THE CANADIAN PRESS — A confidential, toll-free line is now open to help anyone in need of emotional support as a result of the pending closure of the Northern Pulp mill. The Nova Scotia government is partnering with Morneau Shepell to deliver the service.

People can call the free support line at 1-866-885-6540. It is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

“The impact of this situation reaches beyond those directly employed in the forestry sector and it’s vitally important that support is available to all those who need it,” said Premier Stephen McNeil. “This dedicated line is one place people can turn to for support.”

The province says that those who call the line will receive professional counselling support and/or a referral to resources in their community.

“Through our partnership with the Province of Nova Scotia, we are offering free support to all individuals affected by the announced closure,” said Stephen Liptrap, president and CEO fo Morneau Shepell. “The skilled individuals working in our Canadian Care Access Centres have extensive experience in responding to community situations such as this and fully appreciate the importance of working with community organizations and resources to bring the best solutions to those impacted during this difficult time.”

In addition to the emotional support line, on Dec. 24, a toll-free line (1-888-315-0110) opened for individuals with immediate needs and questions. To date, more than 200 calls have been answered. This line will remain open to continue to provide information tailored to individual needs including emergency assistance funding, and employment and training opportunities.

Robin Wilber cut from forestry transition team

Robin Wilber, the president of Elmsdale Lumber, has been cut from the Nova Scotia government’s forestry transition team just days after he was appointed.

Speaking on the Rick Howe show Jan. 7, Wilber said he was fired for wanting to talk about the possibility of a hot idle for Northern Pulp.

“Last night I got a call and they fired me,” Wilber told Howe.

“They don’t want to have any discussions about Northern Pulp.”

Jan. 3, Wilber told Saltwire that he believed the province should work with Northern Pulp to allow them to hot idle the plant. This would require running water through the plant’s boilers to keep the facility in working order.

The province confirmed Wilber’s removal with an announcement early afternoon, Jan. 7.

“The forestry transition team was formed to collaborate on ways to support the forestry sector and the workers and businesses connected to the industry. This is not a table to discuss the future of Northern Pulp. That is the company’s issue,” stated Kelliann Dean, deputy minister of Intergovernmental Affairs and Trade, and forestry transition team lead in a release.

“Robin Wilber is focused on options for Northern Pulp,” she wrote. “That is not part of the transition team’s mandate therefore he is no longer part of the transition team.”

Dean said that Wilber is still welcome to share ideas with the transition team members on support for businesses and workers and moving the industry forward.