The Main Industry Sector Employer
The Bas-Saint-Laurent’s abundant forests provides employment for 3,100 people in 109 specialized wood processing enterprises. These companies consist of sawmills, particleboard producers as well as door and window manufacturers.
First Stage Processing of the Resource
Of the larger sawmills of the region, PRODUITS FORESTIERS ALLIANCE employs the greatest number of people. A total of 392 people work in four sawmills located in Dégelis, Rivière-Bleue, Price and Lac-des-Aigles. The second largest sawmill is owned by the GROUPE CÉDRICO. which employs 300 individuals in four plants. The most recent of these, Scierie Bois Saumon, was built in 1995 and is equipped with computer equipment which is used to optimize processing. The mill is located in Lac-au-Saumon in the Matapédia Valley.
LMost of the sawmills of the region produce softwood for use in construction and for export to the United States. In addition to the companies mentioned above, the following can be added to the list: LULUMCO located in Luceville (95 employees), SCIERIE AIMÉ GAUDREAU in Pohénégamook, GROUPE LEBEL (plants in Saint-Joseph-de-Kamouraska and Squatec, one of which produces treated wood) and RICHARD PELLETIER & FILS (plants in Squatek and Biencourt). A number of sawmills specialize in hardwood, including FÉLIX HUARD in Luceville, while others process cedar including MULTI-CÈDRES in Esprit-Saint and PABACED GDS, in Saint-Eusèbe.
UNIBOARD CANADA has a subsidiary company in Sayabec called PANVAL. Two hundred and fifty people work in the plant which manufactures particleboard, commonly known as "melamine" and used primarily for the furniture industry.
Door and Window Production
Although there is increasing use of substitute products such as PVC or metal in the production of doors and windows, companies using wood continue to hold a dominant position in the industry in the Bas-Saint-Laurent region. Companies such as ALPHONSE LEPAGE LTÉE, L. MARTIN and FENETECH offer products of high quality.
Industry specialization and diversification have led to the creation of companies that are exploring new markets. GRANULES CAUSAP, located in Causapscal, is one example. This company uses waste from the large sawmills to manufacture wood pellets that are used as fuel for heating.
BOISERIES SAINT-LAURENT, in Mitis, manufactures moldings and hardwood floors. Other companies in the region produce charcoal, wooden handles, wooden pallets, etc. CERCUEILS SAINT-LAURENT, located at Sainte-Juste-du-Lac, manufactures coffins.
POUTRELLES INTERNATIONALES, in Dégelis, manufactures girders from conventional wood and medium-density fiberboard (MDF). Through their research and development efforts, MECKER TECHNOLOGIES in Amqui have developed new wood treatment processes (hardener for aspen, protection against rot). FLORASYNTH in Amqui extracts resin from fir branches and needles to produce food flavourings. The GROUPE GDS carries out 2nd stage processing at its new plant in Dégelis.