ABOUT US

Introducing

Western Forestry Contractors’ Association

(WFCA)

WHO WE ARE

Representing forestry contractors in Western Canada, promoting ethics, safety, & industry excellence.

The Western Forestry Contractors’ Association (WFCA) represents independent businesses involved in forest management, ecosystem restoration and reforestation, wildfire management, pre and post-harvest planning and implementation services.

We are based in British Columbia, Canada, and our mission is to promote and support sustainable forestry practices, ensure a safe and healthy work environment, provide advocacy and representation to our members, and represent our sector to the public. We believe in partnering with all governments, industry licensees, regulatory agencies, and community stakeholders to achieve these goals.

Our non-profit organization is primarily funded through membership fees and is governed by a volunteer board. Through our funding, we support initiatives that benefit the forestry sector and our forests. These include the Safe Forestry Program and the Silviculture Labour Force Strategy, our annual conferences, and subject matter expert contributions to the development of our governments’ forest policies.

Membership with the WFCA is voluntary.

OUR MISSION

The WFCA strives to be forward-thinking and flexible. We believe in continual improvement and the ability to pivot our focus and resources to effect positive change. We confront climate and environmental objectives through meaningful work. We will work together with First Nations in addressing reconciliation. We will collaborate with our stakeholders to support best business practices, professional integrity, and wise policy in the forest industry. We care about the long-term health of the forest.

OUR BEGINNING

Established in 1984, the Western Silvicultural Contractor’s Association (WSCA) has been dedicated to advocating for effective policies to responsibly manage the province’s forest resources.

The Western Silvicultural Contractors’ Association (WSCA) emerged from the Pacific Reforestation Workers Association (PRWA), which had previously represented contractors, workers, and worker-cooperatives. Following the formation of WSCA, the PRWA continued for a brief period before its eventual dissolution. Since its inception, the WSCA has been a prominent advocate for effective forestry stewardship and regulatory frameworks that reflect industry realities and member interests.

Notably, the WSCA played a pivotal role as a founding member of the BC Forest Safety Council. Through initiatives such as the Safe Silviculture Project, the association contributed to the development of leading safety programs within the forestry sector, prioritizing the well-being of workers and contractors. Additionally, the WSCA actively participated in advocating for increased protection for silviculture worker wages under Section 37.9 of the Employment Standards Regulation.

Throughout its existence, the WSCA has remained committed to shaping policies that align with the practical needs of the forestry sector while safeguarding the interests of its members and their employees. By promoting regulatory frameworks that balance industry requirements with environmental and social considerations, the association has played a significant role in fostering a sustainable and thriving forestry industry in Western Canada.

OUR MERGER

WFCA was established in 2017, through a merger of two organizations with a long history of supporting forestry contracting business in BC.

The Western Forestry Contractors’ Association (WFCA) was created through the merger of two key organizations in British Columbia: the Society of Consulting Foresters of BC and the Western Silvicultural Contractors’ Association (WSCA).

The Society of Consulting Foresters, founded in 1968 as part of the Association of BC Forest Professionals, originally aimed to elevate the status of forestry consultants and improve work standards. Later, it shifted its focus to enhancing membership value and advocating for a thriving forest sector.

The Western Silvicultural Contractor’s Association (WSCA), which was established in 1984, had a primary focus on advocating for forest resource policies that were effective and regulatory environments that were practical, with a particular emphasis on influencing labor regulations and safety initiatives. Prior to the formation of WSCA, contractors, workers, and worker-cooperatives were part of the Pacific Reforestation Workers Association (PRWA). However, after WSCA’s formation, PRWA continued for a few years before eventually dissolving.

The merger between these two organizations was driven by a shared goal of having a stronger collective voice in advocating for members and leveraging resources. It also promotes collaboration in business practices, policy advocacy, and safety programming, all in support of sustainable resource management and business sustainability.

OUR VISION:

To serve our members, partners, communities, and forests.

OUR MILESTONES

At the Western Forestry Contractors’ Association, our achievements stand as a testament to our unwavering commitment to the sustainable management of forest resources. Over the years, we have played a pivotal role in fostering collaboration among forestry professionals, advocating for responsible forestry practices, and advancing the well-being of forest-dependent communities. Through our dedication to education, training, and advocacy, we have contributed significantly to the preservation of our forests, ensuring their vitality for generations to come. Our achievements reflect our enduring passion for the environment and our determination to make a positive impact on the forestry industry and the world at large.

2024 - Establishment of the Reforestation Services Supply Chain Committee

Working with the Office of the Chief Forester, the WFCA played a key role in establishing the Reforestation Services Supply Chain Committee, intended to manage and monitor supply and demand and other factors affecting the capacity and reliability of the forestry sector.

2023 - Implementation of the BC Silviculture Labour Force Strategy

The WFCA negotiated a three-year Labour Market Partnership agreement to implement the BC Silviculture Labour Force Strategy, offering free training and related safety and human resource development training and support to workers and employers in the forestry sector.

2021 - Negotiation of a Labour Market Partnership Research Agreement

The WFCA negotiated a Labour Market Partnership research agreement with the BC Government to update and expand existing silviculture labour market information and develop a labour market strategy to maintain and develop our vital reforestation and ecosystem restoration workforce.

2020 - Securing Relief Funds for Forestry Companies Amid COVID-19

After lobbying from the WFCA, the Federal Government announced the Forest Sector Safety Measures Fund, including $30 million in relief to small and medium-sized forestry companies across Canada to offset additional COVID-19 costs. BC’s share was $9.3 million, much of it going to silviculture firms.

2020 - Development of COVID-19 Industrial Camp and Communicable Disease Guidelines

As the COVID-19 lockdown threatened the B.C. and Alberta reforestation programs, the WFCA worked with the BC Chief Forester, the BC Forestry Safety Advocate, and the Public Health Officers in both provinces to develop COVID-19 Industrial Camp and Communicable Disease Guidelines for planting operations. More than 400 million seedlings were planted between the provinces without a single worker reporting COVID symptoms.

2019 - Formation of the BC Wildfire Service Contract Advisory Committee

The WFCA and BC Wildfire Services drafted the terms of reference for the BC Wildfire Service Contract Advisory Committee (WSCAC), intending to create a partnership to better manage transactional and strategic challenges for contract wildfire suppression service providers. However, the group lapsed in 2022 after an internal report noted a lack of trust between contractors and BCWS and among the contractors themselves.

2018 - Representation on the Minister’s Public Advisory Committee

Forest Minister Doug Donaldson invited the WFCA Executive Director to sit on his Minister’s Public Advisory Committee, representing the forestry labour and services supply chain in advising the government on its proposed changes to forest policy and legislation, marking the first time the silviculture sector has been represented on this important panel of advisors.

2017 - Formation of the Western Forestry Contractors’ Association

Members of the Consulting Foresters of BC and the Western Silvicultural Contractors Association voted at their respective AGMs to join together to form the Western Forestry Contractors’ Association, unanimously agreeing they could achieve their forest advocacy goals more effectively as one group.

2017 - Appointment of Jordan Tesluk as BC Forestry Safety Advocate by B.C. SAFE Forestry Program

The B.C. SAFE Forestry Program appointed Jordan Tesluk as the BC Forestry Safety Advocate, empowering him to serve as an independent health and safety advisor and communicator to employees, employers, and WorkSAFEBC within our sector.

2016 - Inquiry into Emergency Response for Remote Workplaces

Due to safety concerns raised by the WSCA and the BC Forest Safety Council, BC Forest Safety Ombudsman Roger Harris conducted an inquiry into emergency response for remote workplaces, recommending the Province provide Helicopter Emergency Medical Services (HEMS) for resource workers and rural communities. The report, “Will It Be There: A Report on Helicopter Emergency Services in BC,” was released at the 2017 WSCA Annual Conference.

2014 - Publication of Report on Remote Worksite Emergency Response

The BC SAFE Forestry Program published Report on Matters Related to Remote Worksite Emergency Response in the B.C. Silviculture Sector, recommending ways for the industry to improve effective emergency response planning for remote worksites in BC.

2013 - Hosting of Second International Wildfire Conference

WSCA hosted its second international wildfire conference in Kelowna, titled “Firestorm 2003 Ten Years After.” Part of the program included a retrospective of the disastrous 2011 Slave Lake Wildfire, framing the risks and vulnerabilities of northern communities to this kind of natural disaster. Those hazards were realized again in the 2016 Fort McMurray Wildfire and last year’s threat to Yellowknife NWT.

2012 - Partnership for Silviculture Labour Market Information Study

The WSCA partnered with the federal and provincial governments to conduct the first Silviculture Labour Market Information Study and Workforce Strategy, recognizing the silviculture sector’s contribution to the provincial economy, describing its workforce, and establishing tree planting and silviculture work as an occupation rather than a “life-style”.

2012 - Inclusion of Silviculture Account in Compensation Fund

Forestry Service Providers Compensation Fund included a special silviculture account as a result of WSCA input, ensuring silviculture contractors, consultants, and nurseries were eligible for financial relief for unpaid services due to client insolvency.

2011 - Collaboration on Review of Khaira Situation

The WSCA and the BC SAFE Forestry Program collaborated with Roger Harris, BC Forest Safety Ombudsman, to produce his Review of Failures Leading to the Khaira Situation, involving a rogue forestry contractor who egregiously abused the rights of his workers, many of them immigrants.

2009 - Continuation of Annual Forestry Conference Amid Recession

Facing widespread stress and pessimism following the 2008 housing bubble collapse and recession, the WSCA held its 2009 Annual Conference, Tradeshow, and AGM as an act of optimism, thus holding this important yearly forestry event uninterrupted since the early 80s to the present.

2008 - Development of Resource Road Driving Training Curriculum

The WSCA’s BC SAFE Forestry Program developed a Resource Road Driving Training Curriculum for forestry operations, which later became the standard for light truck driving in forestry and other resource sectors, now administered by BC Forest Safety.

2007 - Initiation of Summer Business and Market Summit

The first annual WSCA Summer Business and Market Summit was held in Kamloops to provide information to contractors regarding upcoming sowing and planting demand. The WFCA has held this event every year since.

2007 - Establishment of BCTS Contract Advisory Committee (BCAC)

In collaboration with BC Timber Sales (BCS), the WSCA established the terms of reference for the BCTS Contract Advisory Committee (BCAC). This initiative enabled the service supply contracting sector to provide advice and recommendations on silviculture contract procurement and administration.

2006 - Cooperation in Landmark Safety Report Production

The WSCA cooperated with Jordan Tesluk in producing his landmark report, “Health and Safety in the Tree Planting Industry,” the first empirical survey of the sector reflecting its demographics, safety practices, and cultural temper.

2004 - Establishment of BC Forest Safety Council

The WSCA supported founding the BC Forest Safety Council, including creating the BC SAFE Forestry Program and its Strategic Advisory Committee (SAC) to guide the development and implementation of safety programs for the silviculture sector.

2004 - Hosting of BC’s First International Wildfire Conference

The WSCA hosted BC’s first International Conference on Wildfire in Whistler as part of the WFCA’s ongoing work to warn decision-makers of the growing threat of wildfire to the province.

2003 - Participation in Forest Safety Task Force

The WSCA participated in the Forest Safety Task Force, contributing to its Report and Action Plan to Eliminate Deaths and Serious Injuries in British Columbia’s Forests, intended to pull the BC Forest Industry back from the brink of being shut down due to unacceptable numbers of deaths and serious injuries.

2003 - Engagement in Wildfire Risk Review

The WSCA made representations to the Gary Filmon Review of the wildfire risk in British Columbia after the 2003 Firestorm. In the year previous, the WFCA supported independent fire science research analyzing the growing wildfire threat in the South Interior, appearing to anticipate many of the disastrous wildfires that occurred in 2003.

2001 - Conducting the First Health and Safety Needs Assessment

WSCA joins the BC Forest Industry Safety Association in conducting the first health and safety needs assessment for the silviculture sector to guide strategies to reduce workplace injuries and improve workplace safety for planting and forestry operations.

2000 - Enactment of Employment Standards Silviculture Regulation

The Employment Standards Silviculture Regulation is enacted as a result of WFCA and employees’ efforts, formally recognizing silviculture piece work and establishing effective rules to ensure workers benefited from minimum wage and other rights.

WHERE WE ARE HEADED

The WFCA serves its members by remaining dedicated to effective advocacy for our valued members in the business community.

Our core focus is to generate value for our members and the public by advancing forest policy and improving the practice of silviculture and ecosystem restoration. We accomplish this by cooperating as a sector and working with all levels of government, regulatory agencies, and our industry clients. We are the public face of our sector.

Communications

We continue to provide regular communication and press releases about industry issues and events including annual conferences and staging international conferences on wildfire.

Business Practices

conductWe advocate for sound, appropriate regulations and standards (labour and contracting standards) and establishment of value-based business practices, guided by our code of conducts.

Forest Policy

We advocate for sound forest policies to promote the health and resilience of BC’s forest as we adapt to climate change.

Safety & Labour

We actively participate in the Forest Safety Council and advocate for implementation of safety programming and training for the industry.