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Worker dead following incident at Resolute Forest Products sawmill in Ignace, Ontario

IGNACE, Ont. (From news reports) -- One person is dead following an incident at Resolute Forest Products sawmill in Ignace, Ont., earlier this week.

Remi Lalonde, president and chief executive officer of Resolute Forest Products, sent out an internal memo Wednesday that the company also shared with media, notifying staff of the "tragic incident."

Ontario's Labour Ministry confirmed the incident and is now investigating.

"The death of a worker is the realization of our worst fears. We are currently investigating the cause of the incident and co-operating fully with the provincial Ministry of Labour, which was onsite at the Ignace sawmill yesterday [Tuesday]," Lalonde said in the statement.

"At this point, we cannot speculate on the circumstances that may have led to this tragic incident until the authorities complete their investigation."

The company said it's providing support to the worker's family, as well as to the workers at the site. Resolute said it has contracted additional support and counselling services for workers at the Ignace facility.

Operations have been suspended for the next several days, according to the company. The Labour Ministry has issued two orders to the company as well.

Investigation underway

"We are determined to get to the bottom of what happened as soon as possible, and then take immediate corrective action across all our sites, as appropriate," Lalonde said.

Resolute Forest Products operates over 40 facilities in the United States and Canada, with five of the operations in northwestern Ontario.

According to the company's website, about 40 people work at the sawmill in Ignace. The site reopened in 2021, after it was shut down due to poor market conditions in 2019.

It his memo, Lalonde told Resolute employees that he and the company's executive team would be travelling to Ignace to show the community "support and solidarity."

A spokesperson for the Ministry of Labour Training and Skills Development said officials were notified of the death on March 29.

"It was reported that a worker sadly sustained fatal injuries. Ministry inspectors attended the scene," a statement from the ministry said.

The ministry said two orders were issued to Resolute Forest Products, and an investigation is ongoing.

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