B.C. offers $5 million equipment loan program to help ailing forest contractors

Families in Port McNeill are facing mounting financial pressure as the strike between unionized forestry workers and Western Forest Products nears the five-month mark. (CTV News)

Premier John Horgan says the government is making $5 million available for loans to help contractors who are in danger of losing their equipment due to a forest industry strike on Vancouver Island.

He says the program for struggling forest industry contractors will be available by the end of this month with bridge loans to help save equipment.

Horgan announced the funding during a speech to forest industry contractors at the annual Truck Loggers Association convention.

He spent much of his speech addressing the labour dispute between Western Forests Products and the Steelworkers union, saying the seven-month strike is unprecedented in British Columbia history.

Up to 3,000 people are out of work and local politicians in Port McNeill and Campbell River says local economies are struggling.

Horgan says he has urged both sides to negotiate a settlement.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 16, 2020.

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