Government invests $467K to promote gender equality in forestry

Ellen Cools
November 30, 2018
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Nov. 30, 2018 – The federal government announced yesterday that it will invest $467,000 in a new 36-month project called “Gender Equality in Forestry National Action Plan,” run by the Canadian Institute of Forestry (CIF).

The project aims to remove barriers that prevent or discourage women from pursuing careers in forestry, including pay equity issues, child care, disproportionate access to training and trades, fewer management opportunities and misconceptions about the industry.

According to the news release, in 2016, women represented only 17 per cent of the forestry sector labour force. Of that, 23 per cent worked in the forest – logging, forestry and forestry support activities – while 77 per cent worked in wood product manufacturing and the pulp and paper industry.

The action plan will bring women currently working in forestry together with industry stakeholders, NGOs, Indigenous groups, professional associations and women who are interested in working in the industry. Ultimately, a strategic national plan will be created to promote more opportunities for women in the industry.

Among the industry stakeholders are FPInnovations, CIF, Eacom, Tolko, Resolute Forest Products, National Aboriginal Forestry Association, the University of British Columbia, the University of Toronto, the City of Ottawa Forestry Services, Association of B.C. Forest Professionals, FedNor, Northern Ontario Heritage Fund, Women in Wood, Lakehead University, the University of Saskatchewan, and the Centre for Social Intelligence.

The CIF will also work with Forestry Products Association Canada as partners in a "Gender Equality in Forestry Steering Committee," to develop pilot projects improving opportunities for women which can then be replicated nationally.

Gaps in existing policies, programs and services will be identified by a “Gender-based Analysis Plus,” after which industry partners will suggest necessary reforms in the industry. Five sector-specific plans (public, private, not-for-profit, academic and Indigenous) will be developed and executed by stakeholders across the country, and will be reviewed continuously.

“We are very pleased to receive the support of the federal government to help us remove barriers for women who want to work in the forestry industry. Developing a plan through Gender-based Analysis Plus will help create a workplace that encourages more women to pursue employment in forestry and our bio economy, where STEM expertise is in heavy demand,” said Dana Collins, executive director, CIF, in a statement.

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