Western Forestry Contractors’ Association
Rumor Mill RoundUpDate

13 March, 2020
Volume 20 Issue 3

Warning: All the facts contained in this publication remain resolute and calm in the face of certain adversities as we keep our hands clean and our humour dry.

Tree Planting Underway with Hand-Cleaning, Self-Screening, and Good Sleep

A stockhandler works an airlift-sling of seedlings for a planting crew working on the West Coast this week. Brian Bullock photo

Although today’s pandemic may seem everywhere our best defences are close at hand, literally. Hand washing, social distancing and self-screening are being asked of tree planters as they start to report for work on one of the largest B.C. seasonal planting campaigns on record. Employers are advising workers to watch themselves and their close associates for symptoms before they join their crews in the next few weeks. “Consider your obligation to each other, and to our society (AND to those small towns we visit) to do what we can to not spread the virus to our crews or other people,” said Forestry Safety Advocate Jordan Tesluk on social media recently. For their part employers are working with regional health authorities to establish best practices on camp hygiene and how to deal with any workers who may get sick. Fortunately, tree planters are not among the cohort most at risk for severe consequences. Besides all the previous recommended practices, after a hard day’s work a good night’s sleep will help keep immune systems firing on all cylinders, which may come in handy.

For more information:

  • Please click here for BC Medical Health Officers
  • Please click here for COVID-19 Fact Sheet
  • Please click here for BCCDC overview of COVID-19

WFCA Members Approve New Code of Conduct

WFCA members updated their previous Code of Ethics, replacing it with a Code of Conduct built on the principles of respect for workers, clients, communities and one another.

WFCA members voted at last January’s AGM to adopt a new Code of Conduct replacing the association’s previous Code of Ethics drafted in the 1990s. The new guidelines now align with rules applying to professional consulting forester members who are bound, as well, by the Foresters Act. The revisions also reframed some priorities that may have been current 30 years ago, but now seem dated. For instance, the old Code dealt specifically with stashing trees and other instances of bad behaviour from the time. But rather than inventory offences, the new Code of Conduct describes expected behaviours of its members built around the principle of respect. It also has stronger wording on workplace harassment, which given recent events, is timely. It states, “Respect workers’ rights: Set rules and good examples for respectful behavior among workers and act with vigilance to eliminate any workplace harassment, workplace violence, or workplace discrimination;” To read the full Code of Conduct please click here.

Government of Canada Seeks Views on Achieving Two-Billion Tree Commitment

Key stakeholders from across Canada met in Ottawa today to discuss the design of our federal government’s program to use forests and other natural systems to mitigate climate change.

As part of an ongoing program of strategic consultations the head of the Canadian Forest Service hosted a stakeholder workshop today in Ottawa asking questions and seeking recommendations on how our federal government can best realize its commitment to plant two billion seedlings over ten years across Canada. Assistant Deputy Minister Beth MacNeil cited Natural Resources Minister Seamus O’Regan’s belief “that there is no solution to climate change without forests.” In figuring out what that would look like in practice MacNeill framed nursery capacity, silviculture activities, intensive forestry, collaboration and partnerships, new technologies and research, land availability, tree species, monitoring and reporting as key considerations. The attendees including industry representatives, reforestation NGOs, environmental groups, private landowners, First Nations and NRC staff looked at strategies for public land, private land, urban forestry, afforestation, landscape reforestation and intensive forestry. MacNeil recognized the carbon sequestration work being done through the Low Carbon Economy Fund in B.C. citing it as a good example of collaboration between governments. But it looks possible that the goals under consideration for the future may be wider in scope than what the LCEF allowed. Nevertheless, just what becomes possible and when is dependent on our federal budget. During the workshop Parliament announced it would suspend its deliberations delaying the next budget until later in the spring due to the Corona virus threat. The WFCA, after attending the workshop, is arranging further meetings with the ADM to assist with the strategizing.