Forestry retirement program concludes, job placement supports continue
Thursday, August 19, 2021 4:45 PM
After helping more than 1,000 forestry workers transition to retirement, the Bridging to Retirement Program is coming to a close.
The job placement program will continue to support affected forestry workers through an online platform and three Interior offices.
Initiated in 2019, the Bridging to Retirement Program has been a high-demand, crucial support for displaced forestry workers in the Interior and Coast regions. The program has enabled employers to engage with their workers to support early retirement, while creating jobs for younger workers.
In addition to the retirement program, funding has been provided to assist forestry workers with accessing government services, training and job placements. The program will continue to support workers affected by the impacts of extreme wildfire seasons, labour shortages and the pandemic until the end of March 2022.
For several years, the Interior forest industry has been hard hit by wildfires and the mountain pine beetle. The Province’s actions, combined with rising lumber prices and an increasing global demand for softwood and pulp products, are contributing to the industry’s recovery. Over the past year, 41 closed or curtailed mills have resumed operations, bringing almost 7,500 people back to work.
Supports for forestry workers: https://forestryworkersupport.gov.bc.ca/
A backgrounder follows.
- On Sept. 17, 2019, government announced $69 million over three fiscal years for new supports for Interior forestry workers. This includes retirement bridging, job placement and retraining programs with the ministries of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development and Advanced Education and Skills Training.
- The Bridging to Retirement Program has provided about $46 million in benefits, helping 1,066 workers retire early and creating 665 forestry jobs for younger workers. In the Interior region, 866 workers made the transition to retirement.
- The retirement program funding is fully subscribed. The final applications are being processed and all applicants will be informed of their status in the near future.
- The maximum amount of funding available through the program was $75,000 for eligible workers, depending on age, years of experience and employer contributions.
- Job placement offices were launched in five interior communities hardest hit by mill closures and continue in 100 Mile House, Fort St. James and Fort St. John.
- Over the past three years, over 885 impacted workers were supported by assessing skills, connecting people with training opportunities, engaging with employers and being matched with jobs.
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