PRINCE GEORGE, BRITISH COLUMBIA - Lakeland Mills Ltd. is disappointed with WorkSafeBC's intention to pursue offences under the Workers' Compensation Act following the explosion and fire that destroyed the company's sawmill on April 23, 2012.

"It is critical for Lakeland and the industry to do everything we can to ensure that this never happens at another mill," said Greg Stewart, president of Sinclar Group Forest Products, of which Lakeland Mills is a division. "Lakeland has been cooperating with WorkSafeBC and other regulatory bodies to find out the cause. We are working with our partners in the industry as well. We anticipated WorkSafeBC would release its report into the cause, so it is disappointing to learn that that information is being withheld."

Determining the cause of an accident of this scope is a massive and complex forensic exercise. The company has also been doing its own investigation into the incident, which is not yet complete.

As to the decision to seek fines under the offence provisions of the Worker's Compensation Act, Lakeland was surprised to learn about this action today, just as the public is receiving the information.

"We want to make sure our response is thoughtful and responsible," said Stewart. "There are defences under the Act that are available to us, and we will be examining them closely, of course, if necessary. However, since the information on which WorkSafe's decision today has been based has not been released to Lakeland, it would be premature to comment on information we don't have."

Lakeland will make no further comments at this time.

Source: Lakeland Mills, Division of Sinclair Group Forest Products

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