Five steps to reboot B.C.’s forest industry

By Linda Coady, CEO, BC Council of Forest Industries
The Vancouver Sun
June 13, 2024
Category: Opinion / EdiTOADial
Region: Canada, Canada West

Linda Coady

Mill closures and curtailments in B.C. last year led to the loss of 5,000 direct jobs in the forest industry, and another 5,000 indirect jobs in supply chains and services that support the industry. Current conditions in the sector are not only negatively impacting jobs and operations, but also exports, government revenue, and investment in the province. Reasons for the historic level of disruption have been well-documented. Insects, fire, markets, and policy shifts figure among them. …But getting the sector back on track to deliver the benefits that communities across B.C. rely upon requires more than understanding what the problem is — it requires a willingness to do something about it. …Here are five [solutions] that would help create more predictable timber supply in B.C. while meeting other important goals for forest health and environmental protection, and First Nations reconciliation.

  • Fix current permit development processes to ensure that an environmentally sustainable and economically viable harvest can be consistently achieved. 
  • Secure agreements with First Nations that advance progress on critical issues. Embrace new approaches to consultation, forest tenure, revenue sharing, and First Nations land use planning.
  • Expedite new regional tables for Forest Landscape Planning. 
  • Establish new targets and financing strategies to expand the role that research and forest management can play in wildfire resilience, community and biodiversity protection, and fibre utilization.
  • Develop a long-term roadmap or economic strategy for the B.C. forest sector. …The vision needs to drive stronger performance on carbon management, sustainability, and Indigenous-led forest management and conservation.

Consensus is growing on what can be done to reboot one of B.C.’s most important industries. The time to act on that consensus is now.

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