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Thousands of new workers needed in forest products sector


May 31, 2011
By Pulp & Paper Canada

A transformed Canadian forest products sector could generate thousands of new “green” jobs in the next 10 years, according to Renewing Canada’s Greenest Workforce: A Labour Market Intelligence Report from the Forest Products Sector Council…

A transformed Canadian forest products sector could generate thousands of new “green” jobs in the next 10 years, according to Renewing Canada’s Greenest Workforce: A Labour Market Intelligence Report from the Forest Products Sector Council (FPSC-CSPF). New workers are needed to replace the aging workforce as the recovers from the most recent downturn.

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.

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“It’s a double-edged sword, however,” says Keith Lancastle, FPSC-CPSF executive director. “More than 30% — 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, 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.

“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.”

FPSC-CSPF will now move to develop plans and projects in response to the issues raised by the research. FPSC-CSPF is an independent, not-for-profit organization, funded by the Government of Canada, which addresses current and emerging human resource and labour market issues in the Canadian forest products sector.

For more information on Renewing Canada’s Greenest Workforce, visit the Council’s website at www.fpsc-cspf.ca/sectorstudy.


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