The Rustad sawmill in Prince George was pronounced officially closed by Canfor a couple of weeks ago, finally settling with its workers. However, as part of the closure agreement between Canfor and the union (USW 1-424), Canfor plans to offer the site to the provincial government for use as a training school.
Pat Bell, Minister of Jobs, Tourism and Innovation, says that those discussions are now underway.
Bell’s ministry has been hearing about the forest worker shortage at every level from companies and associations across the province – everything from forestry professionals and technicians, to trades people, to truck drivers, mechanics and equipment operators. The Ministry has been very supportive and responsive to the need, making funding available to a variety of organizations and programs, to help recruit new entrants into the forest industry and get them job ready.
The College of New Caledonia received funding of $282,000 to fund participants in the Lumber Manufacturing and Light Warehouse Training program recently, through the BC Employment Skills Access Initiative. Meanwhile, UNBC has also received funding for tuition relief for Wildland Firefighting Training and GIS mapping, through the Canada-British Columbia Labor Market Agreement.
The CILA and its industry and training partners have submitted a proposal to the Labor Market Sector Solutions program, for funding assistance to recruit and train 150 log and chip truck drivers, and equipment operators for the harvesting sector, covering the CILA and ILA regions. Stakeholders include Canfor, West Fraser, Lomak, Arrow, Excel, Ryler Bulk, Pacific Bio-Energy, Pinnacle Pellet, CNC, O’Brien Training, Taylor Professional Driving School, PGNAETA, and a multitude of contractors.
For further information on this initiative or to become part of the stakeholder group, contact firstname.lastname@example.org
– Central Interior Logging Association