Three CAQ ministers, including the Minister responsible for the Outaouais Mathieu Lacombe, announced that the government of Québec would be stepping up its efforts to find an investor in order to revive the assets of the Fortress plant in Thurso. The reason, according to the press release issued Tuesday, December 17th, is to preserve the jobs associated with the company and thus ensuring the sustainability of the forestry industry in the Outaouais.
“I can confirm that every effort is being made to restart the plant and to secure the future of its facilities. The entire Outaouais region will benefit from the revival of the Thurso factory: the workers, suppliers and other businesses/factories in the region. We have started discussions with representatives of Quebec companies and regional stakeholders in the forest industry. The government will have to revise certain structural elements of the industry to better reflect the reality of businesses in the forest sector today," said the ministre de l’Économie et de l’Innovation, Pierre Fitzgibbon.
Remember that the Warden of the Pontiac MRC, Jane Toller, said last month that the closure of the Fortress factory has had a significant impact in the Pontiac. She also believes that the MRC could have an important role to play in the future of the forest industry, particularly because of the geographic position of the Pontiac.
The mayors of the Pontiac MRC also agreed, at the November meeting, to ask the Quebec government to guarantee the repayment of the Fortress factory’s debt to the Pontiac’s private wood producers.
The formal process of selling Fortress began in October 2019 by Investissement Québec, who did not find a potential short term buyer. The company therefore decided to place itself under the protection of the Loi sur les arrangements avec les créanciers des compagnies, making their assets dormant while in search of potential partners.