New tariffs on Canadian softwood lumber heading south of the border has some worried it could cause job losses in Saskatchewan.
Duties as high as 24 per cent were imposed Tuesday by the Trump administration for softwood lumber products.
This is the fifth time in roughly 30 years the U.S. has forced the Canadian government to defend its policy on this file. Canada has come out on top in the dispute on every occasion.
This time the Trudeau government is promising to deal with the Trump administration “respectfully, but firmly.”
Companies across Canada are waiting to find what it means and how it’ll affect their bottom line.
L and M Wood Products based in Glaslyn, Sask. produces signs, fence posts and parts for bridges.
Their biggest customer for dimensional lumber is in Manitoba, who ultimately ships the finished product to the United States.
“It’s definitely going to cause them to curtail some of their shipments. It’s a domino effect,” said Zane Delainey, general manager.
“Our markets are traditionally east -west. Everyone else now is going to want to follow that same market, so there’s a lot more of us who have to deal with a very small area, so to speak.”
He said they’ll have a better idea in July whether they have to cut back on production.
“Right now we’re not looking at it,” Delainey said.
“If we didn’t think things were going to get better, we’d make the decision based on whether the company is viable with the situation the way it is.”
The new duties stipulate smaller companies will have to pay up retroactively, an expense that could run into the millions of dollars for some.
That will have an impact on Carrier Forest Products, who said Tuesday the company may be facing job cuts in the future.
In Carrot River, Edgewood Forest Products anticipated the tariffs as the U.S. election wore on.
They’ve been trimming costs and streamlining operations since last year.
“Part of the strategy of doing so was to prepare the mill and facility to be as competitive as possible in light of whatever came down as far as duties,” Kris Hayman, President and CEO of Edgewood Forest Products.
“We are geared up and prepared to continue high quality lumber at the lowest cost possible and continue operations as we have been.”