The Forest Products Association of Canada (FPAC) and the Assembly of First Nations (AFN) are pleased to announce that Percy Guichon, the Chief of the Alexis Creek Indian Band, and Tsi Del Del Enterprises of Chilanko Forks B.C. have won the FPAC/AFN Business Leadership Award. Chief Guichon will be honoured today at the AFN General Assembly in Moncton.
The award was set up to recognize and celebrate Indigenous entrepreneurs for their success in a forest products business that exemplifies business leadership, exceptional environmental and safety performance, the delivery of high-quality products and services and a strong, long-term commitment to the Indigenous community, particularly in supporting Indigenous employment. Tsi Del Del was chosen from a competitive field of high-quality applications.
“Percy Guichon and the workers at Tsi Del Del have truly shown excellence, reliability and creativity in promoting the economic goals of the forestry sector in the remote Chilcotin region of B.C.,” said Avrim Lazar, the President and CEO of FPAC. “For almost 20 years, this company has shown a true entrepreneurial spirit and an exemplary environmental record. We applaud the company’s business leadership”, he says.
Tsi Del Del employs about 30 people, about 80% of them First Nation workers, and is a joint venture company with Tolko Industries Ltd. The company also sets aside 50 cents for every cubic meter logged for an Education Trust Fund that provides post-secondary education or trades and technology training for band members.
“Percy Guichon was a Band Councillor for 12 years before he decided to take a forestry technician course. Going back to school certainly has paid huge dividends for his community,” said National Chief Shawn A-in-chut Atleo. “Tsi Del Del Enterprises now provides long term employment and business opportunities that are enhancing the quality of life for Alexis Creek Band Members. The company has also provided a true model for co-operation between Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities.”
“As one of the original visionaries of this company, Chief Percy Guichon has been fundamental to the success Tsi Del Del enjoys today,” says Tom Hoffman, Cariboo Regional Woodlands Manager, Tolko Industries Ltd. “We are very pleased to have nominated this exemplary Aboriginal employer and are very proud to be associated with such an outstanding business.”
“I’m very pleased to have been nominated for this award,” said Chief Guichon. “It’s very rewarding to be recognized for all the hard work we’ve done to empower our First Nation community and help our people gain financial independence, get further education and lead healthier lifestyles.”
There are now approximately 1,400 Indigenous owned businesses in Canada, and about 17,000 Indigenous people working in the sector, making the forest products industry the largest employer for First Nation workers.
This is the second time the FPAC/AFN Business Leadership Award has been presented. An additional award aimed at Indigenous Youth aged between 18 to 25 will soon be announced by FPAC and the AFN as well.
FPAC provides a voice for Canada’s wood, pulp, and paper producers nationally and internationally in government, trade, and environmental affairs. The $57-billion-a-year forest products industry represents 2% of Canada’s GDP and is one of Canada’s largest employers operating in hundreds of communities and providing 240,000 direct jobs across the country
Executive Director, Public Relations
Forest Products Association of Canada
Association des produits forestiers du Canada