**** PREMIER’S OFFICE Media Release
Forestry Contractors Financing Program Available Soon
Government is working with credit unions to offer short-term repayable financing for forestry contractors affected by the pending closure of the Northern Pulp mill.
The program will be available to eligible forestry contractors with the intention of helping them with payments on their equipment loans on a short-term basis.
The transition team endorsed the approach at its latest meeting on Jan. 21.
“We are hearing from the industry that contractors need some help to make sure they can cover loan payments while they are looking for new customers and adjusting to changes in the sector,” said Premier Stephen McNeil. “As a government, we want and need a forestry industry in Nova Scotia because it helps drive our rural economy and that’s why we are making sure these businesses have options. I appreciate the leadership of credit unions and their willingness to offer this program.”
Qualifying contractors can access a line of credit, up to $180,000, guaranteed by the province. Further details on eligibility are being finalized and will be made available within the next week.
This program will be available through the 16 credit unions across the province that offer the Small Business Loan Guarantee program.
An estimated $5 million will be allocated for this initiative from the transition fund, announced on Dec. 20.
In addition, Doug Ledwidge, president and CEO of Ledwidge Lumber, Enfield, has joined the Forestry Transition Team as a new member. He has expertise in sawmill operations and can provide this perspective as the team moves forward. He participated in the team meeting earlier this week.
“Many forestry contractors are carrying significant loans on harvesting equipment and they need short-term financial support. This program will help with cash flow for those loans, and that will make a real difference for many of our small business owners in the supply chain.”
– Jeff Bishop, executive director, Forest Nova Scotia
“We’re pleased to be able to work with the provincial government to help the businesses and families working in forestry and affected by this difficult situation. It’s one more way credit unions support members and the communities we serve.”
– Mike Leonard, president and CEO, Atlantic Central and League Savings and Mortgage, the trade association for credit unions in Atlantic Canada
— the transition fund will also support an additional $7 million in silviculture and road work on both Crown land and private lands helping businesses plan for the spring season and supporting more than 250 people and contractors working
— a toll-free line (1-888-315-0110) is available for those affected and have questions
— laid-off workers can now request emergency assistance through their local Access Nova Scotia centre
— a confidential, 24-7 support line (1-866-885-6540) is available for anyone who may need emotional support
— information sessions are being held throughout January in partnership with NS Works and the federal government, so people can get help with job searching, retraining and applying for employment insurance
— workers from across the sector can access one-on-one career counselling and a customized skills training plan to help connect to opportunities in the skilled trades through a new Forestry Sector Apprenticeship Initiative, at no cost
Government’s Forestry Sector Support website is at: https://novascotia.ca/forestry-sector-support/
A list of the 16 participating credit unions can be found on the Nova Scotia Cooperative Council website at http://www.novascotia.coop/programs/small-business-loan-guarantee-program/