Acting on commitments under Strong Past, Bright Future: A Competitiveness Agenda for B.C.’s Forest Sector and the Value-added Sector Action Plan, a Wood Secretariat has been formed, Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations Minister Steve Thomson announced today.
Growing the value-added sector is a key component of B.C.’s Forest Sector Competitiveness Agenda and a critical component in meeting the B.C. government’s strategic goal of maximizing value derived from the province’s forest resources and enhancing employment. The products and business structure of the value-added sector help develop a more innovative and diversified industry and they currently employ over 12,000 workers across 589 value-added businesses.
The value-added sector has significant economic presence in small communities with 153 manufacturers located in 85 communities with populations less than 10,000 residents and 55 manufacturers located in towns with populations between 10,000 and 50,000, generating 2,300 full-time jobs in these communities.
The Wood Secretariat is co-chaired by a representative from government and a representative from industry. Ken Kalesnikoff, president and CEO of Kalesnikoff Lumber Co. Ltd., a specialty value-added facility located in Thrums, was selected as industry’s co-lead by the value-added specialty wood manufacturing associations.
The Wood Secretariat will focus on promoting the value-added and specialty wood manufacturing sector’s competitiveness, such as fibre and innovation, access to key markets, and access to skills training. Specifically, the Wood Secretariat will:
- Promote the value-added and specialty wood manufacturing sector's competitiveness and growth.
- Support implementation of the six recommendations in the Value Added Action Plan.
- Co-ordinate and provide recommendations to resolve operational and competitiveness issues that are provincial in scope.
- Provide input on proposed policy and legislative changes.
The Wood Secretariat is another one of the key ways the B.C. government is taking action to strengthen, grow and diversify rural communities. This builds on the immediate investments and long-term action plan outlined in B.C.’s Rural Economic Development Strategy that are expected to create over 26,000 jobs and add $2.8 billion to provincial GDP.
Steve Thomson, Minister of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations –
“The value-added wood sector is the cornerstone of many rural B.C. communities and contributes nearly $3 billion of GDP to the provincial economy. Today’s announcement is a great example of our government’s commitment to support jobs, growing B.C.’s resource based sectors and helping B.C. stay competitive and innovative.”
Ken Kalesnikoff, president and CEO, Kalesnikoff Lumber, and director & chair, Interior Lumber Manufacturers’ Association –
“B.C. is home to some of the most innovative value added specialty manufacturers in Canada. Growing the value-added specialty-manufacturing sector is key to the success and ongoing modernization of our sector and coming together under the Wood Secretariat presents great opportunity for continued growth and job creation throughout our industry.”
Rob Mitchell, chair, BC WOOD –
"We are passionate about bringing innovative ideas to the table and insight into how we can strengthen B.C.'s value-added industry and wood first culture. Through the Wood Secretariat, we are bringing together the entire value-added wood industry, with the support and commitment of the B.C. government, to address the unique challenges in our sector."
Russ Cameron, president, Independent Wood Processors Association –
“In order to continually grow B.C.’s forest sector, we need to ensure access to key markets. We encourage the creation and maintenance of policy that supports sustainable, responsible, and community-minded forestry and manufacturing."
- British Columbia’s forest sector is a key economic driver and a fundamental component of the economic and social fabric of dozens of B.C.’s communities.
- In 2016, the value of B.C. forest product exports was $14 billion, up 84% since 2009.
- Forestry accounts for 35% of all goods exported from B.C.
- In 2016, B.C.’s forest sector provided 60,000 direct jobs.
To read Strong Past, Bright Future: A Competitiveness Agenda for B.C.’s Forest Sector, visit: http://ow.ly/q7Me309rYPV
To read B.C.’s Value-Added Action Plan, visit: http://ow.ly/qaU7309rYS0
To learn more about B.C’s Rural Economic Development Strategy, visit: https://bcjobsplan.gov.bc.ca/b-c-s-rural-economic-development-strategy/