Region Archives: Canada

Special Feature

Celebrating 20 Years of Training Excellence

BC Forest Safety Council
May 24, 2024
Category: Special Feature
Region: Canada, Canada West

This year marks the 20th anniversary of the BC Forest Safety Council (BCFSC), the health and safety association for the forest industry in BC. BCFSC has been working with industry over these past two decades to help create a skilled and safe workforce, where safety is integrated into every activity and operational process. There are now approximately 60 different training courses for forestry workers including faller training, supervisor training, incident investigation, resource road driver training and many other general forest industry courses. Over the last 20 years, 40,000 participants have engaged in training opportunities to BC forestry workers. BCFSC’s training programs have been developed with industry to support our collective efforts in creating awareness and improving the skills and knowledge of forestry workers from tree planters, hand-fallers, operators in mechanized harvesting, forest supervisors, wood products manufacturing workers.  These efforts have contributed significantly to the reduction of injuries and fatalities.

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BCFSC Forest Incident Reporting System aka BCFSC FIRS App

BC Forest Safety Council
May 24, 2024
Category: Special Feature
Region: Canada, Canada West

The BCFSC FIRS App is a FREE forms management mobile application designed to reduce the amount of safety-related paperwork and administrative work required in the field. The app can be used with both iOS or Android mobile devices and assists SAFE Certified companies in streamlining and consequently reducing the amount of safety-related paperwork and administrative work required in the field. The online forms portal supports record keeping requirements for small BC forestry employers and contractors in building and maintaining SAFE Company Certification. …The FIRS App also has a desktop dashboard to access information uploaded and saved from mobile devices and offers the option to download records in PDF format. The BCFSC FIRS App is available through the App store for Android and iOS devices. Just go to the App store on your device and search for BCFSC FIRS to download the FREE App.

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Enhancing Forest Industry Safety: A Spotlight on BCFSC Forestry Resources

BC Forest Safety Council
May 24, 2024
Category: Special Feature
Region: Canada West

The British Columbia Forest Safety Council (BCFSC) works closely with industry partners, employers, workers, and regulators to develop comprehensive safety programs, training and resources specifically tailored to address the unique needs and challenges faced by BC forestry workers. Accessing BCFSC resources, tools and downloadable materials from the BCFSC website can help enhance the skills and knowledge required to perform a job safely as well as foster a positive and proactive workplace safety culture.

  • Resources for All Roles in the Forest Industry: Workers, supervisors, employers and auditors can all find safety-related resources designed to meet specific job requirements.
  • Skill Enhancement and Safety Culture: BCFSC offers training courses, webinars, videos and tools to support safe work best practices for silviculture, harvesting and wood products manufacturing.
  • Research and Regulations: BCFSC has an extensive library of research reports and industry statistics to measure industry progress. Updates and changes OHS Regulations are closely monitored to ensure information is available to industry.

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Respect, Collaboration & Innovation Key to Safety in the Pellet Sector

By Fahimeh Yazdan Panah, Director of Research and Technical Development
Wood Pellet Association of Canada
May 21, 2024
Category: Special Feature
Region: Canada, Canada West

In 2022, the Wood Pellet Association of Canada (WPAC) and its members released a 10-point commitment to building a better world; chief among them was treating forest sector workers fairly, with the highest priority placed on their health and safety. We believe that safety and respect go hand-in-hand. Every day, WPAC members and their employees work tirelessly to ensure leading safety practices are implemented and embraced. We know we will be measured by our collective efforts as an industry. Our reputation and the trust of regulators, the general public and the families of our employees depend on this. …The BC Forest Safety Council’s ongoing participation in and support of our safety initiatives have been integral to WPAC’s success. It’s a positive and productive relationship that underpins our sector’s global reputation on safety. WPAC’s Safety Committee has anchored its vision in a yearly work plan that holds the association accountable to searching out new technologies and research to support a safer culture, communicating best practices and safety news, and collaborating across the country on all safety matters.

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Are you at risk of hearing loss? Everyday noise may be impacting your hearing more than you realize.

By HearingLife
Interior Logging Association
May 23, 2024
Category: Special Feature
Region: Canada, Canada West

If you don’t take steps to protect your hearing, you’ll lose it. And there’s no getting it back. It’s important to think about what you can do to protect your ears and preserve your hearing – and to find out more about the signs of hearing loss to help determine if you or someone you love is experiencing it. …The first step in protecting your hearing is knowing what the damage threshold actually is. …As a good rule of thumb, if you have to shout to be heard, the noise around you is too loud and you’re risking your hearing health. Turn down the volume (and never turn the volume up past 60% when you’re using earphones or earbuds), take frequent breaks from noisy environments to give your ears a rest, and use hearing protection like earplugs or hearing protection earmuffs. Note that it’s important to insert foam earplugs correctly to ensure a proper seal.

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Buckle Up because it’s all about: Safety Audits

By Jordan Tesluk
Western Forestry Contractors’ Association
May 23, 2024
Category: Special Feature
Region: Canada, Canada West

Once a year, companies with a BC SAFE Companies certification or an Alberta Certificate of Recognition from the PIR I program must complete an audit….There are different kinds of safety audits, including internal audits, in which a company employee reviews the health and safety company program, and external audits, in which an outside auditor visits the company. Larger companies (including those over 20 employees in BC) must complete an external audit at least once every three years. Some large companies complete external audits every year. …Audit reports are submitted to the safety association (e.g. BC Forest Safety Council or Alberta Forest Products Association)… While audit reports are not used for conducting enforcement activities and do not include workers’ personal information, they are not subject to legal privilege. They could be reviewed in the future (such as after a serious incident) to determine if certain problems had been identified in the past and if the employer knew or should have known about the problem.

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WorkSafeBC Forestry Planned Inspectional Initiative

BC Forest Safety Council
May 22, 2024
Category: Special Feature
Region: Canada, Canada West

WorkSafeBC’s Planned Inspection Initiatives for Forestry Operations is a comprehensive prevention initiative that addresses workplace safety in BC forestry operations. The intent is to execute impactful WorkSafeBC inspections that focus on the risks that impact the serious injury rate and time-loss claims rate with a goal to: Raise awareness and promote adherence to safe work practices; and Reduce the serious injury and time-loss claims rates in forestry operations with the greatest risk exposure. These risks are linked to high-risk work activities… For a full view of the Forestry Planned Inspection Initiative and to help you better understand and address some of the health and safety issues for forestry workers, visit https://www.worksafebc.com/en/about-us/what-we-do/worksafebc-planned-inspectional-initiatives/forestry

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Business & Politics

No progress on rail strike negotiations, say union, companies

By Geralyn Wichers
The Canadian Cattlemen
May 23, 2024
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada

No progress has been made in negotiations with Canadian Pacific Kansas City (CPKC) railway the union representing workers said yesterday. Earlier this month, rail workers from Canadian National and CPKC voted overwhelmingly to strike as soon as May 22. The federal government asked the Canadian Industrial Relations Board (CIRB) to look at whether the strike would have safety implications. The Teamsters said it met with the company and federal mediators on May 17. The groups parted ways and no more meetings have been scheduled. “Ultimately, no progress has been made on the Union’s demands this week. The Company clearly indicated its preference for arbitration over negotiation, suggesting it hopes for government intervention to stop collective bargaining.” CPKC said it has “done everything it can.” This includes two different offers to the union. It said TCRC refused an offer to resolve the dispute via binding arbitration.

Related coverage in Saltwire: CPKC says possible Canada rail strike unlikely before mid-July

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BC government diversifying economy amid pulpmill, sawmill shutdowns

By Tommy Osborne
CKPG Today
May 23, 2024
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

PRINCE GEORGE – Following a string of pulpmill and sawmill closures in Northern B.C that has impacted communities like Chetwynd, Houston B.C., Prince George, and more, the B.C. Government announced $13 million of funding for manufacturing businesses in north B.C. While the government says forestry will always be heavily supported, Minister Brenda Bailey says diversifying the economy is a big focus. …Prolenc Manufacturing, a metal manufacturing company in Prince George, was one of many funding recipients. …While Prolenc isn’t directly a forestry company, it has strong ties to the forestry industry, estimating 1/3 of its operations provide parts for forestry equipment. …While diversifying the economy is undoubtedly a focus for the provincial government, Minister Bailey pointed out the government continues to heavily invest and fund the forestry industry, saying half of all manufacturing funds are towards the forestry industry.

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BC government ‘very concerned, troubled’ by the impact of mill closures, minister says

KelownaNow
May 22, 2024
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

BC’s Minister of Forests says he was surprised by Canfor’s recent decision to curtail operations in three communities in Northern BC. …At the time, the company said there wasn’t enough fibre for the Northwood Pulp Mill in Prince George but it also blamed policy and regulation changes. However, Bruce Ralston, minister of forests, told NowMedia that was not the case. …“What they wanted (were) some very strong assurances, which we gave them,” Ralston said. ”You can’t guarantee something 100%, but I would say it was 99% guaranteed fibre for the long term for that mill. So, for them to say now that there was no fibre availability, that’s not the message that they received and that’s not the message they acted upon when they went forward with the decision to reinvest.” …NowMedia asked if there was an opportunity to reopen discussion. …“I think it’s unlikely that those decisions would be reversed immediately,” Ralston said.

Related coverage in CKPGToday: ‘A bright future’: Minister of Forests says about industry after recent closures, curtailments

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Dr. Mark Martinez Honored with Two TAPPI Technical Awards

University of BC Bioproducts Institute
May 21, 2024
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

Dr. Mark Martinez has been honored with two prestigious TAPPI Division awards. During the annual Awards Ceremony at TAPPICon in Cleveland, Ohio. Dr. Martinez received the Paper & Board Division’s Technical Award & Harris O. Ware Prize, and the Research and Development Division’s Technical Award and William H. Aiken Prize. TAPPI’s Division Technical awards are presented in recognition of outstanding accomplishments or contributions which have advanced the industry’s science and/or technology in each Division’s respective field through technical reports, publications, Standards, TIPs, or in related or comparable efforts including teaching, writing or editing textbooks. …Dr. Martinez’s achievements reflect his outstanding contribution to the field, and his work continues to inspire peers and students alike. Congratulations!

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Nova Scotia Reaches Settlement with Paper Excellence, Sets New Path Forward

By Premiers Office
The Government of Nova Scotia
May 23, 2024
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada East

Tim Houston

NOVA SCOTIA — The Province’s negotiations through a court-ordered mediation process have resulted in a settlement agreement with Paper Excellence Group, owner of the Northern Pulp mill in Pictou County. …“We’ve come to a resolution that is fair to all sides – settling legal and financial issues, protecting pensioners and setting a new path forward,” said Premier Tim Houston. “The company believes there could be a future for them in Nova Scotia.” The agreement approval would see Paper Excellence move forward with an independent feasibility study of the potential for a new kraft pulp mill in Queens County. The company would withdraw its proposal to upgrade the mill in Abercrombie, Pictou County. …A new mill would respond to observations from the 2018 report on forestry practices by Prof. William Lahey. If a new mill project moves ahead, the company will determine the next steps for the Pictou County mill site.

Related coverage:

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Unifor supports the prioritization of workers’ pensions in Northern Pulp agreement

UNIFOR
Cision Newswire
May 23, 2024
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada East

HALIFAX, Nova Scotia — Unifor welcomes news that fully funding the workers’ pension plan is part of the agreement reached between the Province of Nova Scotia and Paper Excellence, the parent company of the Northern Pulp mill in Pictou, N.S. “Unifor members of Local 440 at Northern Pulp have endured uncertainty over their future and their retirement funds for years now, and it’s imperative both parties to the agreement offer the basic respect to retirees and former employees by fully funding the pension plan,” said Unifor Atlantic Regional Director Jennifer Murray. “Hearing Premier Houston speak of the workers’ pension funding being personally important to him gives us confidence the pension will be a priority.” The union will watch closely as the company conducts its feasibility study on the relocation of the pulp mill to another location in Nova Scotia.

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Northern Pulp ponders a move to Queens County, say sources

By Michael Gorman
CBC News
May 22, 2024
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada East

NOVA SCOTIA — The company that owns the Northern Pulp mill is casting its gaze on Nova Scotia’s South Shore as it contemplates its future in the province, multiple sources tell CBC News. An announcement is expected as soon as Thursday that Paper Excellence will explore the possibility of setting up a mill in Queens County, where famed industrialist Izaak Walton Killam founded the Mersey Paper Company in 1929. It operated until 2012. Mayor Darlene Norman of the Region of Queens Municipality… said council has not had any discussions about the potential of a mill coming to the area, but she declined to say if municipal staff have been in contact with officials connected to Northern Pulp. A spokesperson for Paper Excellence did not immediately respond to a request for comment. The Northern Pulp mill ceased operations in Abercrombie Point in January 2020 after failing to secure approval to build a new effluent treatment facility.

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Paper Excellence Canada and the province of Nova Scotia reach a settlement

Paper Excellence Canada
May 23, 2024
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, US East

HALIFAX, Nova Scotia — Paper Excellence Canada announced that it has reached a settlement with the Province of Nova Scotia that acknowledges plans to reopen Northern Pulp in Pictou will not proceed and provides for a review process… to determine whether a new, modern mill in Nova Scotia is viable. The agreement also provides for the settlement of outstanding litigation and loans between the two parties and fully addresses the pensions of former mill employees. The settlement agreement is subject to approval by the Supreme Court of BC. Central to the settlement agreement is the creation by the Northern Pulp group and the Province of Nova Scotia of a review process that will explore the feasibility of a new mill in Liverpool, Nova Scotia. …Other highlights include: the Pictou site to be maintained for potential logistics operations; …former employee pensions will be fully funded; …and withdrawal of litigation and settlement of debts.

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Finance & Economics

Tolko v. British Columbia – Clarifying “non-qualifying activity” under the Provincial Sales Tax Exemption Regulation

By Adrian Zee, Thorsteinssons LLP
Lexology
May 21, 2024
Category: Finance & Economics
Region: Canada, Canada West

Adrian Zee

The BC Supreme Court recently clarified the definition of “non-qualifying activity” under subsection 90(1) of the Provincial Sales Tax Exemption and Refund Regulation (the “PSTERR”). The issue was whether pipes used to move steam at Tolko’s place of business qualified for an exemption from Provincial Sales Tax. …At the Site, Tolko produced electricity and wood products for sale, as well as steam, compressed air, and electricity for its own use. …Tolko argued that the steam production was part of a “fully integrated ‘continuous loop’ of manufacturing activities which, combined together, power the processing facilities and produce its wood products and electricity for sale.” The Court agreed and held that the phrase “not a non-qualifying activity” does not require the “qualifying activity” to be part of the steam production itself, but instead required reference to the larger process. …The decision stands as a rebuke of the narrow approach taken in administering PSTERR exemptions.

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Wood, Paper & Green Building

The International Society of Furniture Designers launches corporate partner program with Canadian Wood

By Vicky Jarrett
Furniture Today
May 23, 2024
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: Canada, International

The International Society of Furniture Designers has launched its corporate partner program, with Canadian Wood as its first partner. “Our corporate partner program recognizes preferred industry suppliers who support ISFD’s mission to promote great home furnishings design,” said David Blair, executive director of ISFD. “Canadian Wood promotes the use of world class, environmentally friendly forest products from British Columbia, Canada. With specialists located in Vancouver, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam and India, it is a great resource for furniture designers and manufacturers seeking information and support for using sustainable wood products from B.C. forests. “We plan to share with our members the benefits of using beautiful, resilient and versatile Western hemlock and Douglas fir.” …Jim Messer, vice president of international marketing at Forestry Innovation Investment, added, “We are looking forward to introducing our sustainably sourced Canadian wood species from British Columbia to the ISFD furniture designers and manufacturers.”

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Housing Industry Titans Gather To Tackle Affordable Housing

By Matrix Cares
Cision Newswire
May 22, 2024
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: Canada, Canada East

TORONTO – Thousands will gather in Scarborough starting Friday May 24th for the 3 day Affordable Housing Summit, Supply Chain Expo and Skilled Trades Career Fair, at The University of Toronto, Ontario May 24th – 26th, 2024. The summit will showcase innovations in areas such as mass timber, advanced building materials, AI, and modular construction. Key community stakeholders include Home Depot, The United Way, CMHC, Rescon, EllisDon Community Builders, the Altus Group, HousingNowTO, Centennial College, City of Toronto, Toronto Transit Commission, and the University of Toronto – EaRTH District and more will convene in an effort to demystify Canada’s housing challenges and foster innovative solutions.

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Forestry

Two New Videos Highlight First Nations-led Forestry Project to Rehabilitate Wildfire Impacted Land

Central Chilcotin Rehabilitation Ltd.
May 15, 2024
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

Pressy Lake, B.C. – Central Chilcotin Rehabilitation Ltd. (CCR), a joint venture company owned by the Tŝideldel First Nation and the Tl’etinqox Government, is proud to announce the release of two new videos highlighting the ongoing efforts and successes of a pilot project to rehabilitate areas severely affected by the 2017 Elephant Hill wildfire. In the wake of significant challenges facing the British Columbia forestry sector, including mill closures and timber supply shortages, CCR has taken a proactive approach to create new opportunities within the industry. The videos “Trying Something New” and “What We Learned” explore these innovative approaches to manage and utilize damaged and burnt trees to create a higher value product like biomass and wood chips at their Pressy Lake project, as well as rehabilitate large areas of land.

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Lil’wat Nation leading way in reducing wildfire risk this summer

By Rosin Cullen
Victoria Times Colonist
May 23, 2024
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

The Lil’wat Nation is undertaking a proactive wildfire risk reduction initiative to ensure the safety of the entire community this summer. The Forest Fuels Management Project is being led by Lil’wat Forestry Ventures Ltd (LFV). The project is being conducted in a residential area in Mount Currie. Trees will be thinned in 50-acres of forest, residents can suggest work they think should be done within 30 to 50 metres of their homes. General manager of LFV, Klay Tindall, emphasized the importance of selective thinning work to create more resilient forests. “The selective thinning of the forest will not only mitigate the risk of wildfires to the local homes and properties but will also enhance residents’ visibility to observe wildlife such as wolves, bears and cougars in the area to better ensure their family’s safety,” said Tindall. …One of the challenges the project faces is a lack of provincial or federal funding.

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Webinar: Urban Tree Trouble — Insights from Stanley Park

UBC Faculty of Forestry
May 24, 2024
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

ZOOM: June 25, 2024 | 12-1 PM. Vancouver’s iconic Stanley Park recently captured headlines following plans to remove looper moth-killed trees from the forest. Water scarcity and extreme heat are adding layers of complexity to urban landscape management. What can urban foresters tell us about this valuable community resource, along with present and emerging best practices in the field? What role do residents play in decisions surrounding living infrastructure in their neighbourhoods? Dr. Richard Hamelin will moderate a panel discussion with guests Bruce Blackwell (Principal of Blackwell & Associates Ltd.) and Joe McLeod (Urban Forestry Manager for the City of Vancouver). Join us for an engaging expert panel discussion to answer these questions and more, including audience-generated queries.

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Albertans asked to remain diligent; more than 75% of wildfires determined as human-caused

By Cindy Tran
The Edmonton Journal
May 23, 2024
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

Todd Loewen

ALBERTA — Recent rain in many areas of the province has led to a significant decline in active wildfires, but experts are warning Albertans to remain diligent with more than three-quarters of this year’s wildfires determined as human-caused. Forestry and Parks Minister Todd Loewen said preparation from Alberta Wildfire and municipal firefighters have allowed the province to take advantage of favourable weather conditions. …At this time last year, Alberta had over 520,000 hectares of forest burned. Whereas so far in 2024 we have just under 29,000 hectares burned,” Loewen said. There are currently 30 wildfires burning in the forest protection area. Two-thirds are carry over wildfires from the 2023 season, three are classified as being held and the rest are under control. So far this year the province has responded to 358 wildfires, of them 346 have been extinguished. This year 77% of wildfires have been determined to be human-caused.

Additional coverage on Alberta wildfires in CBC News: Weather helping damp down Alberta wildfires but careless behaviour still a worry

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B.C. misses the mark with old growth update, critics claim

By Rochelle Baker
The National Observer
May 24, 2024
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

The B.C. government continues to move at a glacial pace to meet an overdue promise to transform the logging industry and protect endangered old growth forests and ecosystems, say B.C. conservation groups. On Monday, the province issued its progress report on transforming forestry practices to preserve ancient forests. The plan is a hollow effort that fails to include any new steps, specific details, or deadlines urgently needed to preserve what little old growth remains, said Jens Wieting, Sierra Club BC’s advisor. …In the old growth update, the province highlighted a $1.1-billion three-way agreement with Indigenous leaders, and Ottawa to protect 30% of B.C.’s land and oceans by 2030. …Ralston’s office did not provide comment or respond to questions by Canada’s National Observer about what the plan is for the unprotected priority deferral areas moving forward and what level of protection, if any, they can expect.

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Environmentalists say BC should focus on ‘paradigm shift’ when it comes to old-growth

By Curtis Blandy
Victoria Buzz
May 23, 2024
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

This week, the BC government provided an update on their actions to better protect old-growth forests within the province, however some environmental activists say their actions have fallen short.  In 2020, an independent review of BC’s old forests was conducted by an independent panel titled, A New Future for Old Forests, who offered the Province 14 official recommendations. …Sierra Club BC said that this latest update did not contain the “critical actions needed to implement a paradigm shift in forest stewardship in the near future”, and they are critical of the Province delaying the finalization of their Ecosystem Health (BEH) Framework from 2024 to 2025. Sierra Club BC says that the province needs better outlined ecosystem-based targets to protect old-growth and easy-to-access funding for First Nations who have lost revenue to this endeavour. … Stand.earth, the Ancient Forest Alliance and the Endangered Ecosystems Alliance have all spoken out regarding this old-growth update.

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Province ‘standing up an army’ for wildfire fight equipped with new tech, additional aircraft

By Michael Potestio
Castanet
May 23, 2024
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

B.C. Premier David Eby is preparing for war ahead of this year’s wildfire season, with more crews, tech and aircraft than ever before. “Functionally, at the provincial level, we’re standing up an army between equipment and the frontline wildfire staff fighting those fires,” Eby said. …He said the province is spending “nine times more than the previous governments” on fire preparation work across B.C. He also noted the BC Wildfire Service is now operational year-long, and more money is being spent on firefighting equipment. “This is not a cheap enterprise, but safety for our communities when it comes to wildfire is non negotiable,” Eby said. BCWS provincial wildfire information officer Erika Berg noted myriad initiatives the province has undertaken to be better prepared for wildfires this year, including using AI to predict wildfires, extending the hiring window for firefighters and spending millions of dollars in more equipment.

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Environmental group welcomes old growth protection, hopes for more action

By Ryley McCormack
My East Kootenay Now
May 22, 2024
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

Wildsight, a local environmental activist group, said B.C.’s newly unveiled Old Growth Action Plan is a welcomed change, but urgent action is still needed. The Provincial Government outlined the next steps toward better forest care and job security for B.C.’s forest sector. This will include the following: establishing the $1-billion Tripartite Framework Agreement on Nature Conservation (the Nature Agreement); Ensuring forestry communities get more local jobs, including boosts to made-in-B.C. wood manufacturing; and Improvements to mapping, data and knowledge sharing. “Additionally, through Forest Landscape Plans (FLPs) the Province is ensuring local values drive decisions on the landbase, including those related to forest resilience, wildfire prevention, economic development and community well-being,” said B.C. officials. They note that nine FLPs are in development with more to come later. …Wildsight feels B.C.’s current logging regulations, particularly regarding old-growth, are unsustainable and will ultimately lead to further harm to the environment and humans.

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Land One first-year program recognized for innovation

UBC Faculty of Forestry
May 22, 2024
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

Land One, a first-year cohort program at UBC, has won the D2L (Desire 2 Learn) Innovation Award in Teaching and Learning in recognition of its transformative approach to student-centred learning. The program launched in 2018 supported by the Faculties of Land and Food Systems and Forestry offers integrated first-year courses in a supportive environment as students adjust to university academics, as well as several opportunities for personal development, such as learning about different worldviews and participating in field trips. “By fostering a holistic understanding and providing practical skills, Land One empowers students to contribute meaningfully to sustainable solutions,” says Dr. Fernanda Tomaselli, program coordinator in the Department of Forest Resources Management. Central to Land One is inclusive pedagogy and decolonizing education, integrating diverse ways of knowing such as Indigenous perspectives and worldviews. Students speak of the transformative impact of this approach, with many expressing a newfound interest and appreciation for Indigenous knowledge.

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B.C. village declares, then rescinds, wildfire state of emergency

By Chad Pawson
CBC News
May 22, 2024
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

Ed Wood

Harrison Hot Springs declared a local state of emergency over the threat of wildfire on Tuesday, and rescinded it the following day. Mayor Ed Wood issued a notice about the measure on Tuesday, saying it was needed “due to the significant threat of an interface fire and imminent threat to the loss of life and property.” The order was rescinded on Wednesday following a request from B.C.’s Ministry of Emergency Management. Wood had told CBC News on Wednesday that the nearest current wildfire was around 18 kilometres away. …A statement from the Emergency Management Ministry on Wednesday said that officials were in direct contact with the village to determine the reasons for the emergency declaration, and “to ensure a shared understanding of the appropriate use of such declarations.” …Council in Harrison Hot Springs has been wracked by infighting and disagreement since Wood was elected in 2022, hampering its ability to function and govern the village.

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Parks Canada to spend $12M on Sidney Island deer kill, restoration, documents show

By Darron Kloster
Victoria Times Colonist
May 23, 2024
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

Carson Binda

Parks Canada will spend about $12 million on a plan to kill invasive deer and restore native vegetation on Sidney Island (beside the Saanich Peninsula in BC), according to documents obtained by the Canadian Taxpayers Federation. That’s more than double the cost that has been widely reported for the controversial project on the small Gulf Island. “It’s appalling that Parks Canada blew $12 million on a project that local hunters have been doing for free,” the federation’s B.C. director, Carson Binda, said on Wednesday at a news conference in front of the B.C. legislature. …Parks Canada’s forecast spending of $11.988 million on the restoration of Sidney Island is spread over eight years, according to its Fur to Forest budget… Including $2.8 million in salaries and benefits to Parks Canada staff, $1.5 million in studies, $800,000 for Indigenous participation, $53,000 for forest restoration services and plants and trees — and $4.1 million in deer-eradication services. 

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Wilderness Committee says BC NDP Plan for Old Growth Nothing New

By Mike Patterson
My Cowichan Valley Now
May 22, 2024
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

The Wilderness Committee says the province’s latest plan for old-growth forests is underwhelming and lacking in any new interim measures to protect the most endangered old-growth forests. The environmental group says the new plan, called From Review to Action, continues to focus on previously announced measures and is “classic 1990’s-style ‘talk-and-log.” It says the government continues talking about how to implement commitments on old growth forests while withholding adequate protections for the most threatened stands. …The group also says the document delays the release of the final Biodiversity and Ecosystem Health Framework, a policy recommended in the old growth review and meant to prioritize wildlife and their habitat over resource extraction. Joe Foy with the Wilderness Committee says too much old growth has already been logged, and “many species, including the spotted owl, have disappeared from much of their former range.”

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No Time to Spare: B.C.’s Old Growth Action Plan Highlights the Critical Importance of Saving Ancient Trees

The Union of BC Indian Chiefs
May 22, 2024
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

səl̓ílwətaʔɬ (Tsleil-Waututh), xʷməθkwəy̓əm (Musqueam), and Skwxwú7mesh (Squamish) Territories (Vancouver, BC) – Yesterday the Province released its Old Growth Action Plan. The Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs and Stand.earth are calling on Premier David Eby to immediately issue emergency logging bans in the most at-risk old growth forests, and to align all sectors with the Old Growth Strategic Review. “The release of the Old Growth Action Plan is a welcome step and we are pleased that this government shares our concern for old growth trees. The Action Plan’s delivery after over four years of increasing temperatures and climate emergency impacts must be accompanied with significant investment and priority in order to protect the forest that is critically essential to sustaining the old growth trees we hold so dear. We must take immediate steps to stop the logging of at-risk old growth on the ground,” said Grand Chief Stewart Phillip, President, Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs.

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Change to B.C. law allows First Nations to directly own land

By Isaac Phan Nay
CBC News
May 22, 2024
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

Katrine Conroy

The B.C. government’s changes to a law that prevented First Nations from acquiring land have come into effect, meaning nations can now directly buy and own land in the province. Previously, First Nations needed to form a proxy, like a corporation or a trust, to buy land. The legislation, which was introduced in April, came into effect on Tuesday. The changes have no legal impact on other landowners — just federally recognized First Nations.  “To be honest, it is a huge relief.” said Hugh Braker, a political executive for the First Nations Summit of British Columbia and a member of the Tseshaht First Nation. “It gets rid of a rather racist relic from colonial times.” In a statement emailed to CBC News, Finance Minister Katrine Conroy said the changes to the Property Law Act and the Land Title Act are “a step on the path towards reconciliation.”

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Alarming spruce budworm infestations are brewing across the Thunder Bay area

By Sandi Krasowski
The Chronicle Journal
May 23, 2024
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada East

THUNDER BAY, Ontario — A forester and arborist is sounding the alarm on increasing spruce budworm infestations across the Thunder Bay area and expects a further surge this season. Vince Rutter, of Rutter Urban Forestry, said “This year’s spruce budworm infestation leaves me with big concerns about tree health that start with losses to individual landscape trees and can lead to widespread tree mortality, which results in economic losses to the forestry sector, but worse, can lead to fuel for forest fires”. In the region, Rutter said he noticed significant feeding damage last year. This year he expects more damage and defoliation, a trend continuing for the next few years at least. …He pointed out the Kamview Nordic Centre as an example of a forest area which he expects 90% mortality over the next few years.

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Prince Edward Island speeds up tree planting with new programs and greenhouses

By Nancy Russell
CBC News
May 24, 2024
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada East

Hailey Blacquiere

The province is ramping up tree production over the next six years, following in the footsteps of a federal program called 2 Billion Trees. The national program aims to plant that many trees by 2031. Provincially, there are four programs that will plant 300,000 additional trees per year. That’s on top of the 1 million trees that were already being planted annually. The P.E.I. 2 Billion Trees program is run by the provincial Department of Environment, Energy and Climate Action. “These trees will help us reach our net zero goals as well as hold carbon, create buffer zones, help with wildlife corridors, and generally increase our green spaces on the Island,” said Hailey Blacquiere, the 2BT co-ordinator for Prince Edward Island. …The trees are being grown at the J. Frank Gaudet Tree Nursery in Charlottetown, which has three new greenhouses to help support the increased production for the 2BT program. 

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Prince Edward Island Forestry Commission turns to public for new policy

By Jillian Trainor
PEI Canada
May 22, 2024
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada East

Islanders had an opportunity to provide input to the PEI Forestry Commission on what they see as forestry priorities during the second of six public meetings being held across the province. The commission is working to create a new forest policy for the province and wanted public feedback on what Islanders believe that policy should include. Over a dozen attendees gathered for an informal, open meeting. Woodlot owners and other attendees shared their thoughts and questions to Jean-Paul Arsenault, chair of the Forestry Commission, and other members of the commission. …Mr Arsenault said the province’s Forest Management Act – passed in 1988, is due for a review. A discussion paper has been created, giving a summary of what the members of the Forestry Commission have learned since they were appointed in January of 2023, listing 13 issues the Commission believes are critical to the development of a new forest policy.

 

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Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy

New members appointed to BC Climate Solutions Council

By Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Strategy
The Province of BC
May 22, 2024
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: Canada, Canada West

New members of B.C.’s Climate Solutions Council will support the Province’s work to transition to a clean economy with good, sustainable jobs for British Columbians. “After another year of unprecedented climate impacts and the worst wildfire season in B.C.’s history, we know we need to accelerate our work taking action on climate change,” said Minister George Heyman. …The combined knowledge of the Climate Solutions Council is an important part of our work to find a path forward to a cleaner future for all of us. We welcome aboard our new members and appreciate our outgoing members’ contribution.” …New council members [include]: Denni Clement, climate-action peer network lead for the Coastal First Nations Great Bear Initiative; Linda Coady, president and CEO, Council of Forest Industries; [and] Matt Horne, manager of climate mitigation, City of Vancouver.

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Health & Safety

UVic researcher calling for mental health support ahead of wildfire season

The Ladysmith Chemainus Chronicle
May 22, 2024
Category: Health & Safety
Region: Canada, Canada West

A University of Victoria researcher is calling for more mental health support for firefighters and victims of wildfires ahead of what could be another severe fire season in B.C. “It’s time to start the conversation about what the ongoing impact of climate change and wildfires is doing to people, emotionally and mentally,” said Ashley Berard, a PhD candidate in the Sociology Department, in a news release. Berard, who is studying the social impact of natural disasters, will present findings and recommendations at the upcoming Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences in Montreal starting 12 June. After speaking with people who live in small rural communities and cities such as Lytton and Kamloops, she said she consistently uncovered heightened feelings of anxiety and depression, an overwhelming sense of grief and loss, and increased stress related to possible physical effects of smoke inhalation.

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Forest Fires

Forest fire out of control near Cobalt

By Jennifer Hamilton-McCharles
North Bay Nugget
May 24, 2024
Category: Forest Fires
Region: Canada, Canada East

A 164 hectare forest fire, three kilometres southeast of Cobalt, remains out of control, according to the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry. “A team of ground crews and aerial fire suppression aircraft from Aviation, Forest Fire and Emergency Services remain on the scene of North Bay 5 at the time of this update. It is currently not under control. Please remain clear of the area to ensure the safety of the public and emergency personnel.” Aviation, Forest Fire and Emergency Services would like to remind the public to use caution when performing any outdoor burning.

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Wildfire scene lighter so far compared to prior years

By Carl Clutchey
Fort Frances Times
May 21, 2024
Category: Forest Fires
Region: Canada, Canada East

At least one wildfire lit up in Thunder Bay’s orbit this week, but damp conditions are keeping the risk for more fires in the region in the low- to-moderate range, and less area has been burned compared to other years, provincial officials said. “Widespread wet weather over the next few days is expected to lower hazard conditions in areas that receive rainfall,” an Aviation, Forest Fire and Emergency Services (AFFES) bulletin said on Thursday night. On Tuesday, a fire about five kilometres north of Sistonen’s Corners in the area of Forbes Centre Road reached half a hectare in size before it was declared out, the bulletin said. According to the Aviation, Forest Fire and Emergency Services agency, most wildfires at this time of year are caused by human activity, such as brush-burning and rail grinding.

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‘Very aggressive’ wildfire hops Northwest Territories-Alberta border near Highway 1

By Ollie Williams
Cabin Radio
May 23, 2024
Category: Forest Fires
Region: Canada, US West

A wildfire that has menaced the highway along the NWT-Alberta border for the past two weeks pushed north as it flared up on Thursday. Fire HTZ001 has predominantly been burning on the Alberta side of the border near Highway 35, causing a string of road closures. On Thursday evening, NWT Fire said the fire had “made an excursion in the NWT” and was about 300 metres from Highway 1 shortly before 6pm. A road closure was in place as of 6pm from Steen River on Highway 35 up to Enterprise on Highway 1.  In recent days, pilot cars have been used to guide traffic through closed stretches of highway when wildfires are burning nearby. NWT Fire said crews had set up sprinklers to protect the 60th Parallel Visitor Information Centre and “other assets near Highway 1,” and those sprinklers were running on Thursday evening. 

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