Forestry is one of B.C.’s key economic sectors and today, the Province and the BC First Nations Forestry Council (BCFNFC) have announced a new labour market partnership project.
This new partnership project sets the stage for helping Aboriginal groups, forest industry companies and skills and training services providers prepare and understand forestry-related, labour opportunities at the community or territorial level.
The B.C. government has provided more than $80,000, through the Sector Labour Market Partnership Program, to the BCFNFC to lead the First Nations Regional Forestry Opportunity Studies Engagement project. The goal of this project is to bring together Aboriginal communities, forestry sector employers and other partners including the Aboriginal Skills Employment Training Strategy, so they can identify the forestry labour demands and opportunities in various B.C. regions. The project is expected to finish in January 2017.
It is the first phase of a broader initiative to help ensure that Aboriginal Peoples in B.C. have the training and support they need for forestry sector jobs, including forestry and logging, silviculture, pulp and paper and solid wood. This project also supports the work that BCFNFC has been doing to help several First Nations identify their unique role in the forestry workforce in their communities.
The First Nations Regional Forestry Opportunity Studies Engagement project is an example of the Province’s commitments to work with Aboriginal Peoples and First Nations, as mentioned in the BC Jobs Plan and B.C.’s Skills for Jobs Blueprint.
The Sector Labour Market Partnerships Program is funded through the Canada-British Columbia Labour Market Development Agreement. The program helps employers understand and respond to changing labour market demands, and ensures that training and education programs in B.C. are aligned with industry’s labour-market needs and priorities.
Shirley Bond, Minister of Jobs, Tourism and Skills Training –
“B.C.’s forestry sector is a key driver of our province’s economy, contributing over $7 billion and providing more than 65,000 jobs each year. We want Aboriginal Peoples in B.C. to have the information and support they need to take advantage of the various forestry sector related opportunities in their communities. This sector labour market partnership project with the BC First Nations Forestry Council will help us achieve this goal, and will continue to help more Aboriginal Peoples participate in our diverse, strong and growing economy.”
John Rustad, Minister of Aboriginal Relations and Reconciliation –
“Ensuring First Nations benefit from forestry operations in their traditional territories is a priority for our government. This project will provide the kind of information and analysis needed to better match First Nations skills training and other programs to labour market demand and employment opportunities in the forest industry.”
Chief Bill Williams, president, BC First Nations Forestry Council –
“The First Nations Forestry Council has been focused on a Workforce Initiative that supports increased First Nations participation in the forest sector and the current turnover in the workforce is a great opportunity for achieving that goal. Building skills is a requirement that needs particular attention and support if we wish to maintain a productive and safe workforce. The diversity of First Nations communities is a benefit to the workforce opportunities that are available and this project will assist in strategically targeting labour with employment demand, optimizing skills training investment.”
- Forestry supports B.C. First Nations communities. The Province has signed forestry agreements with 177 First Nations since 2002, providing $382 million in revenue-sharing and providing access to 180 million cubic metres of timber, giving communities a stronger role in forest and land stewardship.
- In 2015, B.C.’s forest sector directly supported 65,500 well-paying jobs – more than 140 rural economies depend on it.
- B.C. is one of the world’s largest exporters of softwood lumber, and a significant global producer of pulp, paper and bioenergy. It accounts for more than one-third of Canada’s forest products exports.
- Two-thirds of B.C.’s land base, or 55 million hectares, is forested. Despite the impact of the mountain pine beetle in the Interior, B.C. forests have millions of hectares of quality commercial tree species – and a fraction of one per cent is harvested annually.
- Through the B.C.’s Skills for Jobs Blueprint, the government is reaching out to Aboriginal Peoples in their communities to ensure they have the education, training and support they need for B.C. jobs.
Sector Labour Market Partnerships Program: www.workbc.ca/sectorlabourmarketpartnerships
BC Jobs Plan: http://engage.gov.bc.ca/bcjobsplan/
B.C.’s Skills for Jobs Blueprint: https://www.workbc.ca/Training-Education/B-C-s-Skills-for-Jobs-Blueprint.aspx
B.C. 2025 Labour Market Outlook: https://www.workbc.ca/Statistics/Labour-Market.aspx