Liberal government failing unemployed sawmill workers

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VICTORIA – The B.C. Liberal government is failing workers left unemployed by the closure of the Canfor sawmill in Quesnel by not adequately investing in skills training, say the B.C. New Democrats.

“The Liberal government has been slow off the mark helping workers who weren’t able to relocate into new jobs after the mill in Quesnel closed down,” said New Democrat skills training critic Doug Routley.

“The premier says skills training is a priority, but her actions prove otherwise. They waited eight months to announce money for retraining, and when you take into account the budget cuts at the College of New Caledonia, this barely gets them back to even.”

Routley was responding today to a government announcement of $150,000 to fund retraining efforts at the College of New Caledonia for workers left unemployed by the Canfor sawmill closure in Quesnel. The jobs lost represent a large portion of the Quesnel workforce and have added to nearly 35,000 lost forestry jobs since the B.C. Liberals took office.

“The Liberal government knew five months in advance that this closure was going to happen. While it’s good to see some retraining made available, it’s disappointing how long it’s taken for even a small investment,” said Routley.

Routley added that analysts have also been predicting more mill shutdowns in the coming years, yet the B.C. Liberals appear to have no plan to prepare workers.

“British Columbians want to see real action from this government and a long-term investment in skills training to ensure people in our province are the first in line for B.C. jobs.”