BC Government needs to invest in BCForests on the eve of BC Forest Service centenary

VICTORIA, BC, Feb. 24, 2012 /CNW/ - BC Forest Services centenary celebrations scheduled for February 27 are clouded by serious concerns over the BC Government's ability to effectively manage BC forests. The Professional Employees Association (PEA) is calling on the BC Government to invest in licensed forestry professionals who work in BC's public service so they can carry out their role in managing BC Forests. 

The recent Auditor General's report indicates there are significant concerns over the Government's management of a resource that generates significant revenue for the province. This report targets the Government's lack of accountability, limited replanting practices, and poor forests information; therefore, concluding Government cannot ensure its management practices are effective. Additional studies, including one from the Forest Practices Board, raise alarms over the rapidly reduced number of field and office staff. 

The BC Government indicated in the recent budget they plan to further reduce the BC public service by 2000 positions over the next three years. This comes after years of workforce reduction of licensedprofessionals. The budget invested very little into the Ministry of Forests; this indicates the BC Government is not prepared to make the necessary improvements. 

The PEA represents over 1200 GovernmentLicensed Professionals (GLP). They work directly for the BC Government and a majority are licensed professional foresters. Over the past decade the PEA has seen its GLP membership reduced by 26 percent. "Further reductions in the BC public service could have additional damaging and long-lasting effects on BC's forests," said Scott McCannell, Executive Director of the PEA.

"We are calling on the BC Government to adequately invest in BC forests and the public service" said McCannell, "the Auditor General and several independent reports indicate there are serious concerns about the future viability of BC forests as a sustainable source of revenue for public services if adequate investments are not made."  Licensed professionals that work for Government have the expert knowledge, skills and experience needed for Government to address this situation.

SOURCE Professional Employees Association

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Media Contact:

Brett Harper, Communications Officer
Phone: 250-385-8791 ext. 206
Cell: 250-507-6406

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