Western Silvicultural Contractors’ Association
Rumour Mill RoundUpDate
February 12, 2016
Volume 16, Issue 3
Warning: Some of the facts contained in this issue were used at the 2016 WSCA Conference.
Forests Minster to Consider Ways to Insure Silviculture Contractors
In his keynote address at the WSCA Annual Conference last week MFLNRO Minister Steve Thomson said he was “sympathetic” to silviculture contractors being eligible to participate in the Forest Service Providers Protection Fund. By regulation the fund currently offers relief only to logging contractors against losses due to going unpaid by a bankrupt licensee. The WSCA has argued that the Forest Service Providers Protection Act provides for silviculture contractors, including seedling nurseries and forestry consultants contracting to licensees, to be included in the fund. Silviculture contractors, the WSCA says, are particularly vulnerable to consequences of going unpaid by licensee clients. The Minister appears to agree in principle, but insisted he has to consider how bringing in silviculture contractors will affect the scheme, which currently has no long term funding. MFLNRO Deputy Minister Tim Sheldan, who has been tasked with working with the WSCA on the file, stated at the WSCA conference in a subsequent address that he finds the contractors’ arguments “compelling.” He said though there were practical obstacles to be dealt with if silviculture contractors and others are going to participate in the fund. So far it has been seed-funded by government at around $6 million. It has been in place since 2012.
Lasqueti Daughters Abandonment Report Released
Late last winter 17 tree planters and crew abandoned the self-propelled barge Lasqueti Daughters after it foundered in straits near Campbell River, B.C. Following a ten-month investigation the Transportation Safety Board released its report citing lack of safety oversight as a contributing factor in the vessel’s sinking. The Lasqueti Daughters was well known on the coast as a floating camp for reforestation projects. All workers abandoned the ship safely. Although the vessel, owned by a silviculture contractor, was eventually towed to shore, it was described by the TSB as a total loss. Read the full report here.
Khaira Workers Now Eligable to Apply for E.I. After Six-Year Delay
By any reckoning former employees of the discredited Khaira Enterprises have had a rough ride. Besides having their worker and human rights abused they have had to suffer various disappointments with the government agencies involved in their affairs. Many of them are still owed money in spite of findings of the Employment Standards Branch. Others had to appeal to Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) to reverse its demand that they pay taxes on earnings they never received. And now six years after the fact 23 of them have been told they can finally apply for employment insurance; something denied them initially because CRA ruled travel time was not insurable for EI purposes. That ruling was appealed successfully by the BC Public Interest Advocacy Centre acting on behalf of some of the workers after a protracted series of hearings ending this month. That technicality aside they now still have to apply for EI. We can only hope that doesn’t turn into another administrative gamut for any of these workers who may still want to try to receive benefits they should have been eligible for in 2010.
Tree Tally App In Beta Testing Phase: Try It Out, It’s Free, It’s Fun
Figuring that most tree planters had smart phones and that most planters have to keep track of the trees they plant each day it seemed like a minor brain storm to combine the two in a clever smart phone app. Hence the TreeTally App downloadable on either Apple or android devices. The app not only counts trees, but keeps track of your earnings and prompts you on pay days and your employment standards rights as a silviculture worker. So it is an educational tool as well. We now want to put it to the test. It is not a perfect tool. Nor are all the bugs squashed. So that’s why we need your help and advice in our beta testing period, which is now and into this year’s spring season.
Please send your comments to both:
John Betts: firstname.lastname@example.org
Steve Mueller: email@example.com