How do forests benefit Canadians?
Forests provide a wide range of economic, social and environmental benefits. The forest sector continues to be a major contributor to Canada’s economy. The sector provides income for local workers in 2,400 communities, contributes $25.2 billion to nominal GDP, supports more than 300 forest-reliant communities and directly employs more than 184,000 Canadians.
Canada’s forests play an essential role in the economy and the lives of Canadians, including in Indigenous and rural communities. Forests sustain life by providing essential habitat, food, renewable energy and materials. They also provide important environmental services and opportunities for spiritual and cultural enrichment. The forest sector supports about 300 forest-reliant communities and directly employs 205,365 Canadians, including approximately 12,000 First Nations, Métis and Inuit people. Forest ecosystems also provide important biodiversity habitat; supply goods and services that can drive sustainable growth; and are an essential part of the solution to climate change. Sustainably managed forests, and the wood products produced from them, provide important pathways to manage carbon and help mitigate the impacts of climate change.
Key sustainability indicators
Explore the report to find information on the key sustainability indicators:
- Forest sector employment: Annual indicator of direct employment in the forest sector. This indicator is an important measure of how the forest sector contributes nationally to the economic and social welfare of Canadians.
- Forest sector average earnings: Annual average earnings in the forest sector. Trends in average earnings indicate the overall importance of the sector to the economy, especially when compared with other industries.
- Forest communities: Percentage of people working and living within Canada’s forests. Forests provide a range of important economic, cultural and environmental benefits for many Canadian rural and urban communities (download the report for more details).
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Forest sector employment
Forest sector direct employment, 2011–2021
Between 2011 and 2021, total employment fluctuated at around 200,000 jobs, with a high of just over 210,000 in 2018 and a low of under 190,000 in 2020. In 2021, the total employment increased again to over 205,000 jobs. On average, the wood product manufacturing subsector makes up the greatest share of the forest sector employment, followed by the pulp and paper product manufacturing and the in-forest activities subsectors.
Table showing direct employment in the forest sector for each year from 2011 to 2021 for three subsectors: pulp and paper product manufacturing, wood product manufacturing and in-forest activities.
|In-forest activities||Pulp and paper product manufacturing||Wood product manufacturing|
Forest sector average earnings
Average earnings in the forest sector compared with all manufacturing sectors, 2011–2021
Average annual earnings for the forestry and logging subsector rose steadily from a low of just below $50,000/year in 2011 to nearly $53,000/year in 2021.
Average annual earnings for the pulp and paper product manufacturing subsector experienced more annual variability than the other forest subsectors, but hovered around an average of about $60,000/year. Average annual earnings were lowest at about $56,000/year in 2014 and highest at about $63,000/year in 2019, but had a notable drop in 2018 ($57,000/year).
Average annual earnings for the wood product manufacturing subsector were fairly stable with a slight overall increase from a low of around $45,000/year in 2011 to almost $49,000/year in 2020, with a spike in 2017 of over $50,000/year.
Average annual earnings across all manufacturing sectors have remained steady from 2011 to 2021 at about $50,000/year.
Table showing the average annual earnings per person, in 2012 dollars, for three forest subsectors (forestry and logging, pulp and paper product manufacturing, and wood product manufacturing) compared to the average annual earnings per person for all manufacturing sectors from 2011 to 2021.
Average earnings (2012 dollars)
|Forestry and logging||Pulp and paper product manufacturing||Wood product manufacturing||All manufacturing|
Sources and information
See Sources and information in the downloadable report for detailed sources.
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