Jaswinder Athwal packs cedar shakes at the Teal Jones mill in Surrey. On Sep. 30, Teal Jones is halting operations across the province in honour of the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation. (Photo: Shawn Hall)

BC lumber company pauses operations to honour National Day for Truth and Reconciliation

Family-owned company encourages employees to take time to attend local events, pay respect

The largest privately owned forest products company on BC’s west coast, Teal Jones, is halting operations across the province on Sep. 30 in honour of the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation.

“We’re encouraging our employees to take the time to honour this solemn day of remembrance, attend a local event and pay respect to the past,” says Jack Gardner, great-grandson of Teal Jones founder Jack Jones and spokesperson for the family-owned company.

Teal Jones has developed productive, working relationships with 106 First Nations in BC, each one reflecting the distinct interests of the individual nation or Indigenous group. Through a combination of royalties, joint ventures, partnerships, employment opportunities and other agreements, Teal Jones works alongside these nations to nurture long term relationships.

“BC has some of the best forest stewardship in the world, and First Nations have been and continue to be deeply involved with that success. Our understanding of reconciliation has really evolved over recent years, and we’re committed to doing more,” Gardner says.

Ashley Davison repairs equipment at the Teal Jones mill in Surrey. Teal Jones employs over 1,000 people across BC. Shawn Hall Photo.

Ashley Davison repairs equipment at the Teal Jones mill in Surrey. Teal Jones employs over 1,000 people across BC. Shawn Hall Photo.

Value-added wood products

Teal Jones has come a long way from its origins as a one-man cedar roofing operation in 1946, and now employs over 1,000 people across British Columbia. Since 2019 Teal Jones has invested and committed to investing $60 million in its primary Surrey mill to strengthen its value-added manufacturing. The innovative site has seven specialized milling operations, each precisely suited to creating a different product.

“It means we can find the best value in every log,” Gardner says. “We’re really flexible at the mill, and that allows us to switch things around to custom-fill specialized orders from around the world.”

Lloyd Screlezki at the Teal Jones small log mill lumber sort in Surrey. On Sep. 30 Teal Jones operations across BC will pause to honour the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation. Shawn Hall Photo.

Lloyd Screlezki at the Teal Jones small log mill lumber sort in Surrey. On Sep. 30 Teal Jones operations across BC will pause to honour the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation. Shawn Hall Photo.

At Teal Jones, not a single raw log is shipped overseas and 100 per cent of every log is used. They are the world’s largest producer of acoustic guitar tops, hand-selected from the highest quality spruce and cedar tonewood. Teal Cedar is the province’s only shake and shingle producer that owns its own timber supply. Logs harvested from the province are milled into custom beams for building projects around the world, with leftover sawdust and wood chips directed to local pulp, paper and biofuel production to eliminate waste.

The Teal Jones family has worked in BC’s forests since Gardner’s great-great-grandfather came to the area in the 1860s to pursue a career in logging. Current leaders recognize that businesses operating on traditional First Nations territories must continue to pursue reconciliation, and Gardner is committed to building stronger relationships.

“We want to be part of the solution,” he says.

Learn more at tealjones.com.

Leif Lymun monitoring the small log mill intake at the Teal Jones mill in Surrey. 100 per cent of every log is used, including sawdust and wood chips. Shawn Hall Photo.

Leif Lymun monitoring the small log mill intake at the Teal Jones mill in Surrey. 100 per cent of every log is used, including sawdust and wood chips. Shawn Hall Photo.

forestryIndigenous reconcilliation