Balancing Out the Forestry Workplace


Balancing Out the Forestry Workplace

Tolko is proud to support diversity and inclusion in the workplace. Our Vice President of People and Services, Tanya Wick wants Tolko “to be the leader of the pack in our industry…to be the pioneers of attracting, recruiting and retaining women.” She recently spoke to Logging and Sawmill Journal about her work at Tolko and about the opportunities to improve diversity and inclusion in the forest industry. Here’s an excerpt from the article by Tony Kryzanowski:

There’s a movement underway to encourage more women to work in the forest industry, and it’s getting some solid traction from forest company Tolko Industries—and full support from women who are now working in the industry. 

The Canadian forest industry is not a big employer of women, even though they represent a significant pool of potential employees that could help the industry address its projected labor shortages.According to the Forest Products Association of Canada (FPAC), the industry through its Vision 2020 initiative has set a target of refreshing its workforce by hiring 60,000 new workers by 2020, including more women, Aboriginals, and new Canadians. At present, however, there is limited female representation in forestry in all sectors from corporate administration to production to logging, even in this era of working toward greater gender equality in the workplace.

One prominent Canadian forest company, B.C.’s Tolko Industries, has recognized it needs to do more so far as female employment is concerned and wants to hire more qualified female employees, having developed a three-year, ‘Women Strategy’.

According to Statistics Canada, there were 4.5 times as many men as women employed nationally within the ‘natural resources’ sector, which includes forestry, fishing, mining, quarrying, and oil and gas.

Tanya Wick, Tolko vice-president of people and services, says the average for women employed in the industry in B.C. and Alberta is 16 per cent, and 22 per cent in Saskatchewan. This takes corporate administration and production, but not logging, into account. By comparison, B.C.’s manufacturing sector is made up of about 20 per cent women.

About 11 per cent of Tolko’s workforce is women, so Wick says that the company recognizes that it has some work to do just to achieve the industry average in its home base in B.C. This explains its Women Strategy and she is leading its roll-out.

It will involve everyone in the company. Among its features:

  • Senior management is speaking publicly about how important they view this initiative
  • Adjustments are being made in company hiring and recruiting strategies
  • The initiative is being promoted and discussed on social media
  • Training is being conducted at all levels on how to avoid ‘unconscious biases’ toward women in both hiring processes and in the workplace
  • And steering committees are addressing such common workplace barriers to women as safety equipment that fits, access to washrooms, and access to tools and training on the production floor that provide opportunities for women to learn and advance.

To read the full article from the Logging and Sawmill Journal on balancing out the Forestry workplace visit: