The British Columbia Coastal Forest Industry Human Resource Strategy was released in early June 2014.
Accessible, consistent, quality training is needed for all forestry and logging jobs to ensure the development and maintenance of a safe, competent, professional workforce to support the industry. A human resource plan is needed that includes:
- Industry-appropriate training to support the required numbers of workers in priority occupations;
- Appropriate funding support to help workers through this training at the rate required;
- Collaboration across the industry and government to support a new way of training and to ensure trained workers find job/career placements.
The BC Coast Forestry HR Steering Committee, newly created based on the HR Strategy, is mandated to lead and direct action to enhance industry’s ability to meet its current and future workforce needs through implementation of the proposed strategy and associated recommendations made in the British Columbia Coastal Forest Industry Human Resource Strategy.
For the past five to 10 years, employers and forest industry bodies have increasingly noted the challenge of finding well-trained, competent people to meet industry’s staffing needs. Current and pending shortages were officially compiled for the BC coast in the BC Forest Sector Labour Market & Training Needs Anaylsis, completed October 2013 (Needs Analysis). Consultations with licensees, contractors, education and training providers, government and First Nations confirmed the veracity of the findings.
In sum, the Needs Analysis projects 4,700 job openings between now and 2022 (95% of which are due to pending retirements), about half of the current workforce. Further, 75 per cent of those are in job categories already experiencing high vacancy rates, such as hand fallers (17 per cent), forestry workers including professionals (13 per cent) and logging machine operators (7 per cent) and/or skill shortages. These vacancy rates compare to provincial private sector vacancy rates of about 3 per cent.
The BC Coast Forestry HR Steering Committee will be co-chaired by Don Banasky, TLA President and Otto Schulte, Vice President of Strategic Forestry Initiatives, Interfor. Other members include:
- Mike Cass, Western Forest
- Dave Whiteley, TimberWest
- Mark Leito, Island Timberlands
- Ted Beutler, Aggressive Timber
- Keith Atkinson, First Nation Forestry Council
- TBA, Steelworkers
- TBA, Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations
- TBA, Finning Canada
- Rick Jeffery, Coast Forest Products Association (ex-officio)
- Executive Director, The Truck Loggers Association (ex-officio)
PDF Document: British Columbia Coastal Forest Industry Human Resource Strategy
PDF Document: BC Forest Sector Labour Market & Training Needs Anaylsis