In its socio-economic analysis of the Queen Charlotte TSA, the
Ministry of Forests estimates that logging, forestry manufacturing, construction
and transportation related to forestry account for approximately 31 percent
of on-Island employment. But as shown above, the biggest social and economic
benefits, by far, flow to off-Island companies and their employees.
The objective of many Islanders is to reverse that picture by retaining
more timber for processing at the local level. This would allow the AAC
to be lowered while creating more local jobs. Today in coastal British Columbia
it takes a thousand cubic metres of wood to generate 1.37 full-time jobs.
This equation can be further broken down as follows. For every thousand
cubic metres, 0.41 logging jobs are created; 0.4 sawmilling jobs; 0.07 plywood
mill jobs; 0.45 pulp and paper jobs; and 0.04 shake and shingle jobs.
The important thing to note about these numbers is that they do not include
so-called "value-added" or remanufacturing jobs (i.e. furniture
componentry, musical instruments). This is relevant for two reasons. First,
most Islanders don't want a pulp mill. Second, the volume of wood required
to sustain one job in a sawmill can then be re-run through a value-added
mill where it generates more than four times the number of jobs.
Let's assume for the moment that every tree logged on Haida Gwaii was processed
on the Islands. Let's assume also that the residents of Haida Gwaii could
match the average employment figure for the coast and generate 1.37 full-time
jobs for every thousand cubic metres logged - a not unrealistic assumption,
given that British Columbia falls well short of other jurisdictions in generating
jobs from its forests.
How much could Island residents allow the AAC of the four major companies
to drop and still hang on to 427 jobs? The answer: the cut could be reduced
In other words, their billed volume could fall from 1.78 million cubic metres
a year to 311,678 cubic metres, and there would still be as many jobs in
the local forest industry as there are today. Granted, people wouldn't be
working in the same jobs as they are now. But they would be gainfully employed
in a forest industry with far brighter prospects for sustainability than
the status quo.