250 News - Your News, Your Views, Now

October 28, 2017 5:56 am

New Report Touts Forestry’s Impact on Economy

Friday, February 6, 2015 @ 4:02 AM

Prince George, B.C. – While there is a lot of attention being paid to  mineral extraction and the promise of LNG,  it is forestry that  keeps on  fueling the economic engine  of  the province.economic_impact_study_2015

(click on image at right to access full report)

An independent report  by  consulting firm MNP,  concludes “forest products manufacturing industry is still a mainstay of the provincial economy from Victoria to Fort St. John, and remains the economic driver of at least 40 per cent of the province’s communities and the people who live in them.”

The Council of Forest Industries was one of the organizations that supported the commissioning of this report.   COFI President James Gorman  says  they did so because it was time  “We felt  it was  important that people throughout British Columbia, both the government and the public,  understand how important the forest industry continues to be, both to regional economies and the provincial economy.”

If there are any doubts about the economic impact of forestry, the report  puts those doubts to rest with the following highlights:

  • The BC forest industry contributes $12 billion annually to the provincial GDP.
  • 1 in 16 jobs in BC is tied to the forest industry, and 40% of BC’s regional economies are dependent on forestry.
  • BC is the largest producer of softwood lumber in Canada (52%).
  • BC is the largest producer of bioenergy in North America.
  • 23% of all rail traffic in BC is forest products.
  • 8.5% of all cargo shipments through Port Metro Vancouver are forest products.
  • 60% of all BC Hydro’s industrial revenues come from the forest industry. (12% of total revenue from all sources)

“We certainly understand that  it’s important the Province  maintain a diverse economy” says Gorman, “The mining sector is very important, the opportunity to develop an LNG sector is important and we wouldn’t take anything away from that, but forestry has its advantages.  It  has been here for a very long time, it’s a sustainable resource and it’s something  that  can generate significant employment for generations to come.”

But even  Gorman  found a  surprise in the report “One of the facts that  sort of grabbed me is that the forest industry  portion  of the total industrial revenue  collected by BC Hydro  is 60%, this shows you how dependent we are  on power and how power rates are so important to the viability of our industry particularly on the pulp side.”

He says  while BC Hydro  and government  have  provided some relief on rates charged to industry for  power,  discussions on that issue  continue.



Wow didn’t think that much of the industrial power used would be from Forestry.

Actually makes sense, I even thought it could be a little higher. Takes a lot of power to turn a saw, or run motors for conveyor belts that run 24/7. When one looks across the industrial landscape that is on the grid not much is on the scale of forestry.

That said whats missing is what the forest industry sells back to BC Hydro… at a much higher rate I’ll bet then the forest industry buys it back for.

The real story should be that the forest industry is today more diversified than its ever been. A single log produces 2×4’s for homes and construction, wood chips for paper pulp, sawdust and hog for the overseas wood pellet industry, hog and bush grid for co-gen power production and energy heating systems, and various other parts like peelers for plywood and wood fiber for fiber board. Multiply that by millions and millions of logs and that each part is influenced by vastly different economic factors from the energy and housing markets, to construction and environmental concerns… and one gets a pretty stable industry as a whole mostly limited by availability of wood fiber.

That’s why we need to ban Whole Log Export out of this province. In 2013 B.C. shipped 6.7 Million cubic meters of raw logs to China where they will be milled in their own sawmills. B.C.’s reneeable forests should create the most jobs here, in our own Province, not in China.


How can an industry that accounts for roughly 5% of BC’s GDP be considered the economic engine of the province? That’s one heck of a leap IMHO . . .

There are lots of stats out there that show BC’s GDP by sector if people want to research a bit and have a look. True, the numbers can be interpreted different ways and the conclusions are not absolute, but I think people would be surprised to learn which industries in BC are contributing what in this day in age.

I should add, my comments aren’t meant to discount the importance of forestry to rural BC and the communities that rely on it. It’s still a very important industry. I just think we need to open our eyes a bit and realize that the economy is far more diverse than many people seem to think. With that diversity comes opportunity, but only if you acknowledge it.

Comments for this article are closed.