Recommendations from the Logging Contractor Sustainability Review will help improve relationships between logging contractors and forest licensees, Doug Donaldson, Minister of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development, has announced.

“The report by George Abbott and Circle Square Solutions, and their 13 proposals provide a good basis for the next round of facilitation,” said Donaldson.

The intent of the review process is to improve the overall competitiveness of both logging contractors and licensees. Common themes that emerged from the report were the need for better data and better communications.

The report makes 13 recommendations that range from making better use of technology, improving communications, better information sharing, to ensuring best practices for setting contractors rates of pay and dispute-resolution mechanisms.

The next steps are to hire a facilitator who will bring the parties together to identify where there is consensus on recommendations that should be acted on, and also assess the costs and benefits of adopting recommendations on which there may be differing opinions. These are to be complete by July 31, 2018.

“The report notes that there are good relationships in place between contractors and licensees, based on best practices, but there is also room for improvement. We look forward to working collaboratively with government and the contractor community to consider the recommendations. As we do, we need to be mindful of the analysis in the report that shows that our contractor costs in B.C. are higher than in the comparator jurisdictions. As such, we will want to ensure that any actions reflect the need for both licensees and contractors to be competitive because we operate in a global industry and are competing with producers around the world,” said Susan Yurkovich, president, and CEO, BC Council of Forest Industries.

“The Interior Logging Association’s board of directors is pleased to see that the contractor sustainability report is ready for review. We look forward to the appointment of a facilitator and future meetings to review the report. From our view, the report and its 13 proposals confirm what the harvesting sector has been communicating for the past number of years,” said Randy Spence, chair, Interior Logging Association.

“We are acutely aware of the challenges and opportunities presented in this review. We look forward to continuing to work with our contractor community and the provincial government to implement changes that will help make both of our sectors stronger now and into the future,” Dan Battistella, president, Interior Lumber Manufacturers’ Association.

“We feel confident the review has captured the concerns that logging contractors across the province have raised for years. It validates there are problems in the relationships between contractors and licensees and confirms the declining profitability of contractors. These 13 recommendations will make a meaningful and positive difference for loggers, communities and the industry. Our hope is that all stakeholders will embrace these important recommendations for the betterment of our industry, and the province as a whole,” David Elstone, executive director, Truck Loggers Association.