President & CEO, Coast Forest Products Association
Standing Strong at 22 Years
Coast Forest Products Association has completed its spring annual general meeting marking its 22nd year of representing British Columbia’s coastal forest industry. In 1994, the world was a different place – Jean Chrétien was our prime minister, the North American Free Trade Agreement came into effect, and our industry was buried under the paperwork of the NDP Forest Practices Code.
While coastal forestry has redefined itself for over a century, the past two decades have seen rapid change. As a sector, we have adapted to shifts in our society, culture and global economy. The constant in this changing context is that Coast Forest advocates for policies and progress that drive industry success, by applying a fresh, contemporary lens and focusing on benefits for our members, customers, communities and the province.
In the upcoming year, Coast Forest will continue to drive the competitiveness agenda. For instance, as Les Kiss outlined in his latest piece, Building Momentum: Government and Industry finding sustainable solutions using the LEAN process, preliminary milestones have been achieved on reducing log handling costs, delivering significant benefits without compromising outcomes. In the coming months, we must use the momentum to drive the completion of the rest of the log handling improvements in a timely and efficient manner.
Certainty of timber and log supply is another fundamental requirement of industry success – now and in the future. Coast Forest continues to work with BCTS to improve log supply certainty so they achieve 100% of their target.
Achieving this goal will allow coastal forestry companies the predictable access to the sustainable fibre supply they need, supporting their re-investment and ensuring a stable supply of market priced timber to our mills.
The dispute over the Softwood Lumber Agreement (SLA) is a high priority. Our Association will continue to work with the federal and provincial governments and the B.C. Lumber Trade Council to advance the SLA file. We will continue to work with the Canadian Wood Council, the Canada Wood Group and WoodWORKS! to increase market access for our products. We will do this while building on our reputation for producing the most sustainable building materials on the planet.
Finally, we will continue to strengthen our connection with our new federal government. Coast Forest will inform and demonstrate the integral role that B.C.’s coast forest industry can play in the Government of Canada’s goal to further develop our clean energy economy, combat climate change and improve relationships with First Nations.
Next spring, when we complete our 23rd year, Coast Forest will almost certainly face a variation of similarly themed challenges. We, along with our member companies, will have demonstrated that we operate with the values British Columbians hold while advancing the needs of our evolving industry with changing governments, community partners, stakeholders and markets.