The North Central Region is a provincial leader in forestry with twelve sawmills running in the area, from Mackenzie and Fort St. James, to Vanderhoof, Prince George and McBride. Silviculture and reforestation is another significant forestry industry in the area, as forestry operators are required to plant more trees than they extract from the landbase in British Columbia

BC Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations

The BC Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations represents the government in the forest industry as well as within the BC Jobs Plan. The Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations has been focusing on diversifying the industry’s markets since 2003, and it has paid dividends. Since 2003, wood exports to China have increased from $69 million to $687 million per year.

In April 2012, Steve Thomson, the Minister of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations, introduced the new Forest Sector Strategy for British Columbia. The strategy is focused on six different areas: a commitment to using wood first; growing trees, sequestering carbon, and ensuring that land is available from which to derive a range of forest products; creating a globally competitive, market-based operating climate; embracing innovation and diversification; supporting prosperous rural forest economies; and First Nations becoming partners in forestry.

The Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations website provides links to a wide range of industry related government websites. Additionally, there is information for potential investors, including authorizations, licensing, permitting, contract bids, and job applications on the website.

The Prince George Forest District, Vanderhoof Forest District, and Fort St. James Forest District cover BC’s North Central Region. These sites provide maps of the district, information about personal tree cutting, fire information and forestry road updates. For potential investors there is also district contact information, contract opportunities and a link to the Forest & Range Practices Act.

The Land and Resource Data Warehouse is a government run website. The purpose is to provide corporations a repository for integrated land, resource and geographic data.

BC Timber Sales

BC Timber Sales was founded in 2003 with a mandate to provide the cost and price benchmarks for timber harvested from public land in British Columbia. Through 12 Business Areas and an operational presence in 33 locations, BC Timber Sales manages roughly 20 percent of the provincial Crown allowable annual cut. In its first five years, they offered more than 73 million cubic metres of timber to the market, sold 63 million cubic metres and generated $430 million in net revenue for the Province.

The BC Timber Sales’ commitment to the safety of all people affected by its operations – employees, contractors, licensees and the public – is demonstrated by achievement of SAFE Company certification in August 2008. Starting in 2009, BC Timber Sales requires SAFE Company certification for all parties employing workers on Timber Sales Licenses or bidding on contracts with BC Timber Sales.

Sound forest management is a high priority for British Columbians and central to the BC Timber Sales mandate. BC Timber Sales is the largest tree planter in British Columbia, with 199 million tree seedlings planted in its first five years. The commitment to forest management excellence includes achieving and maintaining certification of an Environmental Management System in all Business Areas under the International Organization for Standardization and achieving Sustainable Forest Management certification over three-quarters of its operating areas.

The BC Timber Sales website provides information about their Business Plan and performance, and access to documents, forms and other materials for clients and program registrants.

Central Interior Logging Association

The Central Interior Logging Association (CILA) is the official voice of the forest harvesting sector across the Central and Northern Interior Regions. CILA members include independent logging, log-hauling, road building, bio-mass producers and processors, woodlot owners, silviculture contractors and service and supply companies from 100 Mile House in the south, to the Northwest Territories in the north, and from the Alberta Border to the Hazeltons in the west.

The Central Interior Logging Association represents its members on safety, government policy and environmental issues, and provides liaison with First Nations, forest companies and various interest groups to encourage a strong and progressive forest contracting and supply sector. The Association provides up-to-date communication on issues of importance to its members as well as a number of programs, services and benefits designed to reduce CILA members' cost of doing business. All activities undertaken by the CILA have these four goals in mind: to help members stay viable and competitive; to help members be as efficient and innovative as possible; to strengthen the Association as the voice for the sector; and to strengthen the forest industry in the central interior.

The Central Interior Logging Association website has information about CILA membership, training opportunities, policies and contact information.

 Visit the CILA website for employment opportunities.

FIRST Logger

Forest Industry Readiness Skills Training

FIRST Logger is a program designed by the Central Interior Logging Association. The programs purpose is to assist the forest harvesting industry fill the very large worker shortage. 85% of CILA members had employee shortages in 2010.

FIRST Logger assists eligible participants with training, and provides job placement opportunities. The program is available in Prince George, the Okanagan/Kootenays, and North/Northwest regions, and is free to the users.

Training is available for careers as a log truck driver and a variety of heavy equipment operator positions including: buncher operator; excavator operator; processor operator; loader operator; bull dozer operator; and skidder operator.

The FIRST Logger website has a detailed description of the different positions that they provide training for, as well as contact information for those interested in participating in the program or those wishing to provide placement opportunities to individuals who undergo the program. Additionally, those at FIRST Logger are willing to assist individuals who are already trained but are having difficulties attaining a full-time position.

Western Silvicultural Contractors’ Association

Since 1984 the Western Silvicultural Contractors’ Association has represented the silvicultural contracting industry to both federal and provincial governments on forest policy, industry regulation, and health and safety. The organization’s members include treeplanting, stand tending, wildfire fighting, site preparation and ecosystem restoration contractors. The silvicultural industry comprises approximately 10,000 seasonal workers and generates $500 million annually in economic activity in Western Canada. In 2002 the industry planted its 5 billionth tree in British Columbia. More than 2000 contract wildfire fighters fought fires in B.C. and Alberta during 2003.

The Western Silvicultural Contractors’ Association is focused on four major themes: growing healthy, ecologically diverse forests, working for a future with a sustainable planet, building a balanced, enduring forest economy, and ensuring safe conditions for silviculture workers.

The Western Silvicultural Contractors’ Association website provides information about safety regulations, conferences, news updates, and links to industry resources.


Canadian Forest Products (Canfor)

Canfor has a total of ten sites in the North Central region, including five sawmills, three pulp mills, a tree nursery, and a corporate office.

The sawmills are: Isle Pierre Sawmill and Prince George Sawmill in Prince George, Mackenzie Sawmill in Mackenzie, Plateau Sawmill in Vanderhoof and Polar Sawmill in Bear Lake.

The J.D. Little Forest Centre tree nursery and the Canfor Administration Centre are both in Prince George.

Canfor is a Canadian integrated forest products Company based in Vancouver, British Columbia, involved primarily in the lumber business, with production facilities in British Columbia, Alberta, Québec and the United States. Canfor markets lumber products throughout North America and overseas. In addition to its own production, Canfor also markets lumber produced from independent mills and offshore countries. Canfor employs approximately 2,400 people in British Columbia.

Photo Credit: CanforThe majority of lumber produced by Canfor from its facilities is construction and specialty grade dimension lumber that ranges in size from one by three inches to two by twelve inches and in lengths from six to twenty-four feet. A portion of Canfor’s lumber production is comprised of specialty products that command premium prices, including Square Edge lumber for the North American market, J-grade lumber for the Japanese market and machine stress rated (“MSR”) lumber that is used in engineering applications such as roof trusses and floor joists.

Canfor plays an important role in the development of the Canadian Boreal Forest Agreement, an agreement that protects over 76 million hectares of Canadian forest.

Detailed information about Canfor’s product line, their local and global responsibilities, and investor-focused information are all available on their website.

For those interested in pursuing a career with Canfor, job postings can be found online.

Sinclar Group Forest Products

Sinclar Group Forest Products consists of eight companies, including four sawmills: Apollo Forest Products in Fort St. James, L&M Lumber and Nechako Lumber in Vanderhoof, and Lakeland Mills in Prince George.

Sinclar Group Forest Products, founded in 1962, began as a lumber wholesaler in Prince George, is now an integrated wood manufacturing company with operations throughout central British Columbia.

In spring 2012 Lakeland Mills suffered a devastating incident that forced the site to close. After only a few weeks the planer mill re-opened for business, while the remainder of the site continues to undergo further assessment.

The Sinclar Group mills produce SPF lumber available in stud, economy, #2, #2 Premium, 3&Btr, and J-Grade quality studs and boards. Sizes range from 1x2 to 2x6, including multiple cut sizes in between. Additional services include barcoding, sub-bundling, ½ Packs, endpaint, and mixed loadings.

The Sinclar Group Forest Products’ has a news and events page, as well as contact information. Information about the company, their partnerships, efforts at sustainability and more is available online.

Those interested in working for Sinclar Group Forest Products can view available openings on their career opportunities page.



Conifex has a sawmill in Fort St. James and two in Mackenzie. The Conifex Regional Office is located in Prince George.

Conifex operations include timber harvesting, reforestation, forest management, sawmilling logs into lumber and wood chips, and value added lumber finishing. Upon completion of its bioenergy facility at Mackenzie, British Columbia, Conifex’s business sectors will be expanded to include bioenergy.

The Conifex sawmills in Fort St. James and Mackenzie is capable of producing construction grade and select grade dimension lumber, as well as J-grade for the Japanese market. Conifex Lumber is currently sold in the USA, Canada, China and Japan. Combined the Conifex sawmills’ allowable annual cut is nearly 1.6 million cubic meters.

Conifex has a total of 475 employees through all their operations.

Conifex online has information about the company’s operations, investor information, their forestry operations, and detailed lumber specifications.

If you are interested in having a career with Conifex, visit their Careers page on their website.


West Fraser Timber Co. Ltd.

West Fraser is the owner of Fraser Lake Sawmills.

West Fraser Timber Co Ltd. is an integrated forest products company producing lumber, wood chips, fibreboard, plywood, pulp, and newsprint. Today, the company carries on its operations through subsidiary companies and joint ventures owned directly or indirectly by the company’s principal operating subsidiary West Fraser Mills.

West Fraser has 16 operations in British Columbia, 11 in Alberta, and 15 spread across Southern USA, and the majority of West Fraser’s lumber production is sold in the North American markets.

Fraser Lake Sawmills is capable of producing J-Grade, Export Hiline and North American Hiline lumber. All variations of available West Fraser lumber are produced in Canadian mills except for SYP lumber, which is produced in the American sites. West Fraser produces a variety of softwood lumber products which are sold into the North American and export markets. All lumber is graded in compliance with the NLGA (National Lumber Grades Authority) and the NGR (National Grading Rules) which are accredited by the ALS (American Lumber Standard) and CLS (Canadian Lumber Standard).  Each piece of lumber is grade stamped showing the grade of lumber, the dryness, the mills designated number, and the accredited agency.

West Fraser’s website provides detailed information about the company’s history, their product line, operations, and up-to-date investor information.

Career opportunities at West Fraser are found on their Jobs page.

Dunkley Lumber

Dunkley Lumber Sawmill operates outside of Hixon, roughly 80 km south of Prince George.

Dunkley Lumber is one of the largest sawmills in North America, with a capacity of approximately 500 million board feet of lumber per year. Dunkley manufactures kiln dried SPF (Spruce-Pine-Fir) dimension lumber as well as SPF boards. Douglas Fir dimension is also produced, and is available in either green or kiln dried (KD).

Dunkley also produces a variety of specialty and value added products on site, including trimblocks, SPF 2” Shop&Btr, clears, economy, rougher headed fascia trimboard, and precision end trimmed (PET) lumber.

The Dunkley Lumber website has detailed information regarding their company, products, policies, and contacts. 

National Choice Specialty Wood

National Choice Specialty Wood owns and operates the Dore River Sawmill in McBride.

National Choice Biofuels Industries, and their Specialty Wood department, focus mainly on producing bio fuel pellets derived from waste and residual wood. National Choice often operates through partnerships with First Nations communities.

National Choice Specialty Wood runs a small ten man sawmill in McBride. The mill produces 25,000 to 35,000 board feet per day, and roughly half of all their production is exported to China.

The National Choice website describes the company, their operations, and provides contact information for interested parties.

Visit the National Choice Careers page for information regarding available positions.

Carrier Lumber

Carrier Lumber owns and operates the Tabor Mill in Prince George. Carrier Lumber’s corporate office, fabrication shop, and Bar K Ranch are also based in Prince George.

Carrier Lumber is a mill company specializing in portable modular mills. Carrier operates at seven different sites including three mills in Western Canada. Combined they can produce 500 million board feet of lumber annually, half of which comes from the Tabor Mill. The company employs over 200 people.

The Tabor Mill consists of a two line dimension sawmill, planer mill, six dry sheds for storing lumber during market turndowns, a wood yard, dry kilns, and extensive space for air drying lumber. Partially air drying some species greatly improves quality. Products produced are 1x4, 1x6, 2x4 - 2x12, 8'-20' DET (Double end trimmed) and are available in J-Grade, Stud, 2&Btr, #3, and Economy grades. Tabor Mill sells its products to North American and overseas markets.

Detailed information about product mix, grades, and species is available online. Sales contacts and information regarding all of Carrier’s facilities are on their website.

The Carrier Lumber Career page shows opportunities for every job opening at their business.