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BC Premier Horgan offers $5M to help truck loggers impacted by strike


January 17, 2020
By Truck Loggers Association

Premier Horgan announced at the TLA’s 77th Annual Convention and Trade Show a $5 million commitment in funding to support timber harvesting contractors on the Coast who are affected by the United Steel Workers (USW)/Western Forest Products (WFP) strike.

The announcement followed a meeting held in December between forest industry representatives including TLA members and Ministers Donaldson and Bains who appealed to government for action regarding the challenges they are facing with making payments on their equipment due to the longest coastal forestry strike in history.

In response, government announced the creation of the Coastal Logging Equipment Support Trust, which will help bridge loans until contractors return to work. The trust is expected to be up and running by the end of January.

“We’re happy that we’re finally being heard and acknowledged by government,” said David Elstone, Executive Director, Truck Loggers Association. “After seven months of striking and not earning any revenues, contractors will welcome the temporary relief from possibly losing their livelihoods, although it’s hard to say how much of an impact it’ll make or how much it will actually help.”

This temporary funding only addresses one of the many problems facing the coastal and Interior forest industry. Premier Horgan listed them – contractor’s sustainability, structural changes, species at risk, markets in Asia, softwood lumber tariffs, building strong relationships with Indigenous people, leaving waste, stumpage, and domestic and international demand for value added products – suggesting the way to a brighter future is finding solutions by working together.

“What we really need is for the USW/WFP strike to end and to get people back to work. However, who knows when that will be after 200 days and counting,” said Elstone. “The government wants to help and we appreciate that they are trying to help where they can.”