Elk Falls Workers

Campbell River B.C.

Catalyst Files for Creditor Protection…

Jan 31, 2012 – Catalyst anounced today that to facilitate an orderly restructuring of its business and operations, they were filing for an Initial Order from the Supreme Court of British Columbia to commence proceedings under the Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act (CCAA). The terms and conditions of the restructuring plan have not yet been determined by the company.

Catalyst had been working on a plan to retructure it’s debt. There were several conditions of that plan that needed to be met before Jan 31st. Unfortunately they came up short on two of those conditions

(a) a new labour agreement ratified by all six union locals at the company’s BC mills and
(b) two-thirds support of all 2014 and 2016 bondholders.

The CEP is retaining legal council to represent the interests of both past and current members at the CCAA proceedings.
Along with all the 1123/630 retirees, there are still many members on LTDI benefits from Catalyst, and I appreciate that they all have questions about how they could be impacted by this news.

Health & Welfare Benefits, Bridging, and Pension top-ups are just a few of the several areas of concern that people have been calling about, but at this time we are unsure of the answers. As we find out more information, I will ensure its posted here. Feel free to post any questions you may have, even though we don’t currently have answers, your questions could help us identify other issues that we aren’t even aware exist.

January 31, 2012 - Posted by | CEP Issues, General


  1. Wondering….are there any updates available through the union on what’s happening recently?
    Mike: the restructuring of the Company continues – There hasn’t been much to report, that hasn’t been reported in the local papers. The vote of creditors on whether to accept Catalysts restructure plan has been postponed a week until May 2. If the vote fails, a sales process will begin where the company will be sold either as a whole or smaller parts. There is a salvage company currently taking metal out of the Elk Falls site. they aren’t demolishing buildings, just hi-grading anything salvageable. The latest monitors report indicates the Elk site has no value because of remediation costs. Once the salvagers are finished there will be a number of asbestos filled buildings sitting on a heavily polluted site. Hard to believe the municipality wasn’t in court arguing that Catalyst couldn’t scrap the site unless they were doing the cleanup. If the restructuring fails, and it goes to a sales process – no-one is going to buy the Elk site so it will ultimately fall to someone else (probably taxpayers) to pay for site cleanup.
    There shouldn’t be any impact to unionized retirees unless the plan fails and a bidding war starts for the different properties. If that happens I will be posting a lot more information.

    Comment by mike | April 19, 2012 | Reply

    • Thankyou, Ian, for your update. I had forgotten about the site being “toxic” due to all the asbestos in the buildings, etc. You’d think the different levels of government would have some responsibility in ensuring the clean up happened as part of the exit strategy? You are right; why isn’t the municipality of campbell river more involved in this?

      Comment by mike | April 23, 2012 | Reply

  2. IF bridging is still available at 60, who do we get hold of and how far ahead of time?

    If you believe you were eligible for bridging, contact the Catalyst office in Naniamo, and make sure they have your name on their list, and have your correct address. – Ian

    Comment by Tom Newman | March 22, 2012 | Reply

  3. As Forced into retirement I ask the question? Does anyone one know the future of the Retiree’s and if they will still be given the previous Bridging or if they need to amalgamate and go to a class action law suite to ensure that the previous negotiated contract was properly dealt with? I am sure that I am not only the one with the same question.
    Steve – You have good reason for concern. However – Up to this point there has been no changes to Retiree’s pensions, bridging, or health & welfare payments, but that could change as a result of the restructuring undertaken to come out of CCAA. As for what will eventually happen?? Who knows?? If the restructure does impact the retirees, then they would become creditors of the Company, who would then have to get in line with all the others that are owed money to vie for a share of what was left… if anything.
    As for representation – At the last court hearing on Feb 23, the Counsel for the CEP put forward that they wished to represent not just the current, but also the retired unionized workers. There were no objections from any of the other lawyers present, so I believe the judge will allow it to happen. If any of the retiree group want different legal representation, they are able to opt out from having the union representation, and hire their own counsel. The next court date is Thursday March 8th – If there are important details to report – I will post them here – Ian

    Comment by Stephen Douglas | February 29, 2012 | Reply

  4. Nice to see the other CEP locals in Catalyst voting to accept a concessionary contact.The PPWC Local was the only one to reject the deal. What ever happened to “Staying the Course”? I recollect being told that there was no way the CEP were going to do that. I guess what changed is that it is now their jobs on the line. Thanks lads.

    Comment by Jeff Harrison | February 14, 2012 | Reply

    • Just sit back and remember Jeffrey what we had;
      – Best quality paper products
      – A demand for our paper
      – Good work-force
      – A threat
      – Big back bones ( to take the weight of the rest them)
      aaahhh those were the days.

      Comment by Rickj | February 16, 2012 | Reply

  5. The CEP has retained the law firm of Rogers, Bobert, Burton to represent our members interests at the Catalyst CCAA hearings. We will be a meeting on Monday, Feb 6 with Don Bobert to review the developments so far. I will post any information that is of importance to our retirees.
    If people are interested they can review all the legal document at the following site:

    For those of you that are awaiting the results of the arbitrations that have been undertaken – We haven’t heard result yet, and when we do get the results, I am not completely clear as to what weight they may carry against a company in CCAA. There were a number of past 630/1123 members who were cut off retirees benefits at the end of last month – unfortunately we are unable to advance their grievance to arbitration at this point. I hope to know and report more about those issues next week.

    Comment by Ian | February 4, 2012 | Reply

    • Hi Ian,

      On a pension related note…….Is it our last 5 years or our Best 5 years that our pension is calculated? My last year was only 2 months long. Jan and Feb of 2009. Do people who were laid off in December of 2008 with fewer years service, achieve a bigger pension ?
      Hi Rob – The BC Pulp & Paper Pension Plan that you are part of was neither a final 5, nor a best 5. It had a mechanism built into it that provided updates to your post 1996 service based on your earnings. There were 3 different methods of calculating the updates, and 1 of these was based on the average pensionable earnings of your last 5 plan years. The updates required trustee approval, and were done at the end of the calendar year. Everyone would have had their contributions updated at the end of 2008, and anyone who had pensionable hours in 2009 would have had the test applied to their contributions at the end of that year. There are no downs, if the calculation showed a lessor amount, you would stay at the same $/peryear service as was calculated the year before. You can go online to http://www.pulpandpaperpension.ca/ and use the calculator there to see what you pension will be.- Ian

      Comment by R. Russell | July 23, 2012 | Reply

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