Progress update on old growth, worker supports (

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Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development

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B.C. takes next step on new vision for forest care

In June 2021, the B.C. government set out its vision for a forestry sector that is more diverse, competitive, focused on sustainability, and puts people and communities first, with the release of the Modernizing Forest Policy in B.C. intentions paper.

Based on years of consultation with industry, communities, stakeholders and others, the paper outlines government’s vision where workers and communities benefit from secure, innovative forestry jobs, Indigenous Peoples are full partners in sustainable forest management, and the oldest and most ancient trees are protected.

This year B.C. moved forward on this vision by:

  • Making changes to the Forest and Range Practices Act that build on government’s vision for forest care.
    This legislation complements ongoing work to preserve old growth and supports smarter management of forests, repositioning government as the land manager and reasserting the public interest in forests management. Key changes include replacing industry-developed forest stewardship plans with forest landscape plans that will better address ecological and cultural values in addition to timber values. First Nations, communities and the public will have more opportunities to view and comment on forest-sector harvesting plans, increasing trust and participation in forest-management decisions.
  • Making changes to the Forest Act that will help build a more diverse and inclusive forest sector. There is significant concentration of forest tenures in the province and almost all of the available forests are already under tenure. This makes it difficult to promote innovation and attract new entrants into the sector, including value-added operations and made-in-B.C. manufacturing. The legislation creates new tools that will allow government to reduce the timber harvesting rights of existing forest tenure holders, compensate them and then redistribute the timber harvesting rights to First Nations, communities and BC Timber Sales. Other changes will establish a clear and consistent compensation framework and increase transparency by requiring tenure holders to provide current information on forest inventory to the chief forester.
  • Making progress on a commitment to protect good jobs and workers when tenure and cutting rights are transferred. In November, government announced it had appointed an industrial inquiry commission (IIC) to recommend ways to protect workers when contract tendering and the transfer of cutting and timber-harvesting rights fall outside of section 35 of the Labour Relations Code. Section 35 ensures that the collective bargaining rights of employees are protected when a business or part of it is sold, leased, transferred or otherwise disposed of.
  • In 2021, the Province also continued its work to reduce the effects of climate change and make sure healthy forests are here for generations by planting 301 million trees. That makes more than 1.1 billion trees planted since 2018. About 5,000 silviculture workers throughout B.C. will be employed planting trees in 2022.