Vancouver, B.C. – A new economic study released today by the BC Council of Forest industries (COFI) shows that B.C.’s forest industry continues to generate significant economic activity in every region of the province.
“This study demonstrates again that B.C.’s forest products sector is an important part of the provincial economy, putting paychecks in people’s pockets, helping small businesses pay their bills and supporting a good quality of life for British Columbians,” said Susan Yurkovich, President and CEO, BC Council of Forest Industries. “The industry contributes to the well-being of communities from the Cariboo to the Northeast, from the Island to the Lower Mainland and Southwest part of our province, where nearly half the jobs supported by the forest sector are located.”
The study – Contributing to a Better B.C.: 2019 Forest Industry Economic Impact Study – confirmed that, in 2019, the provincial forest sector supported more than 100,000 jobs, generated over $13 billion in GDP and nearly $8.5 billion in wages, salaries, and benefits. The industry contributed over $4 billion in government revenue to support health, education and other important social services. Additionally, the study found that between 2009 and 2019, forest industry companies invested about $14 billion in their B.C. operations.
The study that measured the economic impact of B.C.’s forest industry across the province was led by Kurt Niquidet, COFI’s Chief Economist and Adjunct Professor in the Faculty of Forestry at the University of British Columbia. The data was largely sourced from Statistics Canada. PwC conducted a review of the methodology and confirmed the accuracy of the results.
“B.C.’s forest industry is, and will continue to, provide opportunities and benefits for British Columbians for decades to come,” said Katrine Conroy, B.C.’s Minister of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations. “We look forward to continuing to work with First Nations, industry, labour and communities to ensure a healthy, resilient sector.”
“The forest sector is critically important to B.C.’s economy, and most importantly to the close to 50,000 British Columbians, including 12,000 USW members, who work directly in the sector proudly producing renewable, low-carbon wood products for the world,” said Jeff Bromley, Chair, Wood Council Canada, United Steelworkers.
Included in that large workforce are over 5,300 Indigenous people who are directly employed in the industry, more than any other resource sector in B.C. Indigenous communities are also vital industry partners as owners, and through business and stewardship partnerships.
Our agreement with Western Forest Products enables Huu-ay-aht to have more jurisdiction over our ḥahuułi (traditional territory), strengthen the long-term sustainability of the forest sector in the Alberni Region, provide strong environmental stewardship that aligns with Huu-ay-aht’s forestry guiding principles, and create more opportunities for First Nations, including our citizens,” said Chief Councillor Robert J. Dennis Sr., Huu-ay-aht First Nations.
In addition to jobs directly tied to forestry operation, thousands of B.C.-based companies – small, medium and large – are in the business of supplying goods and services to the forest industry.
“Our forest industry partners rely on our drone technology to provide accurate information to make forest and mill operations more efficient and sustainable. Our solutions are being used by foresters and mill operators across North America as a direct result of the success here in B.C.,” said Mike Wilcox, co-Founder Vancouver-based FYBR.
The study found that other businesses across B.C. – from restaurants to corner stores – also rely on a healthy forest sector. That’s because workers employed by the forest product companies and industry suppliers spend their paychecks in their local communities, helping keep local businesses operating.
“The forest industry has not only been important to the Ideal Café, but to our family too,” said Stephanie Bergen, who runs the Ideal Café in Campbell River with her parents. “Forestry is what fed our family for many years. The Ideal Café will always be about the industry.”
“Our sacred principles of ʔiisaak, ʔuuʔałuk, and Hišuk ma c̕awak guide us as we focus on managing and using the natural resources in our ḥahuułi (traditional territory) sustainably to create a brighter future for citizens and Nation. A strong, sustainable forest sector rooted in reconciliation, revitalization, and protecting our resources for future generations, is key to achieving this vision.” – Tayii Ḥawił ƛiišin, Huu-ay-aht First Nations Head Hereditary Chief, Derek Peters, and TFL 44 LP Board Member
“The forest industry is a cornerstone of our provincial economy. It provides good family supporting jobs in all parts of B.C., many of them located in communities, urban and rural, along the province’s coast – from the Lower Mainland to Alaska and across Vancouver Island.” – Brian Butler, President, United Steelworkers Local 1-1937
“B.C.’s forest industry continues to make an outsized contribution to the province’s economic well-being, interconnecting urban and rural communities, companies big and small, and industries from manufacturing to high tech.” – Greg D’Avignon, President and CEO of Business Council of BC
“The forest industry has long been an important part of our community and region. It contributes to our economy, provides well-paying jobs that support families and adds to the fabric and well-being of our community.” – Mayor Gaby Wickstrom, Port McNeil, Vancouver Island Region
“As a Vancouver City Councillor, I take pride in showcasing how natural resource sectors, such as forestry, play a key role in urban living and our local economy. Nearly half the employees in the forest industry work in Metro Vancouver and Vancouver has the highest industry spend of nearly $1 billion. Forestry is an important part of B.C.’s economy and also right here in Vancouver.” – Councillor Lisa Dominato, Vancouver, Lower Mainland/South Coast Region
“Kamloops has been, and continues to be, a hub for regional forestry operations. From equipment supply to pulp manufacturing, forestry is a significant contributor to our GDP and provides millions of dollars annually to support Kamloops families.” – Mayor Ken Christian, Kamloops, Thompson/Okanagan Region
“The forest industry has been part of the Kootenay economy for well over a century. It is an important part of our heritage and will continue to be a part of our economy well into the future, providing jobs and contributing to healthy communities.” – Mayor Lee Pratt, Cranbrook, Kootenay Region
“Prince George and other communities across the Cariboo region have long recognized just how important the forest industry is to our economy. This industry provides jobs throughout its operations, and it supports many local businesses who rely on the forest sector for their economic prosperity. As such, the City of Prince George has ensured that the forest industry is prioritized in our Economic Development Strategy.” – Mayor Lyn Hall, Prince George, Cariboo Region
“The natural resources sectors, including forestry, are providing job opportunities across our region. These jobs support families, communities, and a good quality of life for the people who live and work here.” – Mayor Carol Leclerc, Terrace, North Coast Region
“Forestry has been the backbone of our community for the last 80 years. Forestry supports our families, and has provided great opportunities for young adults in their careers. Truly the forest industry has been our past, present and will be our future.” – Mayor Gerry Thiessen, District of Vanderhoof, Nechako Region
“Most British Columbians probably associate the Northeast with the oil and gas sector, but forestry is a key contributor to Dawson Creek and the broader region’s economy.” – Mayor Dale Bumstead, Dawson Creek, Northeast Region
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About the BC Council of Forest Industries
The BC Council of Forest Industries is the voice of the BC forest industry. COFI members produce lumber, pulp and paper, panels and engineered wood products at facilities across the province. All share a commitment to a future based on employee safety, sustainable forestry and manufacturing practices, and innovative product development.