WINNIPEG – Hundreds of people will soon be out of a job in The Pas as the largest employer in the community closes up shop.
Tolko Industries took over operations of the Manitoba Kraft Paper and Sawmill in 1997. It currently employs 332 people and still operates as a kraft paper mill.
In a statement, Tolko President and CEO Brad Thorlakson says the business is no longer financially sustainable and work will stop on December 2nd.
“Over the 19 years we have been in the community, a great deal of work has been done, both internally and externally, to improve the mill’s competitive position. Unfortunately, despite years of continued effort to improve the cost structure and business results of the operations, the business is not financially sustainable. This is a business decision that is in the best long-term interest of the company and our employees.”
Thorlakson goes on to say that he understands this will be a difficult time for the community but says the company can’t continue to sustain the kind of losses it has been.
Staff have been told and will be offered transition packages. Tolko says full details will be available to employees by the week of September 6th.
Mayor Jim Scott calls this news “devastating” and “unbelievable”.
“This is the toughest day I’ve ever had in this community, for sure. It’s 330 people who have lost their jobs,” he says. “It’s a total shock, I had no indication that this was going to happen.”
This news comes on the heels of layoffs at the Port of Churchill earlier this summer.
Owner Omnitrax has still not commented on reasons for the layoffs or a decision to stop grain shipments this year, while cutting freight service in half.
Photo from The Pas Chamber of Commerce