. Some companies are even subject to retroactive tariffs, reaching back the past few months.

Matters says the irony is, it’s American consumers and homebuyers who are paying more because of measures meant to protect the American lumber industry.