Western Forestry Contractors’ Association
Rumour Mill RoundUpDate
26 June 2020
Volume 20 Issue 8

Warning: Consistent with BC’s Restart Plan this publication may include some non-essential facts.

Guidance on COVID-19 Management for the
Tree Planting Summer Shuffle Released


Around 51-million hot-lifted seedlings are scheduled for planting this July and August in the B.C. Interior just as our provincial government relaxes some COVID-19 restrictions. Planters are being advised to be cautious in their interactions with communities as camps and crews relocate for the summer planting season.

BC Forest Safety Advocate Jordan Tesluk has released guidance to employers and workers on how to continue keeping COVID-19 out of forestry and tree planting crews as the field season shifts from spring to summer planting. Read more here. The 2020 summer planting program, which starts in July, is estimated to be around 51-million seedlings hot-lifted straight from nurseries to planting projects. Unlike the estimated ~ 240-milliion spring seedlings that are scheduled for thawing in time to plant, summer stock is less predictable being its availability for planting is subject to the growth of the seedlings. Spring planting typically winds down in June. This can lead to gaps between spring and summer projects and down time for crews. It is also a time when workers may move to other crews to extend their planting season into the summer. As provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry has warned, COVID-19 is still among us, therefore this summer shuffle needs to be conducted so planters safely manage their contact with communities as they travel and relocate for work.

Pinnacle of Planting Production Summited with
Three Reports of 10K Planted in a Single Day This Spring


Standing on Mount Everest—figuratively speaking—Brinkman planter Lucas Grawbarger seen here in north west Ontario where he planted 10,000 trees in a I a single day earlier this month.

Planting 10,000 trees in a day is the Mount Everest of tree-planting production and few mortals achieve it. So, to hear of at least three such prodigies in one season is exceptional, especially in the dullness of these COVID-19 times when we are all in such need of brightening. Lucas Grawbarger got up before the Ontario blackflies and worked from dawn until dusk with the help of some cheerleaders and water and tree porters to break the 10K barrier. We are investigating unconfirmed stories of two others here in the north west of B.C. doing the same. For these kinds of things to occur they need a syzygy of circumstances: one production-driven individual, suitable ground, and not the worst of weather. What is even more remarkable is that the quality of the planting did not suffer in the case of Mr. Grawbarger a 15-year veteran according to his supervisor.

ETV Unit WorkSafeBC Hearings
May Not Wind Up Until Fall


WorkSafeBC stop usage orders on the Express Custom ETV unit were issued May 2019 and rescinded later in the fall. There is nothing prohibiting their use as the manufacturer contests a stop production order prohibiting their sale.

There are over 300 Express Custom ETV units in the field and the Parksville, B.C. manufacturer is hoping to be able to put more of them there soon. Last year in the spring a WorkSafeBC officer issued to some employers stop usage orders for the units citing what were seen as faults in the design and function of the slip-in boxes. This left in legal limbo wildfire, forestry and logging crews who were using the units as part of their required emergency response plans for seriously injured workers. The manufacturer’s appeal of the stop usage orders succeeded last fall in rescinding the orders and allowing for their use. But a separate stop production order by WorkSafeBC remains in effect. According to a spokesman for Express Custom the hearing on if they can begin selling their units again may take until September to conclude.