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COFI 2022 Convention to discuss achieving ‘a strong, inclusive and sustainable forest industry’


March 23, 2022
By Ellen Cools
COFI president and CEO Susan Yurkovich. Photo: Annex Business Media

The annual BC Council of Forest Industries (COFI) convention is back in-person this year, welcoming forest industry stakeholders to discuss the challenges and opportunities facing the sector.

From April 27-29, Vancouver will once again host the conference, which is “the largest gathering of the forest sector in Western Canada, bringing together industry, labour, Indigenous, and government thought leaders to discuss the issues and opportunities facing B.C.’s forest sector,” Susan Yurkovich, president and CEO of COFI, told CFI.

The B.C. forest sector has seen a number of big changes in the past year – most notably, the kick off of a forest policy modernization process and the old-growth deferral announcement by the provincial government last November. Ongoing global supply chain issues are also creating difficulties for the sector.

But, through much of the past two years, the industry has enjoyed strong markets for lumber and construction products, with prices reaching new records and demand for sustainable, low-carbon wood products remaining high.

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“Our sector continues to face lots of uncertainty, but we believe the future can be bright, particularly as British Columbians and people across the world are increasingly turning to forest products as the low-carbon building and packaging material of choice. We’re looking forward to a great dialogue about how, together, we can achieve a strong, inclusive and sustainable forest industry that continues to contribute to a better life for British Columbians,” Yurkovich said.

“We’re going to hear a whole range of perspectives on the state of the sector, the world and the economy and how forestry can play a role in lifting up people and communities, support reconciliation, create opportunities for the next generation and help fight against climate change,” she added.

The three-day event will kick off with an ice breaker reception on April 27. April 28 will mark the start of the sessions, with presentations about the economic opportunities for B.C. and Canada, the sustainable nature of B.C.’s forest products, and the future of the industry. B.C. Forests Minister Katrine Conroy will provide some opening remarks, and federal Trade Minister Mary Ng will give a lunch-time keynote address on Day 2.

The highly anticipated CEO panel will also take place on Day 2, featuring Don Kayne, president and CEO of Canfor, Ray Ferris, president and CEO of West Fraser, and John Mohammed, president and owner of A&A Trading, moderated by Bridgitte Anderson, president and CEO of the Greater Vancouver Board of Trade.

Day 3 will open with remarks from BC Assembly of First Nations’ Regional Chief Terry Teegee and a presentation from JP Gladu, principal of Mokwateh. COFI is also excited to welcome former Senior Deputy Governor of the Bank of Canada Carolyn Wilkins, a founding member of the Coalition for a Better Future’s Advisory Council who will speak to the group’s work to develop a winning economic plan that contributes to a better life for Canadians. A panel about “Readying the Future Faces of Forestry,” will follow, featuring Robert Kozak, professor and dean of the Faculty of Forestry at the University of British Columbia; Wayne Hand, dean of the School of Construction and the Environment at the British Columbia Institute of technology, and Jeff Bromley, chair of the wood council at United Steelworkers.

Additional speakers are to be announced and, of course, there will also be lots of networking opportunities throughout the conference – something that has been missing the past few years at virtual events.

“Times have been tough for everyone over the past couple years and we’re excited to be able to get together and catch-up with everybody in-person this year at the J.W. Marriott Parq in Vancouver, following all public health guidelines,” Yurkovich said.

Find the full agenda and register to attend the event at www.cofi.org/2022-convention.