In spring 2019, our government announced a renewal of the province’s Interior forest sector, aimed at creating a competitive, sustainable future for forest companies, workers and communities.
This came just months after a similar initiative for the Coast forest sector, but the Interior sector faces its own unique challenges. After years of enhanced salvage harvest levels when the pine beetle epidemic was at its peak, the sector is now facing significantly reduced timber supply and record wildfire seasons, as well as lower prices for western spruce, fir and pine lumber.
To gather ideas about what the future of the forest sector should look like, the Ministry of Forest, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development held a public engagement July 18 to October 11, 2019. People across the province had the opportunity to share feedback, focusing on ways to maximize added-value productions as part of wood fibre manufacturing.
With the goal of improving the long-term success of the Interior forest sector, four objectives were identified to inform the public consultation:
- A globally competitive forest sector
- Resilient communities and workforce
- Reconciliation with Indigenous communities
- Sustainable forest management
People participated by:
- Invitation to community-held engagement sessions with Indigenous Nations, forest industry, local governments, labour and stakeholders
- Completing an online feedback form
- Emailing or mailing formal submissions
- Mailing a hard-copy feedback form
A What We Heard report on feedback received through the Interior Forest Policy process is expected to be released towards the end of 2019. The ideas that have been received are now being considered with respect to the four government objectives shared; ideas that support one or more objective will inform options for policy reform recommended to government. Further policy direction based on the feedback is anticipated to start in spring 2020.