WSCA Rumour Mill & Media News
News listings for all Canadian Silviculture Workers brought to you by the Western Silvicultural Contractors' Association.
Request for Expressions of Interest: Members for Silviculture Sector Human Resources Strategy Advisory Committee
Jan 9, 2012 - The WSCA is looking for expressions of interest from employers and employees in BC's silviculture industry to sit as members of a proposed silviculture sector human resources strategy advisory committee. The volunteer committee would function as a working group to oversee and direct a program funded by the federal and provincial governments' Labour Market Partnership Program. This proposed program, currently under negotiation with the WSCA, would develop and implement projects to conduct research, develop curricula and educate the forestry industry around human resource (HR) and workforce issues in the BC silviculture sector. Read More
WCB Safety Figures Show Declines
Dec 2, 2002 - WCB safety figures show an increase in injuries in the silvicultural industry. Establishing a WCB-funded health and safety association could reduce injuries and costs. Read More
WCB Safety Rules Still in Effect
Dec 2, 2002 - The only thing that has changed in Part 33 of the Occupational Health and Safety Regulations is the training of first aid attendants. The rest still applies. But big potential changes are in the works.
2013 Western Wildfire Conference Presentations Available
May 14, 2013 - Presentations for the 2013 Western Wildfire Conference are now available following a very informative and interesting program. The presentations include narratives of the effects of fire on communities in both North America and Australia as well as practical and scientific reports on strategies to manage, mitigate and better understand wild fire fire behaviour. To see the presentations go to the 2013 Western Wildfire Conference website at:
BC Needs New Forest Inventory and New Purpose For It
May 8, 2013 - British Columbia's forest inventory needs to be updated and revised. But before we do that strategists should think to what purposes this next inventory will be applied in order to make sure we're measuring the right things. Nature has provided a major landscape paradigm shift in the wake of the MPB. Our next generation inventory should reflect a similar change in course in the overarching purpose of managing forests in the province. Read More
Preventing Silviculture MSI Injuries Guides Available
Mar 13, 2013 - A joint working group comprising WorkSafeBC, WSCA and Licensees has produced a series of guides aimed at reducing musculoskeletal injuries in silviculture workers. Three guides are available for workers, supervisors and licensees laying out strategies to make workers and workplaces less injury prone. Repetitive strains, overwork and related slips, trips and falls cost the silviculture industry millions of dollars annually in lost productivity, earnings and claim costs. For more information visit:
Pre-season Wrist Training Will Reduce Injuries
Mar 12, 2013 - Sports mechanic and fitness expert Dr. Delia Roberts has worked with the BC SAFE Silviculture Program to produce a quick guide to training up your wrists and forearms for this year's planting season. The pamphlet also includes tactics for keeping yourself fit during the season and how to recover quickly from repetitive strain symptoms. Wrist and forearms are the principal and vulnerable pivot points for planting and silviculture saw work. They can better resist the onslaught of hard work through increasing strength and flexibility. They can be brought back into use quicker through proper massage and the use of heat and cold. Read More
Town Hall Meeting in March Features Forestry Questions for Politicians
Feb 21, 2013 - This being election season, foresters and forestry contractors want to know where politicians stand on forestry funding and policy heading into the vote. Two of the province's Silviculture Committees and the Canadian Institute of Forestry are asking stakeholders to submit their questions so they can be raised in a public town hall forum in Kamloops at the Thompson River University campus 6 March 2013. Read More
Labour Committee Surveys Silviculture Workers in Annual Poll
Sep 14, 2012 - As concerns grow over the capacity of the province's vital seasonal forestry workforce the B.C. Silviculture Human Resource Working Group is polling workers in an annual on-line survey. The short volunteer poll, similar to last year's survey, will track the number of silviculture workers, including tree planters, brushers and spacers and wildfire fighters who plan to return next year. The workers will also be asked their level of satisfaction with wages and work conditions this season and their expectations for next year. This year the survey includes a special section for owners in order to gain an insight into the attitudes and disposition of employers regarding their business expectations. To view the 2013 survey and see the results of last year's poll visit:
WSCA and WorkSafeBC Undertake Unique Study on Silviculture MSI Injuries
Jun 22, 2012 - The WSCA in collaboration with the human factors team at WorkSafeBC and workplace sociologists based in the U.S. are conducting preliminary research into musculoskeletal injuries in the tree planting profession. The pilot study involves the unique approach of participatory action research (PAR) which involves gathering qualitative date in the form of narratives and insights from multiple perspectives within the sector.
Ministry provides guidelines for extending spring planting
May 23, 2012 - Given the unusual snowpack and late startup to spring planting, the WSCA has asked the ministry to provide guidelines to foresters to extend the spring planting season beyond 21 June where that is practical. The following note was issued by the ministry in response to that request. Read More
B.C. Silviculture Employers Turnover Tracked in Special Report
Apr 12, 2012 - An innovative ten-year analysis of silvicultural firms registered with WorkSafeBC shows that among tree planting employers only 76 of the 244 registered at the beginning of the century were still registered in 2012. This declining trend was offset in part by new entrants to the industry bringing the total number of registered firms planting trees in 2012 to 203. Far more turnover was tracked among brushing, weeding and spacing firms with only 53 remaining of the original 364 registered in 2000. In 2012 the brushing and weeding community of employers numbered 203. Seeming to move in the opposite direction, employers registered for firefighting have actually increased over the past ten years, although there appears to have been little steady work to account for this. A conspicuous spike in fire fighting registration occurred in the big fire year of 2003 which may say as much about the level of qualification to get into the industry as it does about the level of work. The study's observations suggest that barriers to entry may be low across the board. New entrants appear to generally get equal access to the silviculture services market with the established firms and new firms as a whole securing work proportional to their share of the employer base. Read More
Wages and Work Culture Important to Recruiting and Retaining Workers
Mar 30, 2012 - An exit poll taken of silviculture workers last year shows they rate wages almost as important as camp life, working outdoors and treatment by their employers in deciding to remain in or leave the sector. These observations are part of a recently released WSCA report that includes the full set of the 2011internet survey results including workers' qualitative descriptions of what they found the most and least attractive about planting trees, brushing and spacing and fighting wildfires in B.C. Read More
WSCA Presents Forest Bio-Economy Proposal to Federal MPs
Feb 14, 2012 - The WSCA proposed ways in which the federal government can mitigate the growing wildfire threat and create forestry jobs through encouraging the forest bio-economy in British Columbia. The association made the presentation to MPs at this year's first regional meeting of the BC/Yukon Caucus in Vancouver. Read More
Licensee and Contractor Fined in Contractor Worker Death
Dec 23, 2011 - A Williams Lake beetle trap tree falling contractor and the licensee that
contracted him both received fines after the death of a faller on the job
this year. WorkSafeBC cited both the contractor and the owner for failing to
properly instruct, train or supervise the worker employed by the contractor.
The contractor received $2,500 fine for his failings; the licensee $75,000
for theirs. The pair of fines reflect the due diligence that licensees need
to exercise around the training and supervision of workers directed by firms
they contract work to. Read More
Silviculture Report Cites Increasing Planting, Decreasing Workforce
Aug 15, 2011 - The WSCA 2011 Report on the State of the BC Silviculture Industry has identified retaining and recruiting competent workers as a challenge for the sector as it heads into 2012 when planting and stand tending activities will increase. A decade of stagnate or declining bid prices has taken its toll on the silvliculture sector affecting the workforce and the viability of contractors. Forecasts predict up to 40-million more seedlings will be planted next year. The market has to ensure the increase in volume is accompanied by corresponding improvements in margins and wages for the industry according to the report based on two recent contractor summit meetings. Read More
Statistical Appendix for State of Silviculture Report Available
Aug 14, 2011 - This report includes the public data that was used to compile the WSCA Report on the State of the BC Silviculture Sector August 2011 including planting and sowing figures, safety statistics and Statistics Canada numbers. Read More
BC Forest Safety Ombudsman Report: Review of Failures Leading to Khaira Situation - July 2011
Jul 27, 2011 - Please see the associated article under "Rumour Mill", and download the pdf document for the Ombudsman's full report. Read More
Is Screefing Worth It? Time for a scientific review.
Mar 4, 2011 - Silviculture contractors are saying it is time to do a scientific review of the advantages of planting seedlings in contact with fermenting forest soil (F layer). By reducing if not eliminating “screefing” seedlings to a greater soil depth, as required by the ministry of forests, mines and lands’ planting standard (FS704), contractors say F layer planting would increase productivity, reduce worker injuries and grow better trees. Read More
Ombudsman to Review Silvicuture Contracting Controversy
Feb 14, 2011 - 'Unacceptable' situation for tree planters prompts review by Forest Safety Ombudsman Read More
2011 WSCA Annual Conference and Trade Show
Feb 14, 2011 - Thanks everyone, for a great conference. Here are some pictures for those interested. Click on the link:
2011 WSCA Conference Proceedings
Feb 13, 2011 - To download the conference proceedings, please click on WSCA Events. Read More
Khaira Controversy: A chance for improvements in contract management
Aug 25, 2010 - The controversy around allegations made by workers against the forestry contracting firm Khaira Enterprises has amounted to a national embarrassment for British Columbia and its silviculture contracting industry. Read More
WSCA resource road driving push-pull steering update
Jul 8, 2010 - Race car driver Alan Sidorov owner of Sidorov Precision Driver Training has helped revise push-pull steering instruction for the WSCA Resource Road Light Truck Driver Training course. Sidorov emphasizes that practicing push-pull steering and other good driving behaviours through practice will ensure drivers will more automatically rely on these better habits in an emergency and maintain control at the wheel.
(Please click on the above PDF file for the full article.) Read More
Neglect in the woods: No way to manage a forest
Jun 11, 2010 - A decade of cuts has left a priceless resource facing a homemade crisis. Read More
Lodgepole pine stocking standards need review; climate change poses problems say reports
Jun 1, 2010 - With at least 80 per cent of the mature lodgepole pine in B.C. expected to be lost to the mountain pine beetle plague over the next few years, two recent studies show that juvenile pine plantations across the province are performing poorly and climate change is likely to make things worse. Read More
June 5, 2010 set as Canada Planters' Day
May 4, 2010 - Like the successful 2008 six billionth tree celebration the WSCA intends to make celebrating silviculture work an annual event to raise public awareness. Read More
Tree-planting, a staple of the summer job market for students, is disappearing
Apr 26, 2010 - Read More
WSCA Awarded Western Economic Diversification and Job Opportunities Projects
Feb 19, 2010 14:39 - The WSCA has been awarded forestry projects worth approximately $1.7 million from both the federal and provincial governments as part of the ongoing rural economic stimulus strategy. Read More
Restoring ravaged forests.
Feb 4, 2010 - Re: Billion-plus trees killed by pine beetle turns B.C.'s forests into carbon emitter, report says, Jan. 12th. Read More
Silviculture Workers Now Included in Community Develop Trust Program
Apr 20, 2009 - Now silviculture workers can apply for Job Opportunities work or Tuition and Transition assistance under the Community Development Trust Program. A more inclusive definition of eligibility included as part of the federal Community Adjustment Fund provides support for all workers affected by the forest sector downturn. Read More
Silviculture Magazine Online
Apr 19, 2009 - The inaugural issue of Silviculture Magazine is now available online at www.silviculturemagazine.com Read More
CORRECTION: NDP Position Clarified Regarding Compensation for Any Quota Clawbacks Due to Tenure Reform
Apr 1, 2009 - In our 10 February 2009 report on the WSCA Conference headlined WSCA Conference Round Up - BC Liberals and NDP Promise More Forestry we misquoted NDP Forest Critic Bob Simpson stating he would not offer compensation to companies where quota was clawed back. That quote is incorrect. Read More
An open letter to all forest companies and silviculture contractors in Western Canada from the WSCA
Mar 12, 2009 - In an open letter to BC forest companies and licensees the WSCA is asking them to adopt prompt and regular payment protocols to reduce silviculture contractors' and their employees' exposure to the risk of going unpaid for completed contract silviculture work. Read More
WSCA Frames Trust Fund for Silviculture
Mar 10, 2009 - In a short discussion paper first presented to the Working Roundtable on Forestry the WSCA has outlined how a silviculture trust fund would ensure quality reforestation and remedy some of the paradoxes of the present tenure system. Concerned that licensees may not have cash on hand to pay for silviculture and that we are not practicing optimal forestry in B.C. the WSCA is proposing a model that could lead to new and innovative forest management regimes and more vigorous forests. Read More
WSCA 2009 Victoria Conference & AGM - Presentations (Part 1 - Documents
Feb 21, 2009 - Please click on the Web Link: URL at the bottom of this page to view all of these 2009 Conference presentations. When you arrive at the download site click the small white arrow in the small dark circle to the right of each listed file. Read More
WSCA 2009 Victoria Conference & AGM - Presentations (Part 2 - Videos)
Feb 20, 2009 - Please click on the video screens in the 'Read More' section below to watch the video presentations of Bruce Blackwell & Dr. Dave Coates. Read More
Invest In Rather than Bail Out Forest Sector; Consider Forests As Infrastructure
Jan 8, 2009 - The term ‘bail out’ is a relatively recent addition to the political vernacular and popular lexicon. It generally means to rescue something that is at risk or in distress. Read More
BC Timber Sales Sets Safety Certification Standard
Jun 19, 2008 - VICTORIA – BC Timber Sales is improving forest worker safety by requiring all its contractors and those companies that conduct on-the-ground works under a timber sale licence advertised after Dec. 31, 2008 to be SAFE Company certified. Read More
Bruce Fraser Sees the Future
Feb 9, 2008 - The Chair of the Forest Practices Board spoke to the WSCA Conference delivering an at times dismaying account of the possible future of forestry—and just about everything else—mapping the uncertainties we need to deal with in heading there. At his most distressing and delightful when describing a possible environmental administration gone to the extreme Fraser sounded more like Jonathan Swift than the head of a government watchdog agency. Read More
Timber Supply Report Lacks Urgency
Sep 25, 2007 - Recently released timber supply figures by the provincial government have left the silviculture industry wondering where the strategies and programs are that will sustain our forests in the future. Read More
Bear Dogs: A Silvicultural Tool
Sep 23, 2007 - Bears—and the possibility of being eaten by one—are a very real part of normal life for BC silvicultural workers today. It does not have to be so. I firmly believe that dogs, and particularly livestock guardian dogs, can reduce bear attacks on BC silvicultural workers. Read More
Are Big Fires Inevitable?
Aug 28, 2007 - The Mega-Fire Reality: Re-directing Protection Strategies in Fire-Prone EcoSystems Read More
An Assessment of Fuel Treatment Effects on Fire Behavior, Suppression Effectiveness, and Structure Ignition on the Angora Fire
Aug 16, 2007 - The Angora Fire started southwest of South Lake Tahoe on the afternoon of June 24th from an unattended campfire. It burned under some of the most severe fire danger conditions experienced in this area during the last 20 years. Read More
Forestry Work Can Reduce Wildfire Threat and Aid Fire Fighting
Jul 31, 2007 - NELSON — Planting wildfire breaks, thinning forest fuels and executing prescribed burns can do as much to reduce the wildfire threat across British Columbia as fire suppression according to a provincial forestry industry association. Read More
Is S100 Fire Suppression Training Appropriate for Silviculture Crews?
Mar 1, 2007 - The BC Wildfire Act requires “If a fire starts at, or within 1 km of, the site of the industrial activity, the person carrying out the industrial activity must: Read More
BCTS To Require SAFE Company Registration April 1, 2007
Mar 1, 2007 - BC Timber Sales will require contractors bidding on timber licenses and specified contracts, including silviculture projects, to be registered with the BC SAFE Company program after 1 April 2007. Read More
Chief Forester Defends Go-Slow Approach to Restoration
Feb 9, 2007 - WSCA Conference:Siliviculture contractors challenged Chief Forester Jim Snetsinger over the pace of work restoring forests lost to the mountain pine beetle citing the plummeting reforestation ratio and the extraordinary extent of the forest health disaster. Read More
Forestry’s Elder Statesman Calls for Action and Permanent Review of Forestry Management
Feb 9, 2007 - WSCA Conference:Every so many years forest policy needs to re-evaluate its assumptions and conventions to keep in step with the changing landscape and society’s management expectations. Read More
WSCA 2008 Conference 6 - 8 February 2008 Sun Peaks Resort Kamloops B.C.
Feb 6, 2007 - Theme: The Turmoil of Transition; Making Sense of BC Forestry Today and into the Future.
Do We Need a Silviculture Boss in B.C?
Dec 18, 2006 - In 2006 the silviculture contracting sector planted 280 million seedlings in British Columbia. This is the third largest planting program ever undertaken in BC, and the third largest program of its kind in Canada. Read More
Forestry figures don’t add up!!!
Dec 13, 2006 - I have always had trouble with arithmetic. In public school, unable to memorize my addition tables, I completed my sums by pencilling peck marks in the margins and then counting them. This marginalia my teachers took as symptoms of idleness and dismissed me as an aimless kid who couldn’t add. Read More
COFI Defers Proposal to Eliminate Tree Planter Camp Cost
Jun 15, 2006 - British Columbia’s Council of Forest Industries (COFI) says it can’t support a WSCA effort to eliminate tree planting camp costs across the province this spring. Read More
Green Plan 2050
Oct 19, 2005 - Across the B.C. landscape a number of destructive biological imperatives are gathering force including, besides the mountain pine beetle epidemic, other forest pests and blights, general eco-system degradation and impending seasons of landscape-scale forest fires. All these dramatic features of the province’s ongoing forest health crisis are connected in causes, circumstances and consequences. Read More
Prescribed Burning Back in B.C.
Oct 2, 2003 - In August as catastrophic wildfires destroyed homes and forests in the Thompson Valley Forest Minister Mike de Jong announced the province would return to prescribed burning practices. Is it the first in a series of forest management changes due to wildfire in B.C.? Read More
We Need to Rethink Wildfire Management Strategy
Sep 4, 2003 - Relying solely on wildfire suppression will not defend us against catastrophic wildfires in Western Canada. The Americans have found this out. We need to learn from their experience. Read More
WSCA Current Affairs
Mixed response to spending, tax cuts
Jan 27, 2009 - The Conservative government added tax cuts to infrastructure spending in its economic stimulus federal budget Tuesday, while also extending unemployment benefits for laidoff workers.
PRT Announces Closure of Tree Seedling Nursery
Oct 2, 2008 - Pacific Regeneration Technologies Inc. announced today that it will close PRT Pelton, its seedling nursery facility in Maple Ridge, BC. The closure will take place in phases over the next few months and will result in the eventual layoff of approximately 60 employees. Read More
Should Tree Planters be Losing Sleep over Losing Sleep?
May 8, 2013 - Sleep scientists say as a society we owe ourselves more sleep. Sleep debt is seen as a major threat to health and welfare. What effect is fatigue likely to have then in the workplace when silviculture planters work long days at an intense pace? Are workers getting enough sleep and does lack of a good night's rest put us in jeopardy? Professional athletes are learning to manage sleep. Should workers do the same? Read More
Forest Practice / Enivronment
Treeplanter Complaints Lead to Bogus "bonus" Payment Clarification
Apr 1, 2011 - Both the Employment Standards Branch and the WSCA have recently received complaints from silviculture workers claiming they have not received “bonuses” promised to them by their employers for completing a project or a season of forestry work. In almost all cases these promised “loyalty” or “end of season” bonuses are illegal and actually are wages owed to workers regardless of how long they work for an employer. Read More
Inadequate Reforestation Goes From Bad to Worse
Feb 3, 2011 - British Columbia is blessed by nature with a vast, ecologically rich forest estate that also has been a source of sustained economic wealth for more than a century. But today there are troubling signs that the most important of natural assets is facing challenges never before seen.
Forest Service plans attack on Colo., Wyo. beetles
Sep 13, 2010 - The U.S. Forest Service plans to cut about 14,000 acres of trees near communities and in more than 350 recreation sites as it deals with damage from an insect epidemic that has killed millions of acres of pines in Colorado and Wyoming. Read More