Honourable Katrine Conroy                                                                                  

Minister of Forests, Lands, Natural Resources and Rural Development  

P.O. Box 9049, STN Provincial Government Victoria, BC V8W 9E2


RE: Old Growth Technical Advisory Council


Dear Minister Conroy,



 The United Steelworkers Wood Council representing 12,000 BC Forest Workers is extremely disappointed and troubled by the Provincial Government’s announcement last week of an independent old growth technical advisory panel that in our view is anything but independent. 


The USW views the panel as being made up of people with strong Sierra Club ties, who have a one-sided view of managing old growth forests. The USW Wood Council wants to make it clear that this panel as it is currently constructed is alarming to those who work in the forest industry, as we know it is for the industry itself. It appears to be another step down a road to confrontation instead of one that brings people together. 


Government has committed that it will consult with stakeholders, yet it formed a biased panel with a singularity of view, that gives credibility and voice to views that do not align with many other stakeholders. To the best of our knowledge, there was no consultation with First Nations that we are aware of in appointing this panel and there was no consultation with labour or industry. This is a recipe for confrontation. 


We are aware that is hard for any individual panel member to be truly independent as everyone brings their own beliefs, but to have such a one-sided panel be described as independent, when its members have only a preservationist view and goal for old growth forests. We would find it impossible to view any work by this panel as inclusive, unbiased and ultimately, we could not support recommendations from a panel constructed solely by of those that oppose our view for a healthy vibrant and sustainable forest industry. 


The government has so many professionals internally and externally to choose from in order to create a truly balanced panel where parties may actually be able to break down barriers between different interpretations of the data, as noted by the Minister, but we believe these appointments fail to accomplish that goal. We also believe that these appointments actually contrast with government policy and law in terms of consultation, consent and inclusion of the impacted First Nations in BC. Almost assuredly, any determinations made by this advisory group will not align with any concept of free, informed and prior consent in the interest of reconciliation nor will it be in the best interest of protecting the thousands of jobs and the industry that provides them.


The USW Wood Council is calling on the government to understand our concerns, reconsider its approach by reconstituting the panel so that it is diverse, equally representative of dominant views, and be more acceptable to all stakeholders. 


Ultimately, if no changes are made, it’s clear that recommendations from this panel will result in a fractured industry that stops investing, less opportunity for First Nations to reap the benefits of a more inclusive industry for their nations and their people and a much smaller forest industry with significantly less jobs for our members and the communities they now call home. 




Jeff Bromley 

USW Wood Council Chair 
















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