More than 300 workers expected to return to work at Crofton mill


More than 300 workers are returning to their jobs at the Catalyst Crofton mill in southern Vancouver Island.

Paper Excellence Canada, the parent company of Catalyst Crofton, announced that pulp operations were restarting at the mill in Crofton, north of Duncan, on Tuesday after pulp manufacturing was curtailed at the facility last year.

“In spite of challenges posed by exceptionally low pulp and paper prices driven by global market fluctuations, we are pleased to announce that we are resuming pulp production and reinstating a portion of our workforce at our Crofton mill,” said Krista Cuddy, interim director of operations and integration at Catalyst Crofton.

In October 2022, Paper Excellence announced an indefinite curtailment of its paper operations at its Catalyst Crofton mill starting in December of that year.

SEE PREVIOUS: Planned indefinite curtailment at Catalyst Crofton will be catastrophic to the Cowichan Valley, union warns

North Cowichan mayor Rob Douglas is happy workers are returning to the mill. The company pays more than $41 million in taxes every year, which helps the region tremendously.

“To hear that there these 300 workers going to be back on the job in the first week of October is welcome news, we’re really happy to hear that,” said Douglas

The company says that while pulp operations have restarted at the mill, paper operations are still curtailed until at least the end of October.

Pulp workers who have returned to the job may not be out of the woods as well.

“While this is a positive development, we will continue to assess the ongoing viability of maintaining Kraft pulp operations at Crofton to ensure it is cost effective to operate and consistent with our overall business strategies,” said Cuddy.

Paper workers from UNIFOR are still being asked to stay at bay until at least the end of October. UNIFOR president Tanner McQuarrie wants better communication and better certainty for his 60 members.

“Going month to month isn’t good anymore. E.I. is running out for us because we curtailed before July 1 for time, even since the announcement, so this story is getting old. We need solutions fast for us here,” said McQuarrie.

Earlier this year, the province also invested $18.8 million into the Catalyst Crofton mill to help convert some of its machinery into equipment that can make water-resistant paper packaging and cutlery.

Adam Chan

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