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Unifor blasts Nova Scotia Environment decision as an “irresponsible” delay

December 17, 2019 - 12:00 AM

December 17, 2019

HALIFAX - Unifor is deeply concerned about the high likelihood of widespread job loss across rural Nova Scotia following the Minister of Environment’s request for yet another series of studies on the Northern Pulp effluent treatment facility (ETF) project leading up to the Boat Harbour deadline.

“Northern Pulp’s ETF project uses the best-available technology, backed by science and experience, and includes additional safeguards to address community concerns,” said Dias. “The delays by government on this project are irresponsible and short-sighted, especially given the 2,700 jobs relying on this mill.”

The union supported the company’s proposal to replace the treatment facility at Boat Harbour with an on-site, state-of-the-art system that is seen as the solution to right the historical wrongs against Pictou Landing First Nation.

“I think every industry worker in the province who has been watching this situation unfold is now very concerned for their future,” said Linda MacNeil, Unifor Atlantic Regional Director. “We all understand that our modern lives involve balance, compromise, and commitment to improving our environmental footprint, but this takes it a step further and questions the latest and greatest the industry can offer. Nova Scotia is delaying a firm decision despite many other Kraft mills in Canada running the same systems with no significant impacts on their surrounding environments.”

Unifor has long advocated for a collaborative approach between government, company, union and community to the serious issues and concerns surrounding the Northern Pulp mill and the closure of Boat Harbour.

“This has been a long and difficult process for the members at the mill and for the whole community, and the decision today is not what we hoped for or expected,” said Don McKenzie, President of Local 440 (Northern Pulp). “We appreciate all the support we’ve had from across the forestry sector and from our union family. Our members will need that support more than ever as we head into the holidays and the very uncertain days ahead.”

Unifor is Canada's largest union in the private sector, representing 315,000 workers in every major area of the economy, including 230 workers at Northern Pulp and more than 23,000 in the forestry sector. The union advocates for all working people and their rights, fights for equality and social justice in Canada and abroad, and strives to create progressive change for a better future.

For media inquiries contact Shelley Amyotte, Unifor National Communications Representative at shelley.amyotte@unifor.org or 902-717-7491 (cell).