Workforce challenges facing forest sector: Domtar’s Forestlands Manager updates Rotary Club on state of the industry

Dryden Rotary Club welcomed guest speaker Jack Harrison, Forestlands Manager for Domtar’s Dryden Operations, last week. Photo by Michael Christianson

By Michael Christianson

An update on the workforce and operations were just a few things that Domtar Forestlands Manager Jack Harrison shared at a recent Rotary Club meeting.

Domtar saw an increase in production in 2017 and saw a bit of a slow-down in January due to colder than normal temperatures. 

Harrison spoke about future challenges to the mill including the need for skilled workers, increased government regulations, natural disturbances and climate change.

“The work force challenge is coming upon us we have a lot of folks in their 50s and 60s working in the forest so, trying to attract a new generation,” said Harrison. “Operating equipment now is quite enjoyable, almost in the comfort of home, listen to music, you’ve got a computer screen in front of you that shows you where you are on a map so it’s actually a high tech industry, very safe now.”

He added he was happy to speak to Rotary as the group does a lot of wonderful work in the community.

Harrison also spoke about managed forests and how they are divided into administrative areas and all the legislation that is involved with sustainable forest management including the Environmental Bill of Rights.

Consumption at the pulp mill was also highlighted; with 100% softwood at the mill they take in 5350 m3/day which equates to 1.94 million m3/year.

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