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  • September 29, 2021 (Victoria, BC) – The BC First Nations Forestry Council (the ‘Forestry Council’) has received funding provided through the Canada–British Columbia Labour Market Development Agreement to conduct labour market research to understand the role of mentorship in recruitment, retention and career advancement for a First Nations forestry workforce.

    The research project will span over two years and seek to identify current and future workforce opportunities, barriers, and solutions to inform the development of a framework for a First Nations Forestry Mentorship program.

    “Passing on knowledge to the next generation is an important cultural practice within Indigenous communities,” tells Chief Bill Williams, President of the Forestry Council. “Historically, many Nations have always had elements of mentorship embedded within their communities.”

    The research project will examine employment practices within the BC forest sector to inform an inclusive and culturally-aware mentorship framework that, in part, models itself to First Nations’ practices.

    “The concept of mentorship may have a wide range of meanings professionally, culturally, and socially,” tells Karen Sorensen, Workforce Development Manager at the Forestry Council. “That is why we look forward to collaborating with Nations, Industry, and the BC Government to define and better understand the role mentorship can play in increasing First Nations involvement in the forestry workforce.”

    The project is part of the implementation of the BC First Nations Forestry Workforce Strategy (the ‘Workforce Strategy’), which was developed in 2018 through collaboration between First Nations, Industry, and the BC Government.

    “Supporting a new generation of First Nation workers and forest professionals in the BC forest sector through education, employment opportunities, and mentorship is a key pillar in our Workforce Strategy,” says Dr. Charlene Higgins, CEO of the Forestry Council.

    “We look forward to seeing this collaborative initiative bring about more opportunities for the increased involvement of First Nations on all levels of forestry,” she adds.

    The Forestry Council is now inviting all individuals from Indigenous communities, industry, and educational groups to participate in the online survey and contribute their perspective on the meaning and role of mentorship.



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  • The ministry’s five-year action plan for implementing the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act (Declaration Act) fails to include any of the priority areas and concrete actions identified in the BC & First Nations Forestry Strategy that should be used to guide and inform forest policy and legislation reform over the next five years.

    Actions listed in the plan regarding rights of Nations to own, use, develop and control forests lands and resources within their territories are vague, and not measurable milestones.

    Priority areas of work that should be listed under the 2021-2026 Actions include:

    • Development of new forest revenue sharing models to increase revenue sharing to 50% over the next three years,
    • Tenure reform and reallocation to increase First Nations access to volume and decision-making regarding forest management,
    • Reform of the Timber Supply Review process, and
    • Access to resources for all First Nations to develop the own land use plans (LUP), and support their meaningful participation in collaborative LUP processes with the Province.


    To download and read the full letter submitted by the Forestry Council, click here.


    September 8, 2021 (Vancouver, BC) – The BC First Nations Forestry Council (the ‘Forestry Council’) has submitted an open letter to Premier Horgan expressing serious concerns with the engagement process used by the Ministry of Forest Lands, Natural Resources Operations & Rural Development (MFLNRORD) to involve First Nations in significant changes to forest policy.

    20 BC First Nations and Indigenous Forestry Organizations have signed in support of the letter, calling for a meaningful consultation to ensure that First Nations’ rights, priorities and values are incorporated into the modernization of forest policy in BC.

    In July 2021, FLNRORD sought input from Nations on proposed policy amendments through a letter sent to some Nations, with a final deadline for input of September 3, 2021.

    “The timeline for consultation is disrespectful, compressed and expedited, and does not allow for meaningful and informed consultation,” tells Chief Bill Williams, President of the First Nations Forestry Council.

    “Under the Declaration Act, changes being proposed to forest legislation, policies and regulations require the prior and informed consent of Nations; at the outset, not after the fact,” he adds.

    Dr. Charlene Higgins, CEO of the Forestry Council adds: “How are Nations supposed to participate in an informed and meaningful manner if they don’t have the resources or technical capacity required to understand the implications of the proposed changes and submit answers to 90+ questions into a “consultation portal”?”

    “A number of Nations have informed us they have not received a letter from the ministry regarding these proposed changes,” she adds.

    “The solution is easy,” says Higgins. “The Forestry Council is calling on the Province for an extension until the end of the year, to allow the time needed to co-draft a revised version of the Intentions Paper that reflects First Nations rights and priorities in the modernization of forest policy in BC, and for us to do the technical work with the Nations to assist them in better understanding impacts and implications of the proposed policy changes.”

    To read the full letter, click here.

    For additional info, contact:

    Michael Robach, Communications Manager,, +1 778-939-4184
    BC First Nations Forestry Council