Norbord has announced it plans to permanently close the 100 Mile oriented strand board plant.

Norbord has announced it plans to permanently close the 100 Mile oriented strand board plant.

District launches resource guide for mill workers

Guide aims to help residents in the event of job loss stemming from mill closures and curtailments.

The District of 100 Mile House has launched a resource guide to help residents affected by economic changes stemming from mill closures and curtailments.

The Path Forward: Navigating Unexpected Job Loss was compiled by Barbara Perrey, an experienced local contractor, who conducted confidential interviews with mill workers and their families to determine what resources were available and what supports they would have liked to access.

The guide came about after Norbord announced the permanent closure of the 100 Mile House OSB plant in November 2020. That closure followed the shutdown of West Fraser’s Chasm mill in 2019 and reduced shifts at its 100 Mile mill. Temporary closures in 100 Mile have also taken place over the past few years, due to a number of factors including transportation logistics and pandemic impacts.

“We were hearing over and over families were affected by those mill closures,” said Joanne Doddridge, director of economic development & planning for the District of 100 Mile House. “Sometimes the husband would go off to work in another place leaving their families behind. Often times the families were struggling.”

The district became eligible for a BC Community Support Grant program – to fund the resource guide – following the closure announcement.

Mayor Maureen Pinkney said they were initially unsure how to spend the money.

“There really wasn’t anything like this before. It’s different than one or two people losing a job in a town,” she said. “This was massive. This affected 2,000 people directly or indirectly.

The guide is focused on forestry workers, but the information is applicable in any industry. The purpose is to help outline what resources are available and how to access them.

READ MORE: Norbord to permanently close 100 Mile Plant

“It’s pretty tough when you lose your job,” said Doddridge. “Getting yourself functioning in a good way again, and getting on the right path again – sometimes people need a little help with that.”

Copies of the booklet can be found on the District website.

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