Leading pulp and paper producers from more than 30 countries converged on Vancouver this week to attend International Pulp Week, a three-day conference that is part of PwC’s Global Forest Products Leadership Summit.

Vancouver was a fitting venue for the 13th edition of this conference. Not only is Vancouver a world-class city, it’s also the commercial hub of a province whose pulp and paper sector has long been an economic engine for numerous communities, supporting families in the Interior and on the Coast.

Living in the Lower Mainland, it’s easy to forget the role that resource development plays in B.C. Few people in Vancouver will ever see a logging truck, a pulp or paper mill, a mine or a natural gas rig. But these industries remain British Columbia’s economic foundation.

Together, B.C.’s 15 pulp mills and six paper mills directly employ about 12,000 workers and support an additional 12,500 indirect jobs — about 20 per cent of all forest sector jobs in B.C. The sector pays among the highest wages and salaries in the province. While many rural families depend on these jobs, the sector also supports many professional services jobs in the Metro Vancouver area.