Study pushes B.C. forest sector toward new path

Despite a tumultuous 2019 that saw the B.C. forestry sector become one of the province’s most embattled industries, there is a possible light at the end of the tunnel if companies embrace a new business model with emphasis on high-value products.

That is among the messages delivered by the Council of Forest Industries in a report called Smart Future: A Path Forward for B.C.’s Forest Products Industry, published this month. The report comes as a wave of shutdowns and operational reductions – as many as 38 of them resulting in layoffs and curtailments – has hit the sector since May, causing more than 1,000 people to lose their jobs.

Companies have blamed the job losses on factors ranging from a shrinking wood supply (due to mountain pine beetle infestation, fires and a general loss of working forest land base) to intense competition from countries like Chile and Russia.