Wrapping Up 2020
While 2020 has been a challenging year, we can all be inspired by the way British Columbians have come together to support each other during this health crisis. And as the road to economic recovery continues, the forest industry is well positioned to help B.C. get back on its feet.

Thousands of British Columbians in communities across the province rely on our industry for their livelihoods through employment at mills, wood products and pulp and paper manufacturing facilities, silviculture, logging operations and more. And, as you’ll read in this edition of COFI Connects, thousands of suppliers in every region of the province also rely on forestry for their livelihoods by providing a wide array of goods and services to our industry.

All of us in forestry are committed to continue working in partnership with workers, government, Indigenous leaders and communities to create a better British Columbia for everyone. By re-doubling our efforts in the coming weeks and months, we will get through this pandemic together.

As we head into this unique holiday season, we wish you health and happiness and we look forward to a brighter 2021.

In this issue

  • Study Confirms Forest Industry has Deep Roots, Builds Strong Communities
  • Growing Better Products for the Planet
  • Business Community Join Forces for a Brighter Future for British Columbians
  • Forest Education Program Goes Virtual
  • 2020 Scholarships Awarded
  • 2021 Convention Coming to a Screen Near You
Susan Yurkovich
President & CEO

What does a forester in Prince George, a drone maker in Vancouver and an environmental consultant in Victoria all have in common? They all live and work in a forestry community.

A new study shows that in 2019, COFI members purchased $7 billion of goods and services from nearly 9,900 suppliers. Suppliers – big and small located in over 340 communities, and from 120 Indigenous nations and organizations. These businesses are located not only in smaller communities, but also substantially in urban centres.

About $2 billion worth of goods and services was purchased from 2,100 businesses located across 19 municipalities in Metro Vancouver. On Vancouver Island, 1,600 suppliers provided $1.2 billion worth of goods and services. In the North, 970 suppliers in Prince George provided $718 million in goods and services. And more than 550 businesses from Kelowna and Kamloops in the Interior provided a combined $220 million of the forestry supply chain spend. Business agreements and stewardship partnerships between the forest industry and Indigenous Nations provided about $250 million in economic benefits to Indigenous communities.

Read our column in the Province, and learn more about the study here.
B.C.’s forests play a critical role in helping fight climate change. Through sustainable forest management, we increase the carbon storage power of our forests. And the forest products shipped around the world are renewable, store carbon for the lifetime of the product, and provide an alternative to more fossil-fuel intensive materials. Learn more about how low-carbon forest products are helping to fight climate change here.
Together, for a Brighter Future for all British Columbians

COFI was one of several business organizations co-signing an op-ed in November calling for the same Team BC approach that is getting us through the pandemic be applied to overcoming the economic and social challenges ahead. We are all prepared to roll up our sleeves and work as a partner with government, communities, Indigenous leaders, labour and others. The op-ed ran across Black Press media outlets throughout the province. You can read it here.
For years we’ve brought our Forest Education Program to students in B.C.’s Interior. Now, we’ve expanded our reach by going online! That means, what we used to do in-class and in the field can now be done virtually so more students, teachers and parents – whether they’re in Prince George, Nanaimo or downtown Vancouver – can take part. Learn more and book a virtual classroom visit here.
COFI has announced the recipients of its 2020 Forestry Scholarships. They are awarded to students who are enrolled at specific post-secondary institutions with the goal of pursing a professional, technical or trades career in the forest sector. This year, 12 scholarships were awarded:

  • Samantha Rush, Victoria, studying to be a forest technician at Vancouver Island University
  • Morgan Wood, Prince George, studying to be a welder at the College of New Caledonia
  • Dylan Strelaeff, Castlegar, studying forest technology at Selkirk College
  • Olivia Card, Monte Creek, studying forest and natural areas management at BC Institute of Technology
  • Patrick Vahi, Vanderhoof, studying natural resources management at the University of Northern British Columbia
  • Joseph Frisby, Quesnel, studying natural resources and forest technology at the College of New Caledonia
  • Darcy Green, Abbotsford, studying forest and natural areas management at BC Institute of Technology
  • Alexander Itcush, Port Moody, studying forest technology at Selkirk College
  • Jennifer Lindley, Nanaimo, studying to be a forestry resource technician at Vancouver Island University
  • Ethan Bisschop, Smithers, studying forest and natural areas management at the BC Institute of Technology

We are proud to support the next generation of bright, young minds in continuing their education in forestry and advancing further research and innovation.

Learn more about the scholarship program and how to apply here.
Mark your calendars. COFI’s annual convention will be held on Thursday, April 8, from 8:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. PDT in a virtual format. Stay tuned for more news on the convention, including the program, guest speakers and registration info. Hope to see you then!