Community Forests and COVID-19
We are living in a time of great uncertainty and unprecedented challenges. COVID-19 is a crisis we all are experiencing at a very personal level. We are adjusting our daily activities, digesting information that changes hourly and recalibrating work plans, trying to get used to life as we could never have imagined.
BCCFA staff will be making calls to all of our members in the coming week. We want to connect, to hear about how you are keeping safe, the changes you are making, how you are adapting and the impacts to your operations and businesses. We also want to learn about your needs and how we can support community forests, along with any recommendations you have for us moving forward.
We also want to let you know our thinking and plans as we pivot to address the new situation. As you likely know we have postponed the conference and AGM to 2021. We learned that we have the option to carry over our existing board until we can convene our members and hold an AGM in 2021. We have also postponed the production of the new community forest film.
We are reworking our budget to reflect the need to be flexible and nimble in these uncertain times. Member invoices are due to go out in early April. The BCCFA board is working to help our members mitigate the crisis through a membership fee reduction. More information about membership dues is coming soon.
The BCCFA has grown through the power of networking and of bringing people together under a set of shared values while recognizing the uniqueness of individual CFAs. We are looking to move forward with our values at the heart of all we do and continue to share pertinent information, challenges and successes. With the conference postponed until next year, we will be stepping up our use of webinars and virtual conferencing to keep our members engaged and connected with the network of community forests. More information will coming soon.
Take care of yourselves, be kind and wash your hands.
Priorities of the Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations
In a conference call on March 26, BCCFA Executive and Staff met with the Joint Working Group (Branch and Regional Staff).
We learned some service models have changed to allow government to continue to support clients. While their immediate focus has been on their colleagues and setting up home-based systems, they are doing their best to adapt to continue to do the work they can do.
They are working on 3 major concerns and consider them their top priorities given the realities of COVID-19:
- Flooding preparedness
- Wildfire preparedness
- Maintaining a sustainable forest industry through the pandemic
They are preparing for the worst and thinking through how to deal with postponements, extensions, replacements of agreements. Most “big P policy” processes are in a holding pattern. Things are moving fast as we all know. They are in internal discussions and will share outcomes in the near future.
The Chief Forester has announced new Covid-19 Pandemic Guidelines for Silviculture, Wildfire, and Consultant Forestry Contracting Camps and Crews and has delayed planting until early May.
Forestry recognized as an essential service during the COVID-19 pandemic
Essential services are those daily services essential to preserving life, health, public safety and basic societal functioning. They are the services British Columbians come to rely on in their daily lives, including businesses that ensure global continuity of supply of primary and value-added forestry/silviculture products, for example: lumber, pulp, paper, wood fuel, soft-pulp products
COVID-19 BC Provincial Support and Information Includes: essential information, checking symptoms online, childcare, education, employment and finances, businesses, housing and monthly bills, transportation, travel and tourism, reduced services, being prepared, and health care.
BC 211 For those wanting to help seniors and others in your community