No accurate number on those displaced by Nova Scotia mill closure, officials say

Northern Pulp Mill

Officials with the transition team tasked with helping forestry sector workers in Nova Scotia displaced by the closure of the Northern Pulp Mill say they don't have an accurate picture yet of how many people need help.

The deputy minister of the province's Lands and Forestry Department says the number is "a moving target" because many of those who did contract work for Northern Pulp have been picked up by other mills.

Julie Towers says the only solid number is the just over 300 Northern Pulp employees who have been laid off, along with about two dozen woodlands staff who work in forests managed by the company.

Three members of the province's forestry transition team, including its chairwoman Kelliann Dean, appeared before the legislature's natural resources and economic development committee on Wednesday.

The team is tasked with advising the government on how to spend a $50-million job transition fund announced on Dec. 20.

That's when Premier Stephen McNeil confirmed Northern Pulp would no longer be allowed to dump effluent near the Pictou Landing First Nation as of Jan. 31.