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Forestry drives B.C. economy

Feb. 5, 2015, Vancouver - An economic impact report by international consulting firm MNP shows the continuing importance of the forest industry to the province of B.C.

The report, commissioned by a group of industry trade associations representing every region of the province, and endorsed by Resource Works Society, shows the forest products manufacturing industry is still a mainstay of the provincial economy from Victoria to Fort St. John, and remains the economic driver of at least 40 per cent of the province's communities and the people who live in them.

"Forestry in B.C. has evolved quickly over the past decades into a modern, innovative and high tech industry. In addition to being an economic driver and job provider to coastal communities, Coast Forest Products Association member companies are innovative and dedicated to practicing and constantly finding ways to improve sustainability," said Rick Jeffery, President and CEO of Coast Forest Products Association.

Jobs, revenues to government, economic trickle-down to communities, innovation and sustainability: all are highlighted in the MNP report, which puts hard numbers to the ongoing story of the forest industry as an economic leader in B.C.

"The Council of Forest Industries and its member companies believe it's vital to have the latest measures of BC forestry in order for British Columbians to understand the importance of the industry as we jointly map the province's path forward," commented James Gorman, President and CEO of the Council of Forest Industries. "Our aim is to build a globally competitive and sustainable forest industry to the benefit of those of us here today and for generations to come."

"ILMA members are innovative, family-owned mills that have deep ties to their communities, and this report tells the story of the huge economic impact of the forest industry" said Jim Hackett, President of the Interior Lumber Manufacturers' Association.

Highlights of the MNP report include:
• The BC forest industry contributes $12 billion annually to the provincial GDP.
• 146,000 jobs in BC depend on a healthy forest industry.
• 1 in 16 jobs in BC is tied to the forest industry, and 40% of BC's regional economies are dependent on forestry.
• BC is the largest producer of softwood lumber in Canada (52%).
• BC is the largest producer of bioenergy in North America.
• 23% of all rail traffic in BC is forest products.
• 8.5% of all cargo shipments through Port Metro Vancouver are forest products.
• 60% of all BC Hydro's industrial revenues come from the forest industry.

The MNP report has been endorsed by Resource Works Society, an independent not-for-profit whose mission is to raise awareness among British Columbians of the importance of the province's resource sectors to their individual well-being.

"The forest industry sends $2.5 billion annually in revenues to the three levels of government to provide the services we all depend on – education, health care and social services," " said Stewart Muir, Executive Director of Resource Works. "We believe that British Columbians should be aware of this information and so we will be helping to ensure British Columbians hear this story as it continues to unfold.

"When we hear that 150,000 British Columbians depend on the BC forest industry for their livelihoods and that the industry has earned a reputation as a world leader in sustainability, we believe that this deserves to be widely understood and supported," added Muir.

Download: BC Forest Industry Economic Impact Study

February 5, 2015  By COFI

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