The province may have stepped in to cover severance payments and pensions for displaced and retired AbitibiBowater workers when the mill shut down, but that doesn't mean it's cutting the paper giant any slack.
Industry Minister Shawn Skinner contends the company - now in bankruptcy protection - should still pay the workers.
"We strongly feel that severance is an obligation of the company," said Skinner, who also chairs the ministerial task force responsible for helping the central region with economic diversification since the mill shut down in December.
Skinner said he hasn't had any direct contact with the company, since correspondence is being co-ordinated by a transition team.
"At this time, we are continuing to work closely with the union and other partners to ensure that government's commitment to provide severance for mill workers (unionized and non-unionized), silviculturists and loggers, and certain entitlements under the Work Force Reduction Program and Early Retirement Allowance program takes place as quickly as possible," he said.
AbitibiBowater spokesman Jean-Philippe CotÉ, director of public affairs and government relations, said he has nothing new to report.
"We are still continuing with our restructuring," said CotÉ.
"We are still under bankruptcy protection. We are in the early process, but everything is coming together. When there are new developments we will certainly be willing to share them."
AbitibiBowater is still continuing its action against the government under the North American Free Trade Agreement, in response to the government's expropriation of some of its assets.
It could be years before that dispute is resolved.