Canadian Biomass Magazine

Thousands of forest products jobs in coming years

May 12, 2011
By CNW & Forest Products Sector Council

May 12, 2011, Vancouver – A transformed Canadian forest products sector will generate thousands of new "green" jobs in the next 10 years.

May 12, 2011, Vancouver – A transformed
Canadian forest products sector will generate thousands of new
"green" jobs in the next 10 years. This is according to Renewing
Canada's Greenest Workforce: a Labour Market Intelligence Report
from the Forest Products Sector Council (FPSC-CSPF). In the
"most likely" projection of moderate market demand for traditional
and new products, FPSC-CSPF says that 170,000 to 193,000 workers will be needed
by 2020. However, the number could range as high as 235,000 workers and low as
150,000, depending on a number of key economic factors.

"More than 30%—or 50,000—of the
current workers in this sector will retire or leave the in the next 10 years,”
says Keith Lancastle, FPSC-CPSF executive director. “While this report points
to the scope of the opportunity, it also speaks to the serious challenges
facing the industry. Where are we going to find these workers?"

The findings were released at the 24th
Annual PwC Global Forest & Paper Industry Conference in Vancouver, British
Columbia, in front of more than 400 executives, customers, suppliers, and
government policy makers. The report provides labour market information for
Canada's $57 billion forest products sector. It offers labour demand
projections nationally and by region and product sub-sector to 2020 developed
in consultation with labour market experts, economists, and key sector

"Even in the most pessimistic, ‘worst
case’ projection, one which assumes a very weak economic outlook until 2020,
the sector will still require an additional 40,000 new workers to remain
sustainable," says Lancastle. "And that number potentially increases
significantly given more promising outlooks for Canadian forest products."

"Having the right people is a critical
success factor for the industry. It's equally important as having fibre,
markets, and technological change. Without people it doesn't happen," he

The report also provides data and
commentary on current and future in-demand occupations, skills development and
training needs, knowledge transfer, recruitment and retention issues, and the
impact of changing technologies and public perception on the industry.

"There are huge opportunities in the
coming years for those with the skills, knowledge, and desire to work in Canada's
forest products sector," says Lancastle. "For its part, FPSC-CSPF
will now move to develop plans and projects in response to the issues raised by
the research and the next steps identified in this report."

For more information on Renewing Canada's
Greenest Workforce, visit the Council's website at

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