Short Term Forest Employment Program

The Forest Employment Program (FEP) was created in 2019 to provide short-term employment opportunities for contractors and workers in interior BC that have been affected by indefinite and permanent closures in the forest sector.

The program's eligibility was expanded in 2020 as part of the Province’s COVID-19 economic recovery plan. This expansion made the program applicable throughout the province, and adapted contractor/worker eligibility requirements to ensure those affected by the economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic were also eligible for support.

On this page: 

How the program works

The Program was originally set to run for three years (2019/20 through 2021/22) to create short-term employment opportunities reducing the impact of job losses. It is expected that funded projects will also result in benefits for impacted communities, including through enhanced resilience, wildfire recovery/risk reduction, and forest enhancement.

Program funding

FEP was initially funded for $15 million over three years, and has been expanded twice. In 2020/21 an uplift of $12 million went to support COVID recovery. In 2021/22 an additional $2 million has been added to further support impacted contractors and workers as an interim part of government’s plans to mitigate impacts from the decision to implement harvesting deferrals on rare, ancient, and large stands of old growth. Funding through the first three years totals $29 million, as follows:

  • 2019/20: $3 million
  • 2020/21: $21 million
  • 2021/22: $5 million

Project eligibility

FEP is an internally administered program by the Rural Policy and Programs (RPP) Branch. Individual projects funded through FEP are led on the ground by staff throughout Regional Operations, who manage individual contracts. The Program creates short-term employment opportunities in areas acutely affected to reduce the impact of job losses on the communities.

  • FEP funded projects must create short-term employment opportunities for contractors and workers and result in benefits for impacted communities.
  • Projects should still focus as much as possible on impacted forestry contractors and workers in the context of expanding FEPs funding and scope but other projects can be approved if they demonstrate a need within the broader context of pandemic recovery and create immediate employment.
  • Must employ workers that are available to physically work on site for the duration of the services.
  • Must comply with the Employment Standards Act, WorkSafeBC regulations, and any other certifications as required by individual projects.

In the most recently completed year of the program (2020/21) over 180 projects were undertaken. Learn more about some of the program’s highlights.

Further information on the selection process, or to enquire as to eligibility, can be obtained by contacting our program office.