Forestry rallies demand new softwood agreement

June 21, 2017 


Toronto—A diverse mix of workers, community allies, and employers held rallies in five cities across three provinces to demand a new Canada-U.S. softwood lumber agreement that protects good jobs.

"Tens of thousands of jobs and the future of dozens of communities depend on fair trade in softwood lumber,” said Scott Doherty, Executive Assistant to Unifor’s National President. “All across Canada workers and employers are rallying today to tell the federal government to negotiate a fair trade agreement with the U.S. before any more jobs are lost.”

Unifor members teamed up with Irving Pulp & Paper in New Brunswick and Resolute in Quebec and Ontario. The collaboration between forestry companies and workers underscores how urgent Canada needs a new bilateral softwood lumber agreement with the United States. The Americans levied a 20% tariff on Canadian lumber exports in April 2017, and another tariff is expected on June 23.

The federal government has implemented a relief package to assist companies impacted by the new tariffs but Unifor says that a new deal should be the ultimate goal.

“Workers and employers agree: a new Canada-U.S. softwood agreement is the most sustainable solution to keeping our forestry industry strong,” said Unifor Atlantic Regional Director Lana Payne. 

Forestry provides 202,000 direct jobs in 650 communities across Canada. Forestry supply and transport companies create thousands more jobs; and the economic activity generated by the spending of forestry workers creates even more. For every forestry job, 1.5 additional jobs are created elsewhere in the economy. In total, forestry is responsible for more than half a million Canadian jobs.

Unifor is Canada’s largest union in the private sector, representing more than 310,000 workers. It was formed Labour Day weekend 2013 when the Canadian Auto Workers and the Communications, Energy and Paperworkers unions merged. 

-30-

For more information, please contact Unifor Communications Representative Ian Boyko at ian.boyko@unifor.org or 778-903-6549 (cell).