Uncertainty in Sask. lumber industry as U.S. tariffs loom

Uncertainty in Sask. lumber industry as U.S. tariffs loom

Uncertainty looms in Saskatchewan's lumber industry after U.S. President Donald Trump said tariffs would be imposed on Canada's softwood lumber exports.

Dallas Anderson, an industry worker in Big River, Sask., said the last time tariffs were imposed, businesses had to be shut down. 

"The tariffs are going to be bad; worse probably for the mills than the loggers," Anderson said. 

The tariffs, which range from three to 24 per cent, are the fifth round of lumber disputes since the 1980s.

Anderson said the mill he works at deals with both softwood and hardwood lumber. He expects mills will be hard hit, especially the smaller ones.

"The price of lumber is so low as it is, that it's hard for them to make a profit right now." 

Anderson has worked in the industry for about 11 years. He recalls the last time tariffs were imposed.

"Some people really got screwed over about it. Luckily, I've been fortunate enough to keep working, but a lot of people weren't as lucky." 

Anderson is father of two. If the lumber industry doesn't work out for him, he said he doesn't know what he will do.

"I'll probably go work in Alberta — oil field or something. ... This is what I've been doing now for so long."

Correction : A previous version of this story stated Dallas Anderson is employed by Carrier Lumber. The story has since been updated. (Apr 26, 2017 7:14 PM)