British Columbia’s forest industry calls for urgent action on fiber supply crisis

The British Columbia Forest Industries Council (COFI) is urging the provincial government to take immediate action to address the dwindling fiber supply, which has led to a series of mill closures and production restrictions across Province.

In a statement released today, COFI President and CEO Linda Coady expressed concern about the significant economic and social impacts of these closures. Job losses, reduced tax revenues and uncertainty for rural communities are just some of the consequences highlighted by COFI.

“Every time a plant closes in British Columbia, it has a significant impact on employees, families and entire communities,” said Ms. Coady. “The loss of well-paying jobs and local tax revenues has long-term consequences, particularly in rural areas. »

COFI recognizes the appointment of a Minister of State for Sustainable Forestry Innovation, but highlights the need for faster action. The organization is calling for additional action in the next 60 days to address challenges related to permitting systems and land use policies that contribute to declining fiber access.

The forest industry is a major economic driver in British Columbia, contributing to manufacturing productivity, government revenues and exports. However, COFI emphasizes the strong correlation between the number of jobs and the supply of fiber. The industry needs a constant flow of usable wood to create jobs and produce products with a low carbon footprint.

The COFI press release highlights a dramatic decline in actual fiber harvest levels, from 60 million cubic meters in 2018 to 35 million in 2023. This represents a deficit of 42% compared to the annual volume authorized for this year. These declines resulted in the loss of 10,000 jobs (direct, indirect and induced) in 2023 alone.

Following recent discussions between industry stakeholders, First Nations, unions and the provincial government, COFI is calling for increased collaboration to find solutions to stabilize the fiber supply in the short and long term. The organization highlights the need to take additional steps to regain investor confidence and ensure the long-term viability of this fundamental British Columbia industry.

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