Forestry still a major economic driver in B.C.

Natural resources remain strong, with 1 in 17 jobs connected to forestry

Credit: PwC

From British Columbia’s Forest Industry and the B.C. Economy in 2016

Natural resources remain strong, with 1 in 17 jobs connected to forestry

For all of the deserved focus on B.C.’s bustling tech sector, natural resources still drive much of the province’s economy, according to a recent study. PriceWaterhouse Coopers LLP’s report released late last month indicates that 140,000—or one in every 17—jobs in B.C. can be attributed either directly or indirectly to the forestry industry, creating $12.9 billion in gross domestic product. Other metrics jumping from the page: $8.6 billion in wages, $2.6 billion in provincial taxes, stumpage fees and other payments as well as more than 140 communities currently relying so heavily on the resource that they are labelled “forest dependent.”

Exports topped $13.7 billion in 2016, which accounts for 34 per cent of all provincial exports. China was among the biggest customers, demanding nearly a quarter of all B.C. forest exports.

The report also notes the significant role the industry plays in infrastructure maintenance and investment, from ports to warehouses to railways, and reinforced the importance of innovation and sustainability, touting the claim that three trees are planted for each one harvested. “While our industry is facing a number of challenges, we are continuing to invest, innovate and diversify both our products and our markets to ensure that we can continue to be an economic engine in the province for generations to come,” explained Susan Yurkovich, president and CEO of the BC Council of Forest Industries, in a release.