Wood Business

Editorial: Back on the road

In-person events are slowly coming back, plus where have all the workers gone?

November 17, 2022  By  Jennifer Ellson

Canadian Forest Industries' booth at the Timber Processing & Energy Expo in Portland, Ore. in September 2022.

The pandemic has caused numerous companies and event organizers to postpone, reschedule or even cancel events. The lifting of travel regulations, lockdowns and advisories from governments and public health organizations meant that professional conferences and work-related networking and learning events are coming back slowly. 

Recently, I’ve been to some trade shows and conferences both as an attendee and presenter, and what I noticed was that the events were often smaller affairs compared to pre-pandemic levels. But that is to be expected. With the uncertainties, a lot of companies did not budget for live events this year. More importantly, we can’t quite ignore health and safety concerns yet – some are still uncomfortable attending face-to-face or large-crowd gatherings. 

As for pandemic-era travel? Well, it’s a hassle, no two ways about it. Airfares are high, airports are packed, airlines are short-staffed, flights are almost always delayed and bags go missing. I have experienced “airmageddon” during my summer travels, both personal and professional, as I have had two cancelled flights, many many late departures and arrivals, and two delayed luggage. I guess I am still lucky, because if you were following the news, some have called it the summer of lost luggage as suitcases seem to have fallen off the conveyor-belt vortex, never to be found. I was fortunate that my bags arrived at my vacation destination after five days, just in time for my flight back home. And here I am still waiting on my stranded luggage insurance claims two months after.

And speaking of staff shortage, this issue has become a persistent topic at the conferences and trade shows I’ve attended. In my conversations with fellow delegates, the subject of the lack of manpower has been a hot topic – one that we will discuss in the next few issues as this challenge shows little indication of relenting. One can’t help but notice the abundance of help wanted signs everywhere. Staff shortage has gone from being seasonal to impacting industries all year. It has not only impacted the service and tourism segments, but all levels of employment from healthcare, government, and of course, our own industry, as well as many other sectors.  We at Canadian Forest Industries are busy exploring this issue, interviewing companies and individuals, asking where have all the workers gone and what the companies are doing to resolve this problem?  So stay tuned.


For now, enjoy this jam-packed issue covering informative topics such as steep slope logging. We went to Nelson, B.C., to get a better look at cable yarding the steep, difficult terrain of the province’s West Kootenay region. A steep slope harvesting expert also wrote an article to answer the question: is logging on steep slopes a challenge or a solution? 

Our contributing editor caught up with Groupe Savoie to discuss the company’s latest investment on a new sorting plant at its facility in New Brunswick. We also have a feature on artificial intelligence and how it can help us obtain better data on forests. Our contributor wrote about how partnerships with Indigenous communities can enhance the success and sustainability of the forest sector. Another prevalent topic in our industry is social license, and our columnist wrote a thought-provoking piece on that subject.

One of our popular features is the Forestry Leaders Q&A, and in this issue, we talk to COFI’s new president and CEO Linda Coady, and I hope you will be inspired by her optimism.

Also in this issue is a year-end update on the North American softwood lumber market, our coverage of the Timber Processing and Energy Expo held in Portland, Ore., in September, and comprehensive features on introducing new technology in the woods, as well as new equipment in the market. 

As always, I encourage you to keep in touch between issues, either via email or social media. I would love to hear your thoughts, suggestions and reactions. 

The good news is that with the return of in-person events, for sure we will meet again soon. 

Read the November/December issue now!

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