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October 27, 2017 9:04 pm

Provincial Funding to Support Forestry Sector

Friday, September 23, 2016 @ 9:41 AM

Prince George, B.C. – The provincial government has formed a new partnership that will address recruitment and skills assessment needs in the forest industry.

It was announced last night at the Prince George Community Dinner hosted by the Council of Forest Industries (COFI).

The Province has teamed up with the B.C. Safety Council (BCFSC) and the Council of Forest Industries (COFI) on two new Forest Workforce projects.

Victoria has invested over $530,000, through the Sector Labour Market Partnership program (LMP), to BCFSC to lead the Forest Sector Workforce Initiative Competency Standards Project and to COFI to lead the Forest Workforce Initiative Recruitment Project.

The goal of the Forest Sector Workforce Initiative Competency Standards Project is to enhance worker safety and allow employers to evaluate worker qualifications for careers in silviculture, integrated harvesting and resource road building.

Work started in July on the project and is projected to be complete by spring 2018.

Funding for the Forest Workforce Initiative Recruitment Project will be used to research existing career information and to identify gaps as well as materials to help the recruitment of new workers. This project is expected to finish in January 2017.

“The forest sector is the backbone of more than 140 rural communities and continues to offer quality, family supporting jobs,” said Forests Minister Steve Thomson. “This funding will help with recruitment of the skilled workforce needed to fill the many positions that are opening up.”

According to the Province, the forest sector employed 65,500 jobs in 2015.


“Funding for the Forest Workforce Initiative Recruitment Project will be used to research existing career information and to “identify gaps” as well as materials to help the recruitment of new workers.”

Ummm… with all these sawmill closures (Houston, Quesnel, & now Tolko in Merritt) why is the province giving money to employers to help recruit new workers? Mill closures means there is a surplus of skilled workers, already trained on the job, who are now unemployed!

WTH, is going on here!!!

    Sawmill workers are not part of the Forestry sector, they are in the manufacturing sector. Forestry is generally considered to be a profession versus a labour position.

    Many years ago the government tried moving a bunch of laid off mill workers over to Forestry. It didn’t work out too well.

      I stand corrected axman, I guess you mean the kind of government employed forestry workers that the BC Lib/Con government laid-off in 2002, with even more laid-off in following years?


      No, what I’m referring to goes even further back then that. The government of the day had a program where laid off mill workers would get trained in field work; silviculture surveys, timber cruising, etc. I’m too lazy to channel my inner gus and look it up.

      Most of the laid off workers in your article (and the number was way less then 700 when all was said and done) ended up doing quite well in the private sector. Funny thing is, now the government is scrambling to fill a bunch of positions. Guess they realized they made a mistake.

No worry this is just another study to be place on the book shelf, while feeding these organizations some extra cash, meaningless.

Perhaps it is for the aging workforce on the Forestry side, not the sawmill side. Big difference in work hours and lifestyle.

So these “forestry worker positions” are NOT government employed forestry positions, of which the BC Lib/Cons laid-off more than 1,000, but forestry workers as in logging related forestry workers, suggested by cougs79?

If this funding is to support forest worker positions on the logging side, with three sawmill closed, and counting, doesn’t less sawmills requiring less logs, which reduces the amount of logging out in the bush?

I am thinking more along Millman55 point of view on this one, no matter how you define “forestry workers”, funding for this recruitment initiative will go to the companies to “help with recruitment of the skilled workforce needed to fill the many positions that are opening up.” Still don’t know where all those positions are that are “opening up”. If it is to replace aging workers, is it not up to the industry / companies to train and replace those workers, and not us, using our tax dollars?

Strange story!

    There’s a whack of jobs out there in the Forestry sector. The issue is finding people willing to do them. Not many people are choosing to live in small town BC where those jobs are.

    You actually have to know how things work to comment properly. There is an AAC which needs to be cut to keep it whether you close sawmills or not – ie you transfer the cut to another mill in your portfolio or you risk giving the AAC back to the government. What happens with Canfor is they buy the sawmill with a annual cut then transfer it to another mill and close the “money losing” mill down creating “super mills”. Silviculture and other forest duties still carry on regardless of mill closures just transfer to another office.

    Some AACs are on a 5 year rotation meaning you can cut 5 years or so worth in the first year and then cut nothing for 4, rinse and repeat – most woodlots work this way as cutting every year is too expensive with equipment transport costs, road building, etc. You still need to do silviculture and other forest related duties during those years you do not cut

    The union sawmill employees training to silviculture worker thing was part of a NDP brain frat – an Island initiative that didn’t translate well to the northern reaches of the province (Silviculture is partially “unionized” in the southern reaches or at least was, been out of that loop for about 5 years)

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