LBMAO Rejects Ford’s Comments

The Lumber and Building Materials Association of Ontario (LBMAO) wants Ontario Premier Doug Ford to rescind a statement that “those lumber companies who are jacking up prices need to be held accountable.” In an open letter, David W. Campbell, the LBMAO president, rejected any suggestion that the sector is ‘ripping the public off’ and that the remarks have “insulted the hardworking and decent people who work in and work from their home environments, and not use disposable income to travel, dine out etc. However, they did channel those funds towards home renovations and improvements. Our members certainly benefited from this unprecedented shift to home improvements.” He says early in the pandemic in late 2019, the producers of lumber, primarily in British Columbia, closed their operations as they, like everyone, saw a significant drop in demand and they laid off employees. Once the economy started to improve, much of it driven by the federal wage subsidies, consumers began to drive up the demand for building supplies. However, the mills were slow to tool up and have had a difficult time finding employees as many were taking advantage of the CERB (Canada Emergency Response Benefit). Another factor that has impacted the supply chain were the hurricanes and freezing weather systems in 2020 in the southern U.S. where much of the chemicals used to produce commodity lumber such as OSB and plywood and related products are produced. These chemicals are still in light supply with many of these chemical companies not producing at full capacity. “Quite simply, our sector is one of the few that has a level of competition that many other sectors do not, so prices are driven by demand and shortage of product, which impacts our entire sector,” he says.