Operating across two time zones and two Canadian provinces, with a combined area the size of continental Europe, hasn’t stopped the Central Canada Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI) Implementation Committee from setting a new standard for community building, partnerships and member participation. In recognition of this outanding effort, the committee received the SFI Implementation Committee Award at the SFI 2016 Annual Conference.
“The committee has established an extraordinary range of partnerships and signed 15 memorandums of understanding (MOUs). The central Canada committee is the first Canadian committee to win this award. The fact that they managed to stand out in such a competitive competition, among 34 SFI Implementation Committees, speaks volumes about the good work they are doing to promote SFI and spread responsible forestry,” said Kathy Abusow, president and CEO of SFI Inc.
The committee’s partners come from government, NGOs, universities, Indigenous groups and industry.
“I was deeply impressed by the level of commitment, participation and attendance at their meetings,” said Mike Sullivan who sat on the award evaluation committee. Sullivan is a member of the SFI External Review Panel and a director at the New Brunswick Department of Natural Resources. “The committee’s enthusiasm for spreading responsible forestry is contagious and their hard hat sticker campaign is engaging frontline harvesting professionals.”
The committee developed hard hat stickers for forest workers who have met the requirements of a Qualified Logging Professional (QLP). The benefit is two-fold, serving as public recognition of QLP status and promoting on-the-ground worker awareness of SFI. To-date the committee has recognized 1,270 QLPs in Manitoba and Ontario.
The stickers show off one of the core pieces of the committee’s mandate – education and training on best management practices for forest workers and operations. The committee has developed field tools for SFI Program Participants, including 10 QLP training modules, and the Guide to Best Management Practices for Forest Operations in Northern Ontario & Manitoba.
A partnership initiative with Lakehead University in Northern Ontario is also underway to put the training modules online to increase the accessibility of continuing education for forest workers and forestry students. These kinds of tools are a big reason the committee is so popular across the 18 million hectares of forestland certified to SFI in Ontario and Manitoba.
“Our quarterly meetings are always well attended, energetic and full of ideas. Meetings are hosted by participants and partners across the two provinces. We bring in guest speakers, arrange tours and talk about projects or grant opportunities we can collaborate on,” said Mike Maxfield the Ontario Certification Superintendent for Resolute Forest Products who also chairs the SFI Implementation Committee.
“We are fortunate that our committee and partners are so motivated, whether the topic is Indigenous Peoples engagement, the latest forestry research, best practices or continuing education.”
Maxfield’s boundless enthusiasm for SFI is summed up in his stretch goal for the committee: “I see no reason why we won’t continue to see growth in SFI Certification and double the number of partners and MOUs.” To get there, Maxfield intends to keep building on another of the committee’s strengths, the members’ willingness to network and help each other.
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