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 to work co-operatively with other sectors and governments on policies and programs that would increase the pools of skilled workers in Canada.
One of the identified challenges in finding people with the right skills is the need to better understand where the jobs are and where the workers are. This is addressed through better labour market information and data. FPAC is working with an advisory committee made up of member companies, academics, forest sector organizations and governments to create a comprehensive national Labour Market Information (LMI) web application tool for the forest products industry.
Funding comes from the Sector Initiatives Program of Employment and Social Development Canada. This tool will gather data from different sources, permit queries at the regional, provincial and national levels, and produce regular LMI forecast reports.
Human Resources and Skills Development Canada, Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada, and Natural Resources Canada should work with the industry to develop solutions.