Rural Economic Development
The Government of British Columbia is committed to working with our rural communities to strengthen their resilience, create jobs and build unmatched economic opportunities while enriching the unique lifestyle advantages that rural B.C. has to offer.
Currently, British Columbia’s interior forest industry is making a transition from high-volume Mountain Pine Beetle salvage operations to a smaller and more value-focused industry in balance with post-beetle timber supply.
For many communities in the BC interior, the combination of declining beetle harvests, low United States lumber prices, and the devastating 2017 and 2018 wildfire seasons has led to a series of mill curtailments, shift reductions, indefinite closures and permanent closures. The impact on workers, contractors, suppliers, local small businesses and communities has been significant.
Government is taking action to address the near-term needs of workers, contractors and communities through $69 million in programming, announced in September 2019. This programming includes:
- An early retirement bridging program for older forest workers;
- A new short-term forest employment program;
- Funding for workers to access skills training, and for employer and community grants for training;
- A job placement co-ordination office that will track the transition and employment of impacted forest workers; and
- Community support grants aimed to provide short-term assistance to communities impacted by the closure of a major forest employer.