The tree planting season in the Interior will now be rolling out with new rules and guidelines in place to address health and safety given COVID -19. “Tree planting is crucial to the health of our forests, and we are instituting strict measures based on the [provincial health officer Bonnie Henry’s] expert direction to make sure that it is done in a way that protects workers and the people of British Columbia,” said Minister of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development Doug Donaldson. BC Gov News Release
A Silviculture Operators Screening website has been developed for Contractors to attest to their Infection Prevention Control Protocol (IPCP), identify their COVID coordinator etc. This site and process is new and it is likely more details will be ironed out in the coming days.
Notes from the North Area Planting Call – April 24th – These notes further explain the requirements for getting planting going in BC.
Spring 2020 Tree Planting – COVID-19 Measures
April 24, 2020
- All planting camps must meet the standards in the new provincial health order Industrial Camps – Order of the Provincial Health Officer and in the Protecting Employees, Contractors, and Employers Working in the Silviculture Sector During the COVID-19 Pandemic manual, also known as the Guidelines for Silviculture Worker Camps During the COVID-19 Pandemic April 22, 2020
- In order to begin planting, tree planting contractors must have a COVID-19 Coordinator identified for each area/camp. They will submit an online Attestation Form that confirms that the planting contractor has an Infection Prevention and Control Protocol (IPC) in place. Once this form is submitted, they will get a reference number, and that number authorizes them to go out planting. If they haven’t started planting yet, they will need an inspection prior to start-up. Planters working from home must adhere to all the same rules. The home is considered a planting camp, and must have an IPC in place and confirmed through the submission of the Attestation form. Licensees are responsible for ensuring the terms of their planting contracts are upheld (planting quality etc), but are not responsible for inspection of the planting camps.
- Key messages about the 2020 Spring Planting Season Covid -19 Measures
- Frequently asked questions about the tree planting season and the Province’s response to COVID-19.
Q & A long version Top 10 Q &A
- Social Licence – To address the concerns of rural and First Nation communities about workers coming in from outside of the community, CFA managers are asked to communicate directly with local leadership regarding your contractor’s plans and safety measures. Social licence to operate is essential to get your trees in the ground, and maintaining it is essential to your long term work in the community! Local people want to know about the IPC and for how planters will behave, for example, when they drive into town, when they are filling up for gas and will they be stopping locally for groceries, etc.
Below is a message from Shane Berg, Deputy Chief Forester.
The COVID-19 pandemic has presented some unique and unprecedented challenges for all British Columbians. The Provincial Health Officer continues to provide the necessary measures and guidance that help essential services protect their workers and surrounding communities.
We also need to ensure that our economy continues to operate to provide essential goods and services to the people of B.C. For this reason, forestry and silviculture were included in the list of essential services.
B.C. anticipates planting over 310 million trees this year, which started on the Coast in February and will ramp up in the Interior over the coming weeks. Our 2020 planting program is focussed on reforesting harvested areas, maximizing climate change mitigation benefits (forest carbon) and rehabilitating areas affected by disease and the 2017-18 wildfires. This important work can go ahead with newly released COVID-19 measures to address community and worker safety.
The provincial health officer has provided :
Attached are key messages and frequently asked questions about the tree planting season and the Province’s response to COVID-19. Please share with your contacts as needed and use them to respond to all inquiries.
Please send any questions or comments to Ann Lockley, Senior Extension Lead for the Office of the Chief Forester.
More details and materials will follow. This is a quickly evolving issue and I appreciate your engagement at this critical juncture.
Shane Berg, Deputy Chief Forester