Canadian lumber giant Interfor buys Eacom

Despite an up-and-down year for lumber products in Canada, forestry giant Interfor is betting big on Ontario sawmills.

Lumber mills in northern Ontario expected to operate as normal following purchase by B.C-based giant

B.C.-based Interfor announced it's acquiring Eacom Timber Industries, making it the largest forestry product operator in Canada. (Erik White/CBC )

Despite an up-and-down year for lumber products in Canada, forestry giant Interfor is betting big on Ontario sawmills.

The Burnaby, British Columbia-based Interfor announced Wednesday it is acquiring the Eacom Timber Company, which operates mills primarily in northern Ontario and northwestern Quebec.

Eric Larouche, Interfor's new vice-president of eastern operations, said the deal is a "game changer" for both companies.

"It's raised the ceiling of opportunities for our employees now that we have thirty five mills and sawmills across North America," he said. "Interfor, now, with the acquisition of Eacom Timber Corp, is the largest lumber producer in Canada, and fourth in the world."

Lumber prices peaked in May 2021, but that was followed by a "historic correction" in September, Larouche said.

Once the dust settled, forestry products began a gradual climb.

"The industry has been through very tough times in late 2010 and early 2010 to 2015 and almost 2016," Larouche said. "It's been good that we got these kinds of prices that allowed us to reinvest into our mills, reinvest into our people."

Founded in 1919, Interfor's Timmins sawmill makes random length lumber. (Supplied by Eacom)

"It allowed us to bring a brand new generation of foresters, harvesters, loggers, sawmillers and managers who take pride in what they do." 

Interfor is also setting out to win the trust of local communities in these lumber towns by giving former Eacom employees a $500 bonus.

"We're going to continue fostering good relationship with our communities," Larouche said. "We will continue working really hard to be a good employer and employee of choice in our communities, somebody that will take care of their employees and their well-being and their safety."

USW response 

Jacques Jean, a representative with United Steelworkers Local 1-2010, the union that represents Eacom mill workers, said in an email to CBC that the union's working relationship with Eacom has been "good."

"When it was sold to Interfor recently, we were told that it was going to be business as usual," Jean said. "So no reason for us to believe that it will be any different."

"As for the new company Interfor, we don't know much about this company, therefore we're going to move forward with their business as usual commitment."

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