Opinion | Workforce Diversity - Canada's Forest Sector Branches Out

Derek Nighbor
  |  
February 20, 2019

The transformation that is happening in Canada’s forest products sector is not limited to the new technologies we see in our forests and at our mills, nor in the new global markets we are reaching.  It is also reflected in the changing face of our workforce.

The iconic lumberjack, so fondly associated with the tradition of Canadian forestry is, in fact, something of yesteryear.  Today, our sector sports almost as many lab coats as we do safety vests.  We also see an increasing number of women now working in the woods and in mills across the country.  That said, we have much more work to do.

Only 17% of workers in our sector are women.  While that number is on the rise, we see a huge opportunity to promote careers in the forest sector as an option for both men and women who might not yet be thinking about us.  Diverse and inclusive workforces are demonstrably positive for all business sectors, and FPAC could not be happier to see a number of gender diversity opportunities getting national profile.

In November of last year, along with the Canadian Institute of Forestry, the federal government announced the Gender Equality in Forestry National Action Plan, a Canada-wide effort to promote opportunities for women in forestry.  The intent is to help the forest sector identify and address the barriers and gaps that stand in our way to maximizing the participation of women in our industry.

To make this happen, it is also important to ensure that our potential workers of tomorrow are aware of the role models and jobs that are out there.  That’s why, in conjunction with the United Nations’ International Day of Women and Girls in Science on February 11, Forest Products Association of Canada (FPAC) launched the #TakeYourPlace campaign to encourage women to think about careers in the forest products sector.  The campaign builds on other targeted efforts across Canada like the Alberta Forest Product Association’s #WomenInForestry campaign.

Today, Canada’s forest products sector directly employs over 230,000 people and thousands more are going to be needed in the next 10 years to fill an array of good jobs in engineering, skilled trades, mill and woodlands operations, and administration.  There is room for everyone in our sector, and tapping into a diverse talent pool – that goes well beyond gender – is going to be key to our future success.  We see good paying jobs open to men and women, millennials and older workers, as well as real potential to attract more workers from Indigenous communities and in the growing cohorts of new Canadians.

FPAC takes pride in being able to see the forest for the trees.  We know that embracing diversity and inclusion will be key to securing the future – not only for our sector – but for the hundreds of forestry communities that depend on us.Learn more about the jobs that will need to be filled in our sector today and in the years ahead at our interactive The Greenest Workforce website: www.thegreenestworkforce.ca/jobs/index.php/en/labour-market-information/forecast/

For more information contact:
Kerry Patterson-Baker
Vice President, Communications and Public Affairs
Follow FPAC on Twitter: @FPAC_APFC
October 5, 2021
From Zero Waste to Net Zero, Canada’s Forests Are Critical to a Cleaner, Greener Future
Canada’s sustainably-managed forests and the carbon-storing wood products they provide are key to supporting Canada’s transition to a net-zero carbon economy by 2050 - meeting conservation targets and creating the quality green jobs of tomorrow at the same time.
Read This
September 20, 2021
Canada’s Forest Sector Announces Awards of Excellence Recipients, Celebrating Its Best and Brightest
As National Forest Week is celebrated across the country, Forest Products Association of Canada (FPAC) is seizing the opportunity to announce the recipients of its annual Awards of Excellence program – which recognizes the outstanding men and women across Canada who have made exceptional contributions to the forest sector and to forestry communities.
Read This
September 20, 2021
PEI Senator Diane Griffin & Marc Joron of Timmins Honoured as Community Champions by Canada’s Forest Products Sector
Today, FPAC announced that Senator Diane Griffin and Marc Joron of EACOM Timber Corporation have been honoured with the Forest Community Champion Award.
Read This
September 20, 2021
Fabian Glowalla of Mercer Celgar Pulp in Castlegar Receives Innovation Award from Canada’s Forest Products Sector
Today, FPAC announced that Fabian Glowalla of Mercer Celgar Pulp in Castlegar, BC is the recipient of the 2021 Innovation Award.
Read This
September 21, 2020
Lisa Raitt Honoured As Community Champion By Canada's Forest Products Sector
Forest Products Association of Canada recognizes former minister Lisa Raitt's leadership in the forestry sector with Forestry Community Champion award
Read This
November 13, 2019
The Search for Canada's Greenest Workforce
Canada's forest industry is a top employer and global leader in sustainability, forest management, clean technology and innovation
Read This
March 21, 2019
Standing Tall with Canada's Forest Workers on International Day of Forests
Forest Products Association of Canada celebrates forestry communities, workers and world leading forestry management for International Day of Forests
Read This
October 1, 2021
California Procurement Bill Threatens Canadian Forestry Jobs and State Social Housing Initiative
Forest Products Association of Canada (FPAC) and the United Steelworkers (USW) fully support the legislation’s laudable intention to ensure that wood products are responsibly sourced from sustainably managed forests.
Read This
September 5, 2021
Aurelia Jas: The Forbidden Site Prep Tool: FPAC 2021 Green Dream Internship Program
I got a set list of blocks that were to be sprayed, and I needed to walk them to ensure that all waterways had 40-meter buffer boundaries flagged off and check to make sure that all other ephemeral streams were either dried up or not flowing. The last thing we want is to get chemicals into a waterway!
Read This
September 5, 2021
Aurelia Jas: Summer Came and Went: FPAC 2021 Green Dream Internship Program
I was hired as a Woodlands intern with Weyerhaeuser Grande Prairie, which meant that I would be working within silviculture, operations, and planning in a split role. My summer was filled with all sorts of different jobs, such as boundary layout, block re-ribboning, drone flying, road maintenance, and many other jobs that continuously kept me on my toes.
Read This
September 4, 2021
Aurelia Jas: Drone Flights and Road Reclamation: FPAC 2021 Green Dream Internship Program
I’ve seen firsthand the effort that is taken to ensure that harvesting is done in the most sustainable way. Recent cut blocks are surrounded by multi-age stands, varying from 20 to 60 years old, ensuring that a large span of land is never cut at once. Having multi-age stands is important in ensuring that wildlife and biodiversity still have room to grow while we fulfill our wood needs.‍
Read This
October 5, 2021
From Zero Waste to Net Zero, Canada’s Forests Are Critical to a Cleaner, Greener Future
Canada’s sustainably-managed forests and the carbon-storing wood products they provide are key to supporting Canada’s transition to a net-zero carbon economy by 2050 - meeting conservation targets and creating the quality green jobs of tomorrow at the same time.
Read This
August 26, 2021
Universal Access to High-Speed Internet must be a National Priority
It is our hope that during this federal election campaign all parties will continue to support the important call to ensure all Canadians have reliable access to high-speed internet. The future of our northern and rural communities and their ability to strengthen their post-pandemic economies depends on it.
Read This
July 15, 2021
Canadas Forest Sector Announces Winners of Annual Green Dream Internship Program
Forest Products Association of Canada (FPAC) is pleased to announce the winners of its annual Green Dream Internship Program. Winners will blog about their work experiences in Canada’s forests and mills over the course of the summer. 
Read This
May 12, 2021
Canada’s Forest Sector Welcomes Federal Investments That Spur Innovation and Pave the Way to a Net-Zero Future
Earlier today, Canada’s Minister for Natural Resources, the Honourable Seamus O’Regan, launched a call for proposals under the Investments in Forest Industry Transformation (IFIT) program. Forest Products Association of Canada (FPAC) welcomes these federal investments to help advance Canada’s forest sector bio-economy and low-emission energy future, while creating and maintaining jobs in communities across the country.
Read This