Forestry Council Executive meets in person to tackle big questions for the sector

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Forestry Council

Members of the Forestry Council Executive met in person for the first time in more than two years to prepare for upcoming sector challenges and opportunities and planning the upcoming Forestry Council ahead of Convention in August.

“Unifor represents forestry workers from coast to coast, and each environment and region has its own unique challenges,” said Yves Guérette, Chair of the Unifor Forestry Council. “From invasive species and increasing wildfires to protecting wildlife and habitats, forestry can be part of many solutions if implemented and practiced wisely.”

Apart from challenges facing the sector, there are also many opportunities in renewable and biodegradable products and energy. Unifor works collaboratively with other progressive organizations looking to protect both the environment and one of Canada’s largest contributors to GDP. The work of developing improved forestry practices and highlighting where the sector can provide solutions to climate change involves many parties and fulsome consultation.

“For decades now, forestry workers has been focused on promoting the sector’s capacity to be an incredible renewable resource sector for Canada,” said Vince Lukacs, Unifor Forestry Sector Director. “Across the sector, there’s been a consistent move toward improving ecological forestry practices, and forestry workers see ourselves as an integral part of a more sustainable future. So there is work to be done to ensure forestry workers are part of Canada’s future green economy.”

Focused primarily in rural areas across Canada, the forestry sector must also contend with labour shortage issues. The union plans to target employers like Resolute Forest Products in pattern bargaining to improve wages across the sector.

“As we have repeatedly called for, it is important for the Canadian forest industry to position itself in future new niches such as food paper or packaging board. This is essential to its longevity. The forestry industry, like many others, must also use all means necessary to counter the labour shortage we are facing and that means improving salaries for workers,” said Renaud Gagné, Unifor Quebec Director. “Forestry jobs are good jobs that sustain communities and help families thrive so we need to keep them competitive in today’s labour market.”

The Unifor Forestry Council is well positioned to guide Canada’s forestry sector into the future.