By: The Working Forest Staff
Ontario is supporting Columbia Forest Products to expand its plywood mill in Hearst and Rutherglen, helping to create and maintain almost 350 jobs and boost economic growth. Columbia Forest Products is one of North America’s largest manufacturers of hardwood plywood and hardwood veneer products. Columbia’s decorative interior veneers and panels are used in high-end cabinetry, fine furniture, architectural millwork and commercial fixtures.
With support from Ontario’s Jobs and Prosperity Fund, the company will be able to grow its business and increase efficiency by modernizing its infrastructure and purchasing new equipment to maximize production capacity, increase competitiveness and expand into new markets, while ensuring resources are managed sustainably.
“Our government understands how important a strong forest products sector is to Ontario’s economy and the key role it plays in many northern and rural communities. The Forestry Growth Fund, under the Jobs and Prosperity Fund, is assisting the sector to increase production capacity and expand into new markets while continuing to ensure our forests are sustainably managed,” said Nathalie Des Rosiers, Minister of Natural Resources and Forestry.
“Creating jobs and growing the local economy is the precise purpose of the Jobs and Prosperity Fund – I am happy to see the investment we are making in northern Ontario, and the support this will provide to families in Ontario,” said Steven Del Duca, Minister of Economic Development and Growth.
“A respectful working relationship between the Ontario Government, our Union partners and Columbia’s leadership team in Ontario continues to strengthen as evidenced by the ongoing expansion and modernization of Columbia’s Ontario hardwood plywood and veneer operations – a positive case study that witnesses complementary organizations working together to build a solid future for Columbia’s dedicated Ontario team members,” said Gary Gillespie, executive vice president, Canadian Plywood and Decorative Veneer Operations, Columbia Forest Products.
Ontario’s plan to create fairness and opportunity during this period of rapid economic change includes a higher minimum wage and better working conditions, free tuition for hundreds of thousands of students, easier access to affordable child care, and free prescription drugs for everyone under 25 through the biggest expansion of medicare in a generation.