Welcome to COFI Connects!
The COFI team has hit the ground running in 2021.

Earlier this month, we held our first virtual COFI Convention, welcoming more than 700 delegates. From the role of B.C.’s forestry industry in economic recovery to the state of Canada-U.S. relations to the path forward on UNDRIP and advancing reconciliation, we heard perspectives from Premier John Horgan, Minister Katrine Conroy, Ambassador Kristen Hillman, BC Regional Chief Terry Teegee, Chief Councillor Robert J. Dennis, USW Local 1-1937 President Brian Butler, industry CEOs and many more. I know all of us are already looking forward to next year’s conference in Vancouver, where we can reconnect in person with friends and colleagues. 

Prior to the conference, COFI released an economic impact study that demonstrates again that the forest industry continues to have a big impact in B.C. – putting money in people’s pockets, helping small businesses pay their bills and supporting a better quality of life for British Columbians.

As we reflect on the convention and study results, it’s clear our industry has a bright future. Customers around the world continue to look for the sustainably produced, low-carbon forest products that our industry offers. And we are continuing to innovate and invest in B.C. to meet that demand.

And as we continue to recover from the impacts of the pandemic, B.C.’s forest industry is, and will continue to be, well positioned to help get people back to work and lift communities up.

In this issue:
  • Study Shows Forest Industry Has Big Economic Impact
  • A Path Forward in B.C.’s Old Growth Strategic Review
  • Investing in the Next Generation of Talent
  • 2021 COFI Scholarships Applications
  • COFI 2022 Convention
Susan Yurkovich
President & CEO
Study Shows Forest Industry Has Big Economic Impact

A new COFI economic study released shows that B.C.’s forest industry continues to generate significant economic activity in every region of the province.

The study – Contributing to a Better B.C.: 2019 Forest Industry Economic Impact Study – found that, in 2019, the provincial forest industry:
  • supported more than 100,000 jobs
  • generated over $13 billion in GDP
  • paid nearly $8.5 billion in wages, salaries, and benefits
  • contributed over $4 billion in government revenue to support health, education and other important social services
  • invested about $14 billion in B.C. operations between 2009 and 2019

You can see our executive summary or read the study here.
A Path Forward for B.C.’s Old Growth Strategic Review

As the B.C. government continues to advance the Old Growth Strategic Review, COFI’s President and CEO Susan Yurkovich and the United Steelworkers’ Wood Council Chair Jeff Bromley have joined together to advance a position that offers a path forward that will benefit all British Columbians.

COFI and the USW are calling for an evidenced-based, balanced, province-wide strategy not only for old growth, but all of B.C.’s forests — a strategy that ensures healthy and resilient forests, helps tackle climate change, and provides stability and predictability for First Nations, labour, industry and communities.

Both agree that it is time to review and modernize B.C.’s forest policy. However, “it’s critical that First Nations, communities, labour, industry, and others be engaged throughout the process. It’s also essential that decisions about B.C.’s forest resources are grounded in and informed by science, good data, robust socio-economic analysis and incorporate traditional knowledge. This will ensure that government’s objectives are achieved while also minimizing the potential for negative impacts on cultural uses, jobs, families and communities in both urban and rural B.C.”

You can read the op-ed here

You can have your say and support this position by submitting a letter here.
New Business of Sawmilling Program at BCIT

In continued partnership with Interfor, Canfor, West Fraser and Tolko, BCIT has launched a new Associate Certificate Program – the Business of Sawmilling. This new program focuses on educating forest industry workers about essential business skills – helping them grow and advance within their organization and the industry.

The pilot cohort of this program was launched in October 2020 and has already seen early indications of success. There will be 28 more participants from eight companies starting in the next cohort of this program in May 2021.

The new program builds on the success of the Industrial Wood Processing Program (IWP), established in 2016 by BCIT and its forest company partners, and designed to develop current employees and expand their knowledge of all aspects of lumber manufacturing. The part-time program is delivered mostly online, allowing employees to earn while they learn and apply their new skills on-the-job. Successful graduates of the program receive an Associate Certificate from BCIT upon completing the program.

There are now 19 companies across North America that have so far sent more than 280 participants to IWP.

Many B.C. forest sector CEOs have a personal connection to BCIT and IWP, with previous versions of the diploma program counting many of today’s industry leaders as graduates, including Ian Fillinger, President and CEO of Interfor, and Don Kayne, CEO of Canfor.

For more information, visit: Industrial Wood Processing Program
COFI Catch-Up
Calling All Students

COFI is now accepting applications for the 2021 Forestry Scholarship!
Part of COFI’s mission is to support students pursuing post-secondary education or training in a skilled trades program associated with the forest industry. COFI is awarding 13 $2,000 scholarships this year, including three COFI Indigenous Forestry Scholarships in partnership with New Relationship Trust Foundation (NRTF).

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

The closing date for applying to the scholarships is June 4. For more information on eligibility and application requirements, visit COFI’s Scholarship Program cofi.org. Indigenous students are encouraged to apply for the NRTF-COFI awards through the NRTF. For more information on the foundation and its programs, please visit nrtf.ca.

Save the Date

Mark your calendars. COFI’s 2022 Convention will be held in Vancouver on April 27-29 at the JW Marriott Parq Vancouver. Stay tuned for more news on the convention, including the program, guest speakers and registration info. Hope to see you then!