Set for Victoria B.C. on the 3, 4, 5, of Feburary here’s the outline of our ambitious program of offerings on policy and practice in the surprisingly interesting forestry sector.

Western Silvicultural Contractors Association

24 October 2003

WSCA 2004 Annual Conference, AGM, and Trade Show Program

Next year’s WSCA conference will be held:

3,4,5 February 2004 Laurel Point Inn, Victoria, B.C.

Program Outline: We are in the process of confirming speakers and presenters for some of the plenary sessions and workshops. Here is a list of the topics we will cover.

Liability and wildfire insurance: Are you really covered? Plenary session.

This year a WSCA contractor thought he was covered by his wildfire insurance only to find out he had no coverage for potential wildfire costs because he was NOT negligent regarding a fire that broke out on one of his planting blocks. That paradox lead to a protracted tour with his broker through the small print of his policy revealing an array of possible gaps in his coverage. Many contractors have similar policies. Contract provisions with clients often add another layer of uncovered liability. Pending changes in B.C. to the Wildfire Act and regulations may further confuse the issue. We will review this situation with speakers from the insurance industry.

Forest Industry in survival mode: What does it mean for contractors and the forests? Panel.

As industry waits out hard times, the softwood dispute, and government’s plan to redistribute a portion of the cut, silvicultural contractors have watched investments in forestry practices and workplace standards decline. The conference will hold a panel discussion to ask industry representatives to explain their current tactics and what it might mean for silvicultural contractors and the resource. Also included in the discussion will be other independent contractor groups who are challenging the ill treatment they believe they are receiving at the hands of forestry corporations. An economist and a government spokesman will look at the way we might expect markets to behave and what new regulations may effect the present situation for better or worse.

Wildfire suppression contracting: How can we increase the utilization of the private sector in wildfire suppression?

Plenary discussion with B.C. deputy minister of forests (invited)

This year the large component of private fire line contractors and crews on the fire lines in Western Canada (at some points up to a quarter of the personnel) received scant notice from the media and the general public. Is the current centralized agency approach to wildfire protection the best approach? Can private contractors offer a constructive alternative and how can they be more integrated into the protection program?

Restoring forest health: What opportunities does this hold for forestry contractors? Plenary Session

Wildfire fighting, prescribed burning, eco-system restoration work, urban-interface fuel mitigation, making private residences fire resistant, etc. are some of the new emerging work opportunities that will need competent service providers in the future. What exactly are the skills and equipment entrepreneurs will need to fill this need? What policy changes will it take to make these needed practices funded or self-supported priorities? Invited speakers include US contractors and local fire practitioners and consultants already engaged in pilot projects.

Crisis management: What do good companies do when bad things happen? Leslie Habetler speaker.

Imagine the worst and then picture how prepared you and your company are to deal with it. US crisis management consultant Leslie Habetler will speak and hold a workshop on how to prepare your company for a crisis and avoid potential business-ending tragedies.

Fitness and Nutrition: How you can prevent injuries and maintain wellness on crews through nutrition, wellness and pre-season training. Dr. Delia Roberts speaker

This year Weyerhaeuser completed its research into silvicultural worker injuries and now in collaboration with the Forest Industry Safety Association will present its results at the WSCA conference. Simple athletic training and nutritional regimes can maintain productivity and reduce injuries to silvicultural workers.

Young Workers: How can you reach and teach young people on health and safety when they believe they are immortal? Smart Risk presentation.

The majority of silvicultural workers are young workers between the ages of 15 and 24. They are conspicuously injury-prone, often tragically, for a number of reasons. We will hear how they can be taught to manage the risks they take in a way that will reduce their propensity to injure themselves.

This is part of the conference line up we are working on. Expect to hear from the Minister of Forests Mike de Jong on funding and the latest developments in forest policy. Labour Minister Graham Bruce has been asked to address the issue of declining employment standards compliance in our sector. The Forest Industry Safety Association will present its new health and safety training programs currently under development. We will advise you with updates to the program as speakers and presenters are confirmed.

For more information and to register call the WSCA Vancouver office: 604-736-8660 or visit