Wood Business

Features Q & A Women in Forestry
Focusing on ‘IDEA’: Q&A with forester Julie Dinsdale

March 6, 2023  By  Jennifer Ellson

For Julie Dinsdale, focusing on Inclusion, Diversity, Equity and Accessibility (IDEA) is a great idea.

Julie is a registered professional forester and is the B.C. Indigenous relations lead for West Fraser. We spoke with her last year about how she was helping reshape the forest industry though measurable action on economic reconciliation with Canada’s Indigenous communities as well as sustainable forest management.

We caught up with her again this year for a quick update.

CFI: How did the industry change in the past year?

Overall, there is a higher level of understanding about the business advantage and necessity for inclusion, diversity, equity, accessibility. We have seen an increased focus on IDEA conversations and how to turn those ideas into action in the forest industry in a methodical way. There has been a more focus on creating a space for conversations about IDEA where we can explore issues from multiple perspectives and facilitate positive change together more effectively.


Working in a respectful way to reduce fear that can exist around change is an important part of this work gaining traction.

Specific to West Fraser, workforce representation of women increased to 15 per cent and representation of under-represented minorities has increased to 25 per cent.

CFI: How has your role changed in the past year?

My role has changed to fully focus on supporting our divisions in Indigenous relations – this includes a wide variety of responsibilities, but primarily the focus on building bridges, agreements and partnerships with Indigenous communities and our divisions. I have an increased focus on Indigenous recruitment, retention, and inclusion, community relations, and exploring business development opportunities. In addition to this, I am leading the implementation of our work in Canada towards Progressive Aboriginal Relations (PAR) certification, where we will be working on setting targets on procurement from Indigenous-owned business and Indigenous employment.

CFI: How significant is it for women in our industry (and other industries) that we celebrate this day?

This is an important time of reflection, of looking back to see how far we have come, and learning from the past so that we can continue to choose more inclusive pathways in the future.

Showcasing the achievements of women, Indigenous, and diverse candidates is a great way to connect with and inspire the current and future workforce. By demonstrating the focus on IDEA, we can encourage people from all backgrounds to take their place in the forest industry and other industries and have a rewarding career.

This article is part of CFIPulp & Paper Canada and Canadian Biomass’ Women in Forestry series, an annual celebration of women in the industry. Find more content here and follow us on social media with the hashtag: #WomeninForestry.

Remember to join us for the Women in Forestry Virtual Summit on Mar. 7 at 11 am ET/8 am PT! It’s FREE to register. Sign up now!

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