With the current status and the future of the forest industry on most rural British Columbians’ minds, the BC Council of Forest Industries (COFI) annual convention in Prince George started on April 5 and concludes April 6.
More than 500 people were expected to attend, including local government and industry representatives from Quesnel and area.
The convention program will cover topics critical to the industry, including trade, international markets, economic outlook, Canada-U.S. relations, technology and preparing for the next generation of the workforce.
There are 140 communities across the province that depend on the forest sector through mills, manufacturing facilities, forestry and logging operations, says Susan Yurkovich, COFI president and CEO.
“The forest industry is a key economic driver in the province, generating one out of every 17 jobs, making it one of British Columbia’s largest employers at more than 140,000 total jobs that generate $8.6 billion in wages to workers.”
Premier John Horgan, who says he is committed to a strong, vibrant and diverse forest industry and understands the importance of forestry to B.C.’s economy, will give a Keynote speech on today (April 6) at 9 a.m.
Marc Garneau, Canada’s Minister of Transport and chair of the Cabinet Committee on Canada-United States Relations will speak on behalf of Ambassador David MacNaughton who is busy with the NAFTA talks.
Garneau will provide an update on Canada-U.S. trade relations.
Three B.C. cabinet ministers with responsibility for land, environment and jobs in B.C. will also speak.
Forest company CEOs will provide their perspective on the current challenges and opportunities facing the forest industry in B.C., and share their insights into what the future holds for the sector.
B.C.’s Chief Forester, Diane Nicholls — ADM & Chief Forester of the Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resources, Operations and Rural Development — will provide a presentation on sustainability in the forest sector, and give an update with respect to the timber harvesting land base.
There will also be several other presentations and discussions on forestry issues and changes in B.C. and Canada.
Visit the convention website at https://www.cofi.org/convention/2018-convention/ to view the program and for other conference information.