The Western Silvicultural Contractors’ Association is pleased to present its 2016 Annual Conference, Trade Show and AGM program and agenda. Our three-day conference includes workplace safety and forest policy plenary presentations, panels and discussions, practical workshops, an equipment and service tradeshow, and networking sessions, along with specific employer and employee training prior to the conference. All this is aimed at foresters, forestry contractors and their employees operating in Western Canada. 

WSCA 2016 Annual Conference, Trade Show and AGM

What’s the big idea? After the mountain pine beetle, now facing climate change; do we have a new vision for forestry and what is it?
February 3, 4, 5, 2016
The Coast Capri Hotel
Kelowna B.C.

Steve Thompson Photo

We are especially pleased to announce Steve Thomson Minister of MFLNRO to give keynote WSCA conference address at our Thursday 4th February evening banquet.
This is a milestone for the Minister and the silviculture industry since this is the first time he has been able to attend our conference. There is much anticipation around what the Minister has to say along with a chance for individual contractors to meet him and talk about their businesses and the industry in general.

Wednesday afternoon 3 February will focus on safety:

We  have made it traditional to start the first half-day of the conference looking at safety. So in keeping with that tradition we have five workplace safety and wellness presentations and Q & As lined up:

Conference Registration begins 12 noon Wednesday 3 February 2016

12:45 pm Welcome and introductions

1:00 to 1:40 pm Why are silviculture assessment rates going up and what can we do about it? 
WorkSafeBC Industry Labour Services Forestry Specialist Lisa Houle along with Rates and Classification Manager Gerry Paquette will look at the trends and factors affecting tree planting assessment rates and offer suggestions for the industry to better manage its safety costs. 

1:40 to 2:20 pm — BC Forest Safety Ombudsman Report on Emergency Response in Remote Worksites.
Ombudsman Roger Harris will summarize his report’s observations and recommendations expected to be released early in the new year.

2:20 to 2:50 pm — Coffee and networking break

2:50 to 3:00 pm — WorkSafeBC Video Every Minute Counts: Emergency Response Planning in Forestry

3:00 to 3:40 pm — How can GIS and telematics improve emergency response results? 
Martin Torn along with his colleagues at Selkirk Systems inc. will lay out ongoing work proposing tracking fallers in the province and how that might serve as a basis for coordinating safety assets on the ground and in the air for forestry operations in remote locations.

3:40 to 4:20 pm — WorkSafeBC’s dual agenda, prevention and criminal prosecution.
Jeff Dolan Director WorkSafeBC Investigations will discuss the implications, legalities and practices around criminal and preventive investigations arising out the the recommendations of Administator Gordon Macatee’s 2014 WorkSafeBC Review and Action Plan.

4:20 to 5:00 pm — Drug and alchohol testing 101: All you need to know, but were afraid to ask, in 40 minutes

Presenter Tom Yearwood LLD, Denning Health Group: Many larger companies are now, or will soon be, requiring contractors to comply with their drug and alcohol testing programs. Find out what you need to know to succeed. Tom will focus on the benefits and pitfalls of drug and alcohol testing in Canada along with the do’s and don’ts necessary to survive a legal challenge of your program. This “action packed” 40 minute presentation will likely cause your head to swirl but you will leave with an understanding of what is required for a successful Drug and Alcohol testing program.

Thursday 4 February Forestry Policy Panel to answer, What’s The Big Idea?

7:30 am registrations continued & tradeshow:

8:15 Welcome and opening remarks

8:30 to 10:15 am Plenary presentations

Thursday morning will be our forest policy plenary session and panel discussion. We certainly have a diverse range of views lining up on the topic of, What is the forestry goal in the post-mountain-pine-beetle-increasingly-intense–wildfire-season-pending-climate-change-looming-timber-shortfall world we are heading into and where does silviculture contracting fit into it? Our panelists include:

Bill Dumont – Independent forester and Forest Practices Board Vice Chair
Bob Turner – MFLNRO ADM Integrated Resource Operations Division, BC Wildfire Services
Andrew Weaver – MLA Oak Bay-Gordon Head,  Leader of the BC Green Party
Bob Fleet – Vice President Environment & Forestry, Tolko Industries Ltd.

10:15 to 11:00 am Coffee, tradeshow, networking session

11:00 to noon Forest Policy Panel including the morning’s presenters with audience participation and moderator John Betts

Noon to 1:30 pm Lunch

1:30 to 2:15 pm — BCTS: Introduction of the new contractor prequalification rating system

BCTS Associate Director Business Management Rob Bigalke will lay out the proposed framework under development for how BCTS will evaluate bids based on the competency and performance of contractors. 

2:15 to 3:00 pm — Resource Development and Wildlife Habitat
Solicitor General Mike Morris was elected to the Legislature for the first time in 2013 and appointed Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations in 2015. He was recently appointed Solicitor General with a responsibility for public safety. We look forward to his summary of his work and observations in his forestry post over the year.

3:00 to 3:30 pm Coffee and networking  break

Thursday afternoon practical workshops:

3:30 to 4:15 Concurrent workshops session one

Proposed incident classification system model presentation

Tom Bigda Peyton has been shepherding our Participatory Action Research (PAR) process for the past three years. This session will look at ongoing work to better classify workplace incidents for benchmarking and analyzing injury trends. 

Dealing with harassment in your company
What are the proper ways to reduce workplace harassment and deal with any allegations once they are made? An introduction to the considerations around human rights and worker rights and the proper steps to take in dealing with allegations of harassment. Presenters to be announced.

4:15 to 5:00 Concurrent workshops session two

Introducing the tree planter Tally App
Presenter and principal designer Steve Mueller: Designed as a practical smart phone tool for workers for keeping track of daily planting totals, it also works as a prompt and primer on worker’s rights under the B.C. Employment Standards Regulation. 

Promising Practices for reducing Musculoskeletal Injuries in silviculture work:

Tom Bigda Peyton will facilitate this session continuing ongoing work sharing sucesses and promising practices in reducing MSIs in the silviculture sector.

5:00 to 6:00 pm hosted reception

6:00 to 8:00 Banquet and Keynote Address with the Honourable Steve Thomson

Friday morning strategic session and members’ AGM

8:30 am to 8:45 —Welcome and opening remarks

8:45 to 9:30 am — MFLNRO Deputy Minister Tim Sheldan will lead off our forest policy strategic working session with his perspectives on government’s vision for forestry.

9:30 am to 10:30 am The WSCA executive will lead a wrap up of key standouts from the conference proceedings and the introduction of some other priorities to guide the WSCA’s overall strategy heading into the 2016.

10:30 am to noon WSCA AGM

At the conclusion of the stratety session WSCA members will convene their association’s AGM.

Training in concert with the Conference (Tuesday 2 Feb. afternoon and Wed. 3 Feb. morning)

Employers’ Adviser Office Seminar: Joint OH&S Committee
Tuesday 2 February 2015 noon to 4:00 pm
The Coast Capri Hotel
Kelowna BC

Employers’ Advisers Office Seminar: Accident investigation
Wednesday 3 February 2016 8:00 am to noon
The Coast Capri Hotel
Kelowna BC


For information on how to register for the conference or sign up for training visit or contact the WSCA office at 604-736-8660

Finally: all our presenters live busy, complicated lives. We always expect things to go as planned. But there is a chance they won’t, so please stay tuned by visiting the WSCA web site for updates on our conference program.