The Tolko mill in Kelowna announced its “indeterminate” closure on Sept. 12, 2019. (File)

Government costs put thousands out of work in forestry: Kelowna Chamber of Commerce

The Kelowna Chamber is “extremely concerned” about rising costs within the forestry industry

The Kelowna Chamber of Commerce has stated that it is “extremely concerned” about increased government costs causing a “dramatic downturn” in the forestry industry.

On Sept. 13, the chamber released a statement in which it said all levels of government need to “work together to halt the slide into negative numbers and closures being experienced across wide swaths of the forest industry in B.C.”

“The cumulative impact of increased costs at every level is colliding with decisions around mill closures,” said Nikki Csek, president of the Kelowna Chamber.

“Instead of allowing these cost increases, from the employer health tax by to increased property tax, each level of government should be working together to lower costs as a means of assisting the forest industry in order to save jobs and help BC’s economy.”

The chamber said that in the past year we have seen:

  • Increased stumpage costs (July 2019)
  • Increase in carbon taxes
  • Property tax increases
  • Employer Health Tax – new, high taxes for any firm with a payroll over $500,000
  • Federal corporate tax changes and increases
  • Continued failure to cement a new softwood lumber agreement

The Kelowna Chamber also said workers are beginning to cross the border into both the United States and Alberta to find stable work.

READ MORE: Man shot by RCMP in Bear Creek Provincial Park; police watchdog investigating

READ MORE: ‘A real shame’: Kelowna MLA says factors behind Tolko mill closing should have been caught


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