One of the most pressing issues for the forest industry in Canada is the dwindling supply of labour, and in particular the lack of skilled workers. Until recently, a labour surplus ensured an adequate supply of new workers for resource based firms across Nova Scotia. However, a decline in the birth rate, competition from other industries, and out-migration to western Canada have all served to reduce the pool of available workers. The productivity and profitability of firms in the forest industry depends on the skills and capabilities of its workforce. Yet many firms now find it increasingly difficult to find or retain the skilled labour force upon which they depend.
To gain a better understanding of the labour force issues and how they are likely to affect the future competitiveness of the forest industry, the Forest Safety Society of Nova Scotia asked APEC to undertake a consultation with industry representatives around the province. This resulting report explores the nature of the challenge, future labour force demand anticipated by the industry and provides recommendations from industry on how to effectively address these issues.