OPINION: Keeping forestry strong to secure good jobs and a better future for communities

Premier John Horgan and Minister Selina Robinson visit Structurlam in Penticton to announce B.C.’s proactive adoption of building code changes that allow the safe construction of taller wood buildings.



THE forest sector is the anchor of 140 communities around B.C. Families depend on it, businesses bank on it, and our economy is tied to its success. Forestry provides tens of thousands of good-paying jobs and more than $1 billion in government revenues that help deliver the public services we all count on.

Our government believes in the future of forestry. We’re working hard to revitalize this foundational industry and make life better for the communities that count on it.

We’ve been fighting hard against unfair U.S. duties on softwood lumber that post a heavy burden on the sector.

On the coast, lumber manufacturing and pulp production have declined, while log exports have increased.

In the Interior, lumber prices are falling and fibre costs are rising. The diminishing supply of beetle-killed timber and back-to-back wildfire seasons have reduced available fibre for companies, First Nations, workers and communities who depend on our forests for their livelihoods.

Our government hears these concerns from communities in every corner of the province, and we are listening. It’s time for a new vision for forestry in B.C. To build that vision, we need a new approach.

In January, we introduced our plan to renew our forest sector on the coast, which will make sure B.C. gets the most value out of every log, grows our manufacturing sector, and sells our innovative products in markets around the world.

This week, I am calling on the industry, labour, First Nations and communities to work together to develop a new vision for our Interior forest industry. We need to make sure that our industry stays competitive, and the people and communities that count on these jobs have a more secure future.

B.C. is a leader in engineered wood products. We want to grow B.C.’s advantage. We are moving ahead with taller wood building construction, and we’re going to do more to encourage local companies, municipalities and First Nations to use engineered wood products for their projects.

This is our opportunity to build the future we all want: a future where the forest industry in B.C. is competitive and generates hundreds of millions in government revenues that can be invested into the people of this province.

Together, we can build a forest industry that creates thousands of good-paying jobs for local workers and First Nations and supports communities for generations to come.