COMMUNITIES AND THE WORKFORCE: Living with Change
Changes are taking place in our understanding of the
complexities of the forest environment, and the forest community must make use of a wide
range of skills and knowledge in making forest management decisions. Elected officials of
forest-based communities must be involved in national initiatives which may directly
affect them. As well, members of the community must participate in consultative processes
to further local community involvement in, and understanding of, forest management
The Canadian workforce involved in the forest sector is one of
the most experienced and highly skilled in the world. Skills include forest resource
management, research, engineering, production and marketing of forest products, and
non-timber products and services.
Rapid developments in technology and heightened competition are reducing the demand for some
traditional skills. This situation has led to a decline in the need for traditional
forest-related jobs, which in turn has affected the stability of some of the workforce and
communities. However, opportunities for supplying other forest products and in technology
development are increasing. As new technology appears, a gap -- or perceived gap -- is
created between the traditional skills and those required for the new applications. There
is a need to identify potential gaps in technological knowledge and skills of the
workforce, to retrain workers displaced by the new technology and to provide the next
generation with the required skills. It is also important to transfer the knowledge,
skills and experience of the older workforce, so that they are not lost in the transition.
Young people in the community are particularly important. They
carry a unique perspective on our environment, and are the next generation of resource
managers. Programs and opportunities to attract the younger generation to remain in and contribute to their community are essential to the community's health and stability.
The workforce consists not only of forest industry workers, but
also of members of the community who have a vested interest in sustainable forest
management and community stability. A well- educated, skilled, adaptable and injury-free
workforce contributes to stable communities that are essential if Canada is to supply
high-quality goods and services in a demanding and competitive world market.
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A prosperous and diversified economy based on sustainable
forests contributes significantly to the social, spiritual and cultural well-being of
various groups within Canadian society, and enhances our capacity to conserve resources
and maintain high standards of environmental quality for the benefit of current and future
Forest-based communities, whether fully or partly dependent on
the forest industry, have a vital stake in the continuing flow of economic, environmental
and social benefits arising from management of the forest. They must be recognized as key
stakeholders and must participate fully in discussions about resource management issues
that affect them.
Assessing all socio-economic contributions of Canada's forests
requires consideration of the full range of uses, and an understanding of the natural,
economic and social impacts of the interrelationships between residents of forest-based
communities and their surrounding forest ecosystem.
Sustainable forest management and forest sector
competitiveness demand a broad and continually evolving range of skills from diverse
disciplines, and depend on a stable workforce that is well-educated, informed, trained and
diverse. Training and education are necessary for community stability and depend on
long-term funding and resources.
Continuing education, training and the resources to meet these
needs are essential to maintaining a skilled workforce and are the shared responsibility
of employees, employers, governments, labour and educational institutions.
Health, safety and job satisfaction in the workplace are
priorities in Canada's forest sector.
Framework for Action
We will support and improve the capabilities of forest-dependent
communities to develop and diversify their economies where economically viable, or undergo
orderly transitions if the community is in decline:
6.1 By undertaking socio-economic impact
assessments of policy alternatives to understand the long- term needs of forest-based
communities, including cultural and subsistence uses, for economic development and
sustainable resource management planning.
6.2 By supporting the economic
development and diversification of forest-based communities through development of
economic development plans and valued-added strategies.
6.3 By developing and implementing
mechanisms that empower communities to adapt and adjust to changing socio-economic
We will enable the forest and forest-related workforce to
contribute fully to and benefit from sustainable forest management and enhanced social,
economic and environmental opportunities:
6.4 By preparing forecasts of workforce
requirements, and training and retraining needs, in the forest sector. These forecasts
should include workforce profiles reflecting new opportunities, research and safety in the
6.5 By increasing the number of educators
delivering forest programs, by upgrading the information and materials on sustainable
forest management provided to educators, and by reviewing ways to retain or enhance
resources to support the programs.
6.6 By creating, refocusing and
delivering education, training and development programs that meet local needs and
opportunities for work.
6.7 By reviewing, and revising as
appropriate, university, college, continuing education and training programs and courses
- meet the broader needs of sustainable forest management;
- adapt to the changing workforce structure;
- contribute to the leading edge of forestry research, policy
thinking and practices;
- include Aboriginal forest issues; and
- focus on interdisciplinary work across academic sectors, enabling
collaboration between sectors, to increase understanding of economic, social and
environmental issues of forestry and forest-based communities.
6.8 By forming a network for
advanced continuing education that will upgrade skills of forest workers, technicians,
sector professionals and educators in each province and territory, and that will help
transfer the knowledge and expertise of the present workforce.
6.9 By reviewing barriers to labour
mobility within the workforce and reporting to appropriate agencies on methods to reduce
6.10 By developing and delivering basic
educational programs to forest workers in areas such as health and safety, equipment
operation and maintenance, and sustainable forest management practices.
6.11 By implementing forest worker
accreditation to increase mobility, health and safety, and skills.
6.12 By providing opportunities such as
co-op and apprenticeship programs, to improve skill sets leading to greater opportunities
for employment and business contracting among Aboriginal people, private landowners, local
people and youths.