Let's examine the four major forest companies on the Islands
- MacMillan Bloedel, Husby Forest Products, TimberWest and Western Forest
Products. None of them operate production facilities on the Islands. (MacMillan
Bloedel has a small, custom-cut mill on the Islands that has sporadically
processed "salvaged" yellow cedar and spruce cants. But the mill
is underequipped, poorly designed, and is now closed.)
MacMillan Bloedel's AAC on Haida Gwaii totals 1.2-million cubic metres from
a variety of TFL, Timber Licences and private holdings. According to the
company and its contractors, this generates a total of 304 on-Island jobs
including 33 salaried staff. Most of these are in logging and log-transportation.
Another 97 direct logging jobs go to off-Island residents who work for MacMillan
Bloedel's contractors. Since MacMillan Bloedel does not operate a local
mill, all processing jobs generated from its Haida Gwaii cut go to off-Island
residents. Using the provincial productivity index, the estimated number
of processing jobs generated from that cut is 1,046 jobs. When those processing
jobs are added to the logging jobs held by off-Island residents, the number
jumps to 1,143 jobs.
Between 1988 and 1992, Statistics Canada said the average employee wage
before tax and excluding benefits was just under $50,000. When this is applied
to the above job-generation figures for MacMillan Bloedel, the following
Next to MacMillan Bloedel in terms of volume of timber logged on Haida Gwaii
is Husby Forest Products. The company holds three Forest Licences in the
Queen Charlotte TSA with a combined AAC of about 342,000 cubic metres. That
cut, according to the socio-economic analysis of the Queen Charlotte TSA,
generates 162 jobs. Of those jobs, 130 accrue to off-Island residents.
Of the 342,000 cubic metres logged, approximately 10 percent- 34,000 cubic
metres - is waste. That leaves a total of 308,000 cubic metres. Until recently,
all of that went off-Island.
This year, Husby has sold 18,000 cubic metres to one of Haida Gwaii's local
sawmills - Abfam Enterprises Ltd. in Port Clements. Abfam and Husby have
a verbal agreement (not a contract) in which Husby may sell up to 50,000
cubic metres of cedar per year to Abfam. If Husby sells the total volume
to Abfam, it should provide employment to 30 mill workers. However, there
is no guarantee this will happen - in fact, the deal now appears to be in
limbo. The Abfam mill is currently out of wood and its employees laid off
pending more log sales from Husby.
Assuming Abfam gets no more wood, here's how the employment picture from
Husby's cut breaks down. In logging, it provides 32 jobs on Haida Gwaii.
Off Haida Gwaii, Husby's cut generates 130 direct jobs in logging and log
transportation-related enterprises. In off-Island processing, it generates
estimated 295 direct jobs.
TimberWest's cut on Haida Gwaii is split between a Tree Farm Licence, Forest
Licence and several Timber Licences giving the company an annual cut of
about 130,000 cubic metres of timber. Logging activities generate 85 full-time
jobs including salaried employees. All the jobs are held by Island residents.
Since the company operates no local processing facility, all milling jobs
go to off-Island residents, estimated at 123 jobs.
Western Forest Products has a Tree Farm Licence on Haida Gwaii with an annual
cut of 115,000 cubic metres. That cut supports 29 logging jobs, 23 of which
go to off-Island residents.
Again, the company has no local milling facilities. The total number of
off-Island processing jobs created by Western's log shipments is an estimated
While the numbers vary from company to company, the pattern is clear. The
overwhelming majority of jobs and social and economic benefits are enjoyed
by off-Island residents. In total, 427 direct jobs go to on-Islands residents,
versus 1,823 direct jobs to off-Island residents. On average, that's one
job created on Haida Gwaii for every four created elsewhere. On the financial
side the ratio is the same. The total estimated wage generation on-Island
is $21.2 million. Off-Island, wages are $90.6 million.