Wood Business

Features Harvesting Logging Profiles
Survey snippet 14: The impact of COVID-19


November 10, 2020
By Ellen Cools


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This year is unlike any other for Canadian loggers – and the world as a whole – thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic. When CFI asked loggers to take this year’s Contractor Survey in April this year, we knew that we wanted to get a sense of how COVID-19 had impacted loggers’ operations.

Since these questions were posed in the spring, the lumber market has rebounded, with record-high prices for lumber and strong demand that has not yet dropped off.

But, at the time, when asked about how concerned they were about the impact of COVID-19 on their business, over half of loggers (56 per cent) rated their level of concern at either a six or seven out of seven.

Only seven per cent of those surveyed had little to no concern about the pandemic’s effects, with the rest falling somewhere in between.

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Percentage of contractors concerned about the impact of COVID-19 by level, out of seven.

Loggers in B.C. and Ontario are the most concerned. Nearly three-quarters (72 per cent) of loggers in the B.C. Interior rate their level of concern as a six or seven out of seven, followed by 60 per cent of loggers in Ontario and 59 per cent of loggers in the B.C. Coast.

Contractors in Alberta are least concerned, with just 44 per cent rating their level of concern as a six or seven out of seven.

Percentage of loggers concerned about the impact of COVID-19, by level and by region.

When it comes to the operational impact of COVID-19, the majority of loggers say they expect to see an impact on their business/revenue (85 per cent). Nearly half (49 per cent) say they expect to see staffing cuts or layoffs. Another 36 per cent say they expect to see reduced productivity from staff.

Percentage of contractors who expect this type of operational impact because of COVID-19.

Regionally, more loggers in the Western provinces were expected to see an impact on their business/revenue – 90 per cent in the B.C. Coast, 97 per cent of loggers in the B.C. Interior and 94 per cent in Alberta. In contrast, loggers in the Eastern provinces (Quebec and Atlantic Canada) were less likely to expect an impact on their business/revenue (78 per cent and 78.5 per cent, respectively). They were also less likely to expect there to be staffing cuts or layoffs (32 per cent and 37.5 per cent, respectively). This might be because loggers in Quebec and Atlantic Canada typically run smaller operations compared to those on the West coast.

Percentage of contractors who expect this type of operational impact because of COVID-19, by region.

Missed last week’s survey snippet? Find a collection of reports published to date here. Look for more news from the CFI 2020 Contractor Survey in our eNews over the coming weeks, with a final digital report in December and a summary in the November/December print issue. Be sure to subscribe to our free eNews to get all the latest industry news.

This survey was conducted in April and May 2020 by independent research firm Bramm & Associates, generating 271 replies to a detailed list of questions. Respondents were distributed according to the geographic breakdown of the forest industry, with 44 per cent of respondents in Western Canada, 26 per cent in Quebec and the rest found in Ontario, Atlantic Canada, and central Canada. Within B.C., responses were split between the B.C. Coast and Interior. Many thanks to our sponsors for making this research possible – Hultdins, Tigercat and John Deere.