WSCA 2012 Conference Promises Content and Controversy

The WSCA Annual Conference and Trade Show set for Kamloops 1, 2, 3 February 2012 will look at benchmarking silviculture costs and rates for the industry; hear from workers on whether they should form a union; propose establishing a registered silviculture contractor certification as a prerequisite to competing in the industry; find out from Minister Pat Bell how the province’s Job Strategy will benefit the silviculture sector; understand what’s with China; get an update on the Forest Practices Board’s special report on the NSR; listen to Adrian Dix Leader of the Loyal Opposition tell what they would do with the province’s forests if elected: plus all the other content and controversy we can manage to fit into three days.

Western Silvicultural Contractors’ Association Annual Conference and Trade Show Program Outline

1-3 February 2012, Kamloops BC

The 2012 WSCA conference will look at the near term future of the sector measured over the next three to four years. It will look at the those prospects in terms of what it will take to continue recruiting and retaining capable workers and what forest policies and products are likely to drive the demand in the silviculture market. For instance sowing requests trends indicate the next two years may see planting at around 240-million annually. But in the fierce competition for resource workers coming from mining, oil & gas, and construction, particularly in the north, will we lose people to those areas? What happens to the demand for BC lumber if China sputters? And where is the much talked about new bio-economy? Here is what we have so far:

Wednesday 1 February: Human Resources and Safety

The first day of the conference will look at human resource issues in the sector including safety and workforce development:

• Falling on spacing and restoration projects. A forum to discuss strategies around practical practices and training for silvliculture workers who brush, clear and space trees. This will include a review of the death of a brusher who died this year falling an 18 inch dbh tree which he wasn’t qualified to attempt.

• Silviculture worker panel: Up to six silviculture workers from across the province will discuss workforce issues from their perspective including what it will take to keep them coming back to the seasonal workforce and whether the sector takes its workers for granted. Panelists confirmed include workers Charlotte Gill, Jordan Tesluk, Jonathan “Scooter” Clark and Mike Renaud.

• Developing a human resource strategy for the silviculture sector: This will include the final results of this year’s worker exit poll and an outline of the WSCA’s proposed Labour Market Partnership research and education project.

• Extending the BC SAFE Silviculture Program: This session will update contractors and workers on the WSCA’s eight-year $1.8 million program to change silviculture safety culture and practices including developing and delivering training. As of the end of 2011 contract funding from both the BC Forest Safety Council and the Community Development Trust will end.

Thursday 2 February: Forest policy, forest market and forest politics

• Bio-energy Panel: Leading experts from the BC Legislature, the Ministry of Forests, industry and restoration consultants will lay out their opinions on what is hindering and what is helping the development of a bio-energy industry in B.C. They will talk about what this might mean for silviculture contractors. Presenters include: Chief Forester Jim Snetsinger, consultant Bob Gray, MLA Bob Simpson and Ric Slaco VP International Forest Products Ltd.

• China? How much of the present recovery depends on China’s demand for wood from B.C. How sustainable is it? Presenter: Rick Jefferey President and CEO Coast Forest Products Association.

• The BC Jobs Strategy and forestry: Growth, innovation and investment are founding tenets of government’s plan to grow the provincial economy and create jobs. How does that play out in the resource sector? Speaker: The Honourable Pat Bell Minister of Jobs, Tourism and Innovation.

• BC Forest Practices Board Interim Report on NSR in B.C.: Presenter Marvin Eng

• Workshops:

o Employment Standards Branch Zero Tolerance policy

o FFT investments

o How WorkSafeBC sets rates

• Trade Show will take place all day

• Banquet Speaker: Adrian Dix Leader of the Loyal Opposition.

Friday 3 February: WSCA AGM and strategy session

• For discussion:

o Benchmarking and pricing silviculture contracting rates

o Establishing a registered silviculture contractor program and professional standards (from the Khaira report)

o FS 704 rewrite

o New business

o AGM