CertainTeed to close its doors in August – McAdam’s largest employer ceases operation, taking 59 jobs with it

McAdam – The Village of McAdam was informed Thursday, July 16 CertainTeed Canada, Inc., McAdam’s largest employer, will be closing its doors in August, with permanent closure to be official by February, 2021. The closure came as a surprise to Mayor Ken Stannix and the village council, and they are in the process of trying to arrange a meeting with Premier Higgs and his staff to see where they can go from here. And the closure won’t only impact residents in McAdam, as employees hail from all over southern New Brunswick.

“It’ll have a pretty significant impact on the Village,” said Stannix. “Certainly, it’s been pretty devastating news to us this morning when we received that from CertainTeed. The details on that is they’re going to cease production on the 28th of August, and then the plant will be permanently closed by 28 February 2021.

“That’s going to directly impact 59 employees at the CertainTeed plant. Roughly two thirds of the employees affected reside in McAdam, while the remaining third reside in Fredericton, Harvey, and St. Stephen. So, it’s not just McAdam. It’s southwest New Brunswick that’s adversely affected.”

Director of Branding and Communications for CertainTeed, Dina Silver Pokedoff said in an email that following an “extensive review” of the company, the difficult decision to close the gypsum wallboard manufacturing plant in McAdam was made. She said CertainTeed have had to re-evaluate their plant network, and make changes to will ensure future success of the company. This includes a continued commitment to the Atlantic Region.

In her email, Silver Pokedoff said the company is not going to leave employees out in the cold, and CertainTeed will do what it can to assist with career counseling and other employment opportunities within the company.

“We recognize the impact the plant closure will have on employees, their families and the McAdam community. We’re committed to working closely with all employees to provide support and many resources such as career counseling and identifying job opportunities at other CertainTeed and Saint-Gobain plants, as well as those external to the company,” said Silver Pokedoff.

Stannix said council reached out to the company, and received a quick response explaining this closure is based primarily on poor market conditions. The plant is currently working at 22 to 25 percent of its capacity, and the company is unable to continue operations based on those numbers. The village council is reaching out to MLA’s and Premier Higgs for advice on this situation.

“It’s pretty rugged news I’ll tell you for this community,” said Stannix. “The company’s going to be working closely with all employees to assist with job counselling and job opportunities at other CertainTeed plants. We’ll try and get a meeting with Premier Higgs and his staff to see where we go from here.”

A statement on Facebook, council called the news “devastating for the community, but even more so for the 59 employees at the CertainTeed plant”, as well as employees of service companies that also rely on the plant for work.

“Roughly two thirds of employees affected reside in McAdam while the remaining third reside in Fredericton, Harvey, and St. Stephen,” the statement read. “Our hearts go out to all of you and your families during this time of uncertainty. We have notified government officials and will be requesting a meeting with Premier Higgs and his staff to discuss the CertainTeed closure and together develop a strategy going forward to minimize negative impacts of this closure on the members of our community affected directly and the village as a whole. We are all in this together and together we will get through this.”

On Friday, July 17, Stannix and council met with provincial government representatives, including Trevor Holder, minister of post secondary education, training, and labour; Andrea Anderson-Mason, minister of justice, attorney general and minister responsible for the Regional Development Corporation; Dan Mills, deputy minister of labour; Sadie Perron, chief executive officer deputy minister economic development and small business; Robert Bowman, CertainTeed plant manager; and many other government representatives.

The purpose of the meeting was held to determine the best ways to assist and support the employees who will be laid off. A transition team, consisting of representatives from the provincial and federal governments, CertainTeed, business, union, and financial planning personnel is being created to provide information on programs from the company, as well as government programs, training, and job opportunities. The secondary purpose of the meeting was to discuss the future economic development of the Village of McAdam. A follow-up meeting with Opportunities New Brunswick personnel to come up with a development strategy was also planned.

Both meetings have been scheduled for Friday, July 24, although the location and time are yet to be determined. Anyone who is interested in attending should contact the village office this week for further information.

sarigreen@stcroixcourier.ca