Forestry workers in BC now have new tools to help them.

The BC government has announced the first round of support programs for those workers displaced by the temporary and permanent mill closures.

A web portal is now available to help workers access programs.

Work is also underway to open community-based job placement co-ordination offices in communities hardest hit by mill closures including 100 Mile House, Clearwater, and Mackenzie. The offices will support impacted forest workers by assessing their individual needs and goals, connecting them to government programs and services, matching them with available industry jobs, and engaging with employers and unions. More job placement and skills training programs and services will be announced.

Applications are now being accepted for the retirement bridging program. Mill workers who are employees of a forestry company in the B.C. Interior may be eligible to receive combined funding of up to $75,000, depending on their individual employment history and situation, to help in their transition to retirement. Eligibility information and applications are available at community Service BC offices

Through the forest employment program, affected contractors in the Interior will be able to bid on short-term employment opportunity projects near communities directly impacted by a permanent or indefinite mill closure. Contracts for projects under the forest employment program will be administered through the Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development regional offices using government procurement processes with a focus on impacted contractors and workers.

More information can be found here.