In response to the B.C. Government's harvest deferral announcement released earlier today, the Business Council of B.C. has released the following statement on behalf of Greg D'Avignon, President and CEO of the Business Council of British Columbia:
"Today's announcement is deeply concerning for the future health of the B.C. economy, and will have direct and unintended consequences for communities across B.C., from Campbell River to Surrey, businesses big and small and thousands of forestry-related workers across the province. Further, this will have a negative impact on provincial revenues which pay for the essential services all British Columbians reply upon and of which the forest sector contributes an outsized share, particularly in the context of the ongoing pandemic.
"The process undertaken by government on this file also adds significant uncertainty and further erodes investor confidence in a province with complex, costly and time-consuming permitting processes. British Columbia's forest products are a proven lower-carbon intensive product than competing jurisdictions and are produced with globally-leading sustainable forest management practices; today's decision will push international buyers to those suppliers with lower standards and higher GHG emissions throughout their operations.
"Forest products are British Columbia's largest category of merchandise exports. Initial industry analysis from the B.C. Council of Forest Industries suggests the government's actions could result in up to 14-20 mill closures and the loss of 18,000 high paying union and non-union jobs, impacting small rural communities and urban centres alike, individual and Indigenous livelihoods and across the forestry supply chain including in the transportation and gateway economy of metro Vancouver.
"Unfortunately, this review continues to be fraught with the absence of a common fact base and clarity of what is and is not old growth forests, the scope of hectares involved, nor apparent consideration for other social and economic consequences inclusive of a significant number of Indigenous businesses and communities that rely on forestry jobs in B.C.
"The Business Council will continue to assess and provide further analysis on the broad impacts of this decision in the coming days ahead."