Longtime Errington sawmill goes bankrupt, putting 50 people out of work

WatchAnother 50 Island workers have lost their jobs as a longtime mid Island sawmill shudders its doors in bankruptcy. Errington Cedar Products had been in operation for 30 years until November 6th when as Skye Ryan reports, employees learned they were all out of their jobs in another devastating blow to the industry.

They worked hard alongside each other for years, but now, Errington Cedar Products’ 50 workers have all been left out in the cold together with the longtime sawmill’s bankruptcy.

“I’ve been here for 15, 15 years,” said laid-off worker Gewn LaChapelle.

“I’ve worked here for 31 years,” said laid-off Errington Cedar Products worker John Mohan.

“It’s been really, really tough getting laid off.”

Gwen LaChapelle said she thought the 30-year-old company,  that specialized in supplying cedar to the world’s markets, would be around for the long run.

Then on Nov. 6 they all got the word the mill was bankrupt and everything in the yard would be liquidated to pay off creditors.

“I’m still in shock honestly,” said LaChapelle.

“It was security and safety and now I’m lost and confused and scared.”

The Errington General Store said their lunch business has plummeted since the mill closed, and workers say finding new jobs they’re qualified for is near impossible with the months long Western Forest Products strike and downturn in forestry.

“And there’s 50 people in this community wondering what they’re going to do,” said LaChapelle.

To John Mohan’s surprise, the Ministry of Forests Retirement Bridging program for laid-off sawmill workers like him that are 55 and over, is only available to workers in the Interior.

“So far it’s just the Interior mills,” said Mohan.

“But there is a lot of Coastal mills that have gone down, like this mill.”

“The forestry industry has been hit really hard,” said LaChapelle.

“And I don’t know what’s being done to help these people.”

Communications staff with the Ministry of Forests, Lands & Natural Resource Operations say they were unaware of Errington’s sawmill had gone bankrupt until contacted by CHEK News.

Skye RyanSkye Ryan

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