[This page will be updated when new information and programs are available. The primary audience for this Economic Resiliency Resource Portal is Smithers residents and businesses affected by the recent mill closures in Northern BC. Last modified April 3, 2023]
On January 25th, 2023, Canfor announced the temporary closure of the Houston sawmill in April 2023. Pending approval from Canfor’s board of directors, the plan is to rebuild a modern facility over the next two years. The Town of Smithers acknowledges the upcoming challenges the District of Houston and the region will face and will provide support where possible.
On the day of the announcement, the Province of BC released the Ministers’ statement on Canfor’s restructuring. Bruce Ralston, Minister of Forests, and Brenda Bailey, Minister of Jobs Economic Development and Innovation, noted that “today’s announcement is incredibly difficult for the workers, their families and the communities they live in. Our government is committed to supporting forestry workers impacted by closures and also to support good, long-term jobs in the sector. In the last week, government announced the $90-million BC Manufacturing Jobs Fund that will promote value-added innovation in the forestry sector, $50 million in funding to increase fibre supply, and we launched a new program to provide dedicated access of timber to valued-added manufacturers.”
“I am deeply concerned about what this announcement by Canfor means for our neighbours in Houston and I am also concerned for our community. A closure like this will affect us all. My heart goes out to those who have to deal with the uncertainly caused by the anticipated job losses,” said Smithers Mayor Gladys Atrill.