VICTORIA — B.C. has boosted its existing Forest Employment Program (FEP) with an additional $12 million.
The goal of the funding is to support more workers and contractors in more communities, enabling them to complete priority land-based projects. Officials said the program is benefiting 180 land-based projects.
“We’re working hard to support workers and contractors who have been impacted by the pandemic, while also creating more good job opportunities and building stronger communities,” said Premier John Horgan in a statement. “These new and immediate jobs are another sign that there’s light at the end of the tunnel. Together, we can build an economic recovery that works for everyone.”
Officials noted forest-dependent communities were disproportionately impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and one of the program’s goals is to create opportunities for workers and contractors.
The projects include upgrading recreation sites and trails, forest service roads and wildlife areas.
The projects also prioritize Indigenous partnership, backcountry safety, ecosystem restoration, fencing and range infrastructure, forestry, recreation upgrades, rural roads and wildfire mitigation.
The three-year, $15-million program was set up in 2019 to provide short-term work opportunities for contractors and workers in B.C.’s Interior affected by indefinite and permanent closures in the forest sector.