WFP reopens Ladysmith mill

New orders for lumber from Chinese buyers means Western Forest Products will reopen its Ladysmith mill on Monday.

The mill, which shut down in the first week of December due to weakness in the Asian market, will bring back all 85 workers affected by the closing.

“It will be fully operational and working at full capacity,” said Western spokeswoman Amy Spencer. As for how long it will remain open, Spencer could say only that the mill, like any of Western’s manufacturing facilities, is subject to the vagaries of the marketplace.

“Market conditions are still challenging, but what we have done is develop a diverse order file in China,” she said.

She said the company has new orders for dimensional lumber – lumber cut to standardized width and depth, such as a two-by-four – with different sizes targeted for different regions in China. The mill ran some maintenance and shipping shifts during the shutdown.

Western’s Saltair mill, which is also in Ladysmith, was not affected.

Western permanently closed its sawmill in downtown Nanaimo last year, while it invested $10 million to modernize its Duke Point mill, where it will add another shift.

The 62 employees who had been working at the Nanaimo mill were to be offered jobs at other mills, including Duke Point.

The idea behind the consolidation was to increase production at both the company’s Duke Point and Saltair sawmills while reducing costs.

BC RCMP to limit mental health info requests

B.C. police should stop including details of suicide attempts and other mental-health information in background checks on people applying for jobs or volunteer positions, new provincial guidelines advise.

The guidelines also state that police should no longer tell employers about cases in which someone was suspected of an offence but never charged – unless the prospective employee or volunteer will be working with children and vulnerable adults.

The policy changes follow an April 2014 report by Information and Privacy Commissioner Elizabeth Denham that raised concerns about the amount of information police were releasing to employers, including details of suicide attempts, mental illnesses and minor brushes with the law.

“As a result, citizens are being wrongly denied employment opportunities and are being stigmatized and discriminated against on the basis of unproved and irrelevant non-conviction records as well as irrelevant conviction records,” the report said. B.C.’s system was broader than anywhere else in Canada, it said.