Report confirms devastation in face of government inaction on forestry

BURNABY, BC, March 24 /CNW/ - It's time for the federal and provincial governments to face up to the massive crisis in Canada's forest industry and take action, says Steve Hunt, Director of District 3 of United Steelworkers (USW).

Governments have failed to deal effectively with the devastation in Canada's resource-based communities, where 100,000 jobs have been lost since 2004 and 40,000 remain unemployed, according to a federal government funded sector-council report released today (The report "Challenges and Impacts: Labour Market Transition for Laid-Off Forest Products Workers in Canada" can be downloaded at http://fpsc-cspf.ca/downloads/FPSC_report2010_eng_final.pdf).

"The Forest Products Sector Council's new report on transition programs for forest products workers indicates that we're not getting the job done and we couldn't agree more," said Hunt.

The Steelworkers union is calling on provincial and federal government to take immediate action on the report's recommendations.

"This Report is an urgent call to action. It recommends the establishment of provincial or regional crisis committees and we urge the provincial governments - especially British Columbia which has done nearly nothing to help forest workers - to take immediate action on forest-sector transition and jobs," said Hunt.

The Government of Canada must start by immediately changing Employment Insurance (EI) rules so that all forestry workers are able to get the training programs they need immediately, regardless of their EI status, he adds.

It is also important that the report acknowledges that "'training alone may not be enough' for Canada's forestry industries, and that public job creation is important", said Hunt. "It should a major part of an expanded stimulus program."

SOURCE United Steelworkers (USW)

For further information: For further information: Steve Hunt, (604) 683-1117, (604) 816-2554


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