In response to the BC Government’s announcement today that it intends to implement further forest harvesting deferrals in the province, Fiona Famulak, President and CEO of the BC Chamber of Commerce, released the following statement:
“British Columbia’s forest industry is an important economic generator in communities – both rural and urban. These deferrals will have far-reaching consequences. Not only will forestry companies be impacted, so too will the small- and medium-sized businesses that supply the industry with goods and services, and the communities in which they operate. These businesses are located in every single region of the province, from the lower mainland, to the Island, in the north, and the interior. What is especially concerning for the BC Chamber network is this decision is coming at a time when many businesses are still struggling to overcome the challenges of the pandemic.
According to a statement released by the BC Council of Forest Industries (COFI), these deferrals could result in the shutdown of 14 to 20 sawmills, two pulp mills and an undetermined number of value-added manufacturing facilities. COFI estimates that this represents the loss of approximately 18,000 family-supporting jobs, including in Indigenous communities, along with more than $400 million in lost revenues to the provincial government per year that help pay for healthcare, education and other services British Columbians rely on each day.
The BC Chamber of Commerce and its members urge the government to work with First Nations, industry, labour and communities on meaningful consultation before further deferrals are implemented.”