It is central to many resource communities throughout the Province, employing more than 58,000 British Columbians and is the economic engine of 40 per cent of regional economies across B.C.

B.C. has incredible economic opportunities ahead that will lead to about one million job openings in our province by 2020. In addition to new jobs, as many as 25,000 job openings are expected across the forestry sector as existing workers retire, many in trucking.

"B.C. has incredible economic opportunities ahead that will lead to about one million job openings in our province by 2020."

That is why the Province of British Columbia has funded a number of labour-market programs to continue to train the forestry workers of tomorrow. One example is the $1.85M investment over the past two years to assist the Central Interior Loggers Association to undertake the Forest Industry Readiness Skills Training (FIRST) program.

FIRST trains log- or chip-truck drivers and heavy equipment operators and places them in permanent positions in the transportation and harvesting sectors of the forestry industry. Through its Labour Market Partnership Program (LMPP), the Province has provided over $1 million to the forest sector to support the development of human resource strategies and address skills training shortages.

The Province is also working with Thompson Rivers University to offer an Introduction to Wood Manufacturing program to 35 participants in Williams Lake with over $150,000 in funding, and with the University of Northern British Columbia in Prince George to house two Master degree programs in wood engineering and science at the Wood Innovation and Design Centre, a $25.1 million government funded project that will be the tallest contemporary wood building in North America.

Through various supports including investments in skills training and the B.C. Jobs Plan, the Government of British Columbia remains committed to securing a bright future for the forestry sector and its workers.