Western Forestry Contractors’ Association
Rumor Mill RoundUpDate
28 February, 2020
Volume 20 Issue 2

Warning: Although there are interruptions to global supply chains this edition contains a full set of facts and their component parts.

A Statement by the WFCA on its Commitment to Improving Workplace Safety and Preventing Harassment and Violence in Forestry Work.

The WFCA states how it has worked to eliminate harassment and sexual assaults in treeplanting and how ongoing strategies with employers and employees will continue to make the sector safer.

One of the things that makes planting trees in Canada exceptional is the number of women who make up the seasonal workforce compared to the rest of the resource sectors. A 2015 BC labour market survey estimated women share nearly half the sector’s hard work and conditions. As a result, thousands of young women have grown strong, grown independent, made good money, and made good friends planting trees. But the egalitarianism of the work may not be true in all respects. With thousands of young women and men working together in the woods there are some risks. Click here to read more.

Bid Trends Show Signs Planting Sector at Capacity for 2020

Meanwhile all government planting solicitations were answered with no perverse price spikes. If it was otherwise it would have shown bidders were unwilling to commit to any more volume.

Open tendered low bid auction planting solicitations in BC increased to 80 million seedlings for this year, up 20-million from last. This increase is roughly half the 40-million year-to-year increase that makes 2020 at 310-million seedlings a record volume. According to the same analysis by Jonathon “Scooter” Clark presented at last month’s WFCA conference average lowest bid prices continued to rise to 51.1 cents per tree up from 32 cents in 2016. Clark noted prices have tended to increase in today’s market as the annual bidding tournament progresses. He told foresters to take note and tender early to get better prices. He also advised contractors to not “lock up” early tendered trees by bidding lower. Which makes us think these two strategies might tend to cancel one another. We will leave that to the invisible hand of the market. Meanwhile, looking at the volume for the spring we have to wonder if that invisible hand knows how to plant.

Safety Advocate Regional Safety Workshops to Continue Across BC

Turnout continues to be high for the BC SAFE Forestry Program’s Forestry Safety Advocate workshops now being held at various locations across the province and continuing this spring.

For 2020, the Forestry Safety Advocate initiative has started a series of regional workshops, led by Jordan Tesluk. These free events are aimed at bringing together staff from silviculture and consultant forestry companies to discuss key health and safety issues in the industry, and to share resources to support training and planning in their operations. Central topics in 2020 include reviewing early intervention strategies for front-line staff (crew bosses and supervisors) to prevent sexual harassment, introducing new ergonomic teaching resources, emergency response planning, and preventing illness and infections – a challenge accentuated by the recent Coronavirus outbreak. The workshops provide an opportunity to share ideas about improving health and safety, prime staff on key issues for the impending season of work, and provide the Advocate with feedback to help guide the BC Safe Forestry Program in further training and resource development.

The first three workshops attracted representatives from 18 different companies to events in Courtenay, Nelson, and Nanaimo. The next workshop is scheduled for March 5th in Victoria from 3pm to 8pm at the Vic West Community Centre, and further workshops are being planned for the Smithers-Terrace area later in March, and Kamloops and Prince George in late April. Companies that may be interested in participating or having staff attend can inquire at forestrysafetyadvocate@gmail.com.