In 2012, FPAC launched the Vision2020 challenge and we committed to reporting publicly on the collective progress of the industry every two years. Below you will find our first progress report looking back to the years 2010 to 2012 on the People goal of renewing the workforce with at least 60,000 new recruits, including women, Aboriginals and immigrants.
Throughout Canada’s history, the forest products industry has been one of the most significant contributors to employment. The job numbers have dropped from the peak of nearly 380,000 in the 1970s and in recent years the workforce has stabilized at a level of about 235,000 employees. When indirect jobs are included the number soars to nearly 600,000 across Canada, mainly in rural areas.
Those job numbers are expected to grow as the rebounding industry hires news employees to replace its aging workforce and fills new positions as the sector expands and innovates.
For Vision2020, FPAC set the goal of refreshing the workforce with at least 60,000 new workers by the end of the decade. This includes the need to replace roughly 40,000 retiring baby boomers because of the older demographic in the sector plus an additional 20,000 net new positions.
PROGRESS TO DATE
Forest product companies in Canada are now starting to hire again and the sector recruited 8,000 workers in the period 2010 to 2012, mainly to replace retiring baby-boomers. The pace of hiring is set to further increase as the industry transforms. Forest products companies, similar to those in other sectors, are reporting difficulties in replacing skilled workers. The sector is currently in need of all types of workers such as millwrights, pipefitters, engineers, forest technicians, truck drivers and management personnel.
FPAC launched TheGreenestWorkforce.ca to help rebrand the industry and attract a new generation of employees to the sector. The industry is also looking to adopt best practices for hiring and retaining workers, and work co-operatively with other sectors and governments on policies and programs that would increase the pools of skilled workers in Canada.
BUILDING THE MOMENTUM
The forest products industry has always been one of the largest employers in Canada. After a period of retrenchment, the sector is hiring again. However there are many challenges ahead: convincing Canadians there is a bright future in the industry; competing with other sectors for workers; and attracting the right skills for a sector that is transforming. With cooperation from industry, governments, communities, labour unions and the academic communities and, FPAC feels confident in reaching the goal of refreshing the workforce with at least 60,000 new recruits by the end of the decade. Read the proposals that would help the industry reach the Vision2020 goal on page 22: Vision2020 Report Card: 2010 - 2012