By: The Working Forest Staff
Vancouver, BC — Canfor Pulp Products Inc. has announced actions in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and resulting economic uncertainty. “Our top priority is working to protect the safety and well-being of our employees,” said Canfor Pulp chief executive officer Don Kayne. “At the same time, we are responding to volatility in the marketplace and reduced fibre availability and taking necessary steps to protect the business.”
Health and Safety Response:
The health and safety of Canfor Pulp employees and contractors, their families and our communities are our primary focus. At our offices, facilities and work sites, we have implemented significant measures grounded in the recommendations of public health officials. These include restricting all travel, mandating self-isolation for returned travellers and any employees exhibiting symptoms or exposed to the virus, implementing physical distancing parameters between individuals, increasing cleaning and sanitization in workplaces, and where possible, instructing employees to work remotely to reduce interpersonal contact.
In addition to steps focused on physical health, we recognize that many people are experiencing stress and anxiety related to the COVID-19 virus and public health response. We have expanded our outreach and communication regarding mental health support services available to Canfor Pulp employees and their families.
The Company is postponing the planned extended spring maintenance shut at Northwood Pulp Mill until later this year, and instead will curtail the mill for three weeks during the period the turnaround was originally scheduled to occur. This will result in a reduction of approximately 35,000 tonnes of Northern Bleached Softwood Kraft pulp production.
In addition, Canfor Pulp is reducing its planned capital expenditures for 2020 by $15 million to $25 million, representing a $78 million decrease from 2019 capital expenditures. This reduction will be realized through the deferral of planned projects and suspension of in-progress initiatives that can be paused without significant impact. Given the rapidly evolving COVID-19 situation, Canfor Pulp is closely monitoring potential staffing shortages, customer demand and volatility in the financial markets. There is the potential that further adjustments to operating plans may be required as a result.