04/26/2017 12:18 EDT | Updated 04/26/2017 13:02 EDT

Small, medium sized softwood companies hit hardest by U.S. penalties

OTTAWA — Some softwood lumber companies could begin issuing layoff notices as early as next week as the fallout from the new import tariffs slapped onto Canadian softwood by the U.S. government start kicking in.

Conservative MP Todd Doherty says several small and medium-sized businesses are already considering what might have to be done as early as next Monday.

The U.S. Department of Commerce is applying import tariffs of between three and 24 per cent on softwood lumber imports from Canada, with the vast majority of Canada's small and medium-sized softwood operations paying 19.88 per cent.

That group also has to pay the duties retroactively on all shipments to the U.S. since Feb. 1, while Canada's largest companies are for some reason exempt from that retroactive payment.

Bill Kordyban's company, Carrier Lumber, will have to spend millions of dollars next week on what he calls an "unfair" retroactive tariff that will put Canada's small and medium-sized mills at a significant competitive disadvantage.

Kordyban says the tariffs were expected, but the fact the biggest players don't have to pay them retroactively is the hardest pill to swallow.