CALGARY _ A decision expected later today could drive up the cost of rebuilding Fort McMurray after a wildfire swept through the northern Alberta city last spring.
Prices for drywall, a building material considered vital to replace 1,800 houses and dozens of other structures destroyed by the fire, have risen dramatically since Canada slapped anti-dumping duties in September on U.S.-made products imported to Western Canada.
Claude Bureau, owner of Genroc Drywall in Fort McMurray, says he is paying wholesale suppliers about $4.60 more per four-by-12-foot sheet of drywall now compared with the price before duties were imposed.
He said he has had to raise his price including installation by $1.25 per square foot, adding about $1,750 to the cost of building a typical 1,400-square-foot house.
Fort McMurray Mayor Melissa Blake is asking the federal government to fund a grant program to help property owners recover increased costs related to the drywall duties.
The Canadian International Trade Tribunal is scheduled to rule today on whether to make permanent its preliminary duties of up to 276 per cent on U.S. drywall imports into Canada for use in the four western provinces and the Yukon and Northwest Territories.