Report Forecasts Thousands of New 'Green' Forest Products Jobs in Canada in the Next 10 Years

May 13, 2011 - A transformed Canadian forest products sector will generate thousands of new "green" jobs in the next 10 years, according to an industry report titled, Renewing Canada's Greenest Workforce: A Labour Market Intelligence Report published by the Forest Products Sector Council (FPSC-CSPF).

In the "most likely" projection of moderate market demand for traditional and new products, FPSC-CSPF says, between 170,000 and 193,000 workers will be needed by 2020. However, it could range as high as 235,000 workers and low as 150,000 depending on a number of key economic factors.

"It's a double-edged sword, however," says Keith Lancastle, FPSC-CPSF Executive Director. "More than 30 percent, or 50,000, of the current workers in this sector will retire or leave the in the next 10 years. While this report points to the scope of the opportunity, it also speaks to the serious challenges facing the industry. Where are we going to find these workers?"

The findings were released at the 24th Annual PwC Global Forest & Paper Industry Conference in Vancouver, British Columbia in front of more than 400 executives, customers, suppliers, and government policy makers.

The report provides up-to-date labour market information for Canada's $57 billion forest products sector. It offers labour demand projections nationally and by region and product sub-sector to 2020 developed in consultation with labour market experts, economists and key sector stakeholders.

"Even in the most pessimistic, "worst case" projection, one which assumes a very weak economic outlook until 2020, the sector will still require an additional 40,000 new workers to remain sustainable," he says. "And that number potentially increases significantly given more promising outlooks for Canadian forest products."

"Having the right people is a critical success factor for the industry - it's equally important as having fibre, markets and technological change - without people it doesn't happen."

The report also provides data and commentary on current and future in-demand occupations, skills development and training needs, knowledge transfer, recruitment and retention issues, and the impact of changing technologies and public perception on the industry.

"There are huge opportunities in the coming years for those with the skills, knowledge and desire to work in Canada's forest products sector," says Lancastle. "For its part, FPSC-CSPF will now move to develop plans and projects in response to the issues raised by the research and the next steps identified in this report."

The Forest Products Sector Council (FPSC-CSPF) is an independent, not-for-profit organization, funded by the Government of Canada's Sector Council Program. Established in 2008, FPSC-CSPF provides national collaborative leadership in developing strategic responses and interventions addressing current and emerging human resource and labour market issues in the Canadian forest products sector.

SOURCE: Forest Products Sector Council