President & CEO, Coast Forest Products Association
Every Picture Tells a Story – A Snapshot of an Integrated and Transforming Industry
As we get set to put the finishing touches on 2013 in just a few weeks, it’s a good time to take stock of one of British Columbia’s most important industries – about where it is and where we’d like to see it go.
The latest studies by PriceWaterhouseCoopers (PwC) and Coast Forest Products Association have unveiled an exciting snapshot of where coast forestry is today. It reveals a people-focussed industry that has undergone exciting transformations and emerged dynamic, modern, sustainable and high-tech. We pride ourselves on being highly integrated across industries with our member companies offering a plethora of opportunities that positively impact the lifestyles and livelihoods of thousands of British Columbians.
Above all, Coast Forest member companies are people-focussed, paying more than $373 million per year in salaries with surveyed companies paying an average of $40/hour in wages and benefits to their employees. An estimated 38,000 people in communities throughout BC rely on a healthy coastal forest industry for their jobs (direct, indirect, induced) – and this includes an estimated 5,735 direct jobs from contract logging. Further, coastal forestry in B.C. supports an important and valuable manufacturing sector in our province. More than 3,100 people work in over 100 companies producing value-added solid wood products like flooring, architectural woodwork and cabinets while 2700 people work directly for pulp and paper companies that manufacture newsprint, specialty paper and other products.
As a stabilizing influence central to the health of our communities, we’re planning for the future. The coast forest products industry accounts for approximately 11 per cent of GDP in coastal B.C. and comprises an estimated 10 per cent of total jobs. We’re investing in our people and in innovation with more than $543 million put into mill upgrades, new equipment, and skills training over the past five years.
The people of B.C. rely on coastal forestry’s contributions to public services like health care, education and transportation infrastructure – we provided almost $1 billion to the Crown between 2008 and 2013. Other industries including transportation, marine, finance, and insurance rely on us to be robust and grow stronger. We’re doing just that, as markets all over the world continue to demand the quality of our wood and wood products.
Our snapshot tells a story about connection, integration and a plan for growing a bright future. We know that coastal forestry connects people to livelihoods and, in turn connects them to their communities and the economy of the entire province.
So as we look ahead to 2014, we intend to continue our work with Government and build on the momentum of transformation. And as we are continually seeking new and innovative approaches to remaining viable and sustainable, we’re inviting everyone in coastal BC to join our conversation and shape our future together at OurForestsOurRoots.org.
Rick Jeffrey is President and CEO of the Coast Forest Products Association