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NS announces $1.5M for Northern Pulp workers’ skills retraining


January 15, 2020
By P&PC staff
Northern Pulp. Photo: © Murdo Ferguson/Paper Excellence

The province of Nova Scotia will use $1.5 million of its $50-million forestry transition package to connect an estimated 200 workers affected by the pending closure of Northern Pulp to opportunities in the skilled trades.

The announcement followed the second meeting of the forestry transition team yesterday.

Workers who participate will have free access to one-on-one career counselling and a skills training plan customized to their individual needs.

Some workers will pursue apprenticeship in a skilled trade as a career option while others, with work experience in a trade, may challenge for certification. Those who are ready to be certified in a skilled trade can have the fees waived.

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Interested workers will be assessed to determine how to get the training or certification they need in the least amount of time, based on previous work experience and training.

Opportunities could include a steamfitter/pipefitter in an industrial setting who may want to become a plumber, a person who operates heavy equipment in the woods and wants to become a heavy-duty equipment technician, someone who has done electrical work at a sawmill and wants to become a construction electrician, or someone who works with equipment or technologies or as a labourer who would like to acquire a skilled trade.

Northern Pulp is scheduled to close indefinitely Jan. 31, the date legislated by the Boat Harbour Act for the mill to remove its effluent drainage pipe from the waters adjacent to Pictou Landing First Nation, which will result in the loss of 300 direct jobs and an estimated 2,400 in the forestry supply chain. The province has not yet approved a replacement wastewater system.

Workers who are interested in learning about skilled trades opportunities can register by calling the Nova Scotia Apprenticeship Agency at 1-800-494-5651.

Open houses are scheduled throughout the province in January for those who wish to access employment programs and services.

A toll-free line (1-888-315-0110) is open for individuals and businesses from the forestry sector with immediate needs and questions, and a confidential, toll-free line (1-866-885-6540) is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week to help anyone in need of emotional support as a result of the mill’s pending closure.