Québec Sectoral Profile 2018-2020: Forestry and Logging

This document is the result of analyses performed using information available as at
April 5, 2018.

Key Highlights and Overview

  • Employment in the industry has been falling significantly for the last 20 years
  • The decline in the workforce is mainly due to a drop in demand for newsprint
  • In 2016, the United States imposed import duties on Canadian supercalendared paper, then on Canadian softwood lumber in 2017; the Forestry—Wood Product Manufacturing—Paper Manufacturing cluster is tackled on many side, and the impacts could be significant, in case of a trickle-down effect on goods and services providers

Since 1998, the workforce in forestry and logging has shrunk by over 60% in Quebec. The business environment suffered many hits, one after the other: declining interest of consumers in wood furniture and cabinets, gradual shift from newspaper and magazines to electronic platforms, and a significant decrease in the need for softwood lumber due to the decline of residential construction in Canada and the bursting of the real estate bubble in the United States.

The demand deteriorated, in both the domestic and export markets, even more so with the strengthening of the Canadian dollar during the 2000s.

Changes in GDP, employment and production*
The data table for this graph is located below

* Data are expressed as indices where the year 2007 = 100

Sources: Statistics Canada, Employment – LFS, Production – CANSIM 303-0064

Show data table
Changes in GDP, employment and production*
Year GDP Employment Total softwood and hardwood, production
2006 112.4 117.8 117.7
2007 100.0 100.0 100.0
2008 98.6 97.3 85.4
2009 89.1 90.0 65.5
2010 98.9 98.0 81.9
2011 101.6 84.1 75.7
2012 91.5 86.7 79.4
2013 93.3 100.6 88.5
2014 91.1 80.7 90.0
2015 97.0 66.8 99.1
2016 98.8 62.9 112.1

The level of activity in the industry has also been affected by periodic adjustments to the allowable cut made by Quebec's Chief Forester. In keeping with his mandate to ensure the sustainability of the resource, the Chief Forester conducts a review of the state of public forests, which has resulted in periodic reductions in cutting rights.

Finally, a reassessment was needed following the restructuring that took place in industries like wood products and paper manufacturing, the main clients. Investments were made to optimize the use of all available resources, human and material, in order to enhance productivity. Of course, these did nothing for employment growth, but they enabled to stabilize part of the labour force over the past few years.

The business environment has improved since 2012. The Canadian dollar lost ground against the American currency, there was significant growth in residential construction in the United States, and the downturn in the Quebec residential industry was cut short. This generated much demand for softwood lumber and contributed to an overall improvement in prices. Softwood lumber production and shipments posted a significant increase as of that moment.

In October 2015, the end of the Softwood Lumber Agreement between Canada and the United States added uncertainty regarding future sales. Despite major discussions, it was not possible to secure an extension, or to reach a new agreement. In November 2016, a group of American businesses filed a complaint with the U.S. Department of Commerce: they believed the Canadian wood product manufacturing industry was able to secure stocks at a lower price, and thus was not following the rules of a free market. Following an inquest, the American agency responsible for international trade stated that their industry was materially injured by the Canadian imports. In April 2017, it recommended the imposition of countervailing and antidumping duties on Canadian softwood lumber, mainly sawn or chipped lengthwise, sliced or peeled, planed or not, sanded or end-jointed, coniferous, and builders'joinery and carpentry of wood.

Since April 2017, the United States have been imposing countervailing and antidumping duties on Canadian softwood lumber. This is in addition to the import duties imposed by the United States on Canadian supercalendared paper since 2016, and newsprint and printing paper made in Canada in January 2018. However, there is a significant difference between these markets: the softwood lumber market benefits from a strong US demand, which has led to a sharp rise in prices. The gains are higher than could be expected, given that Canada-US trade is shadowed by a climate of uncertainty that weighs on both forecast and business context.

Because of the continuing uncertainty, and productivity gains in recent years through optimization of human and material resources, we expect of employment will continue to subside for the 2018-2020 period, except in the Bas-Saint-Laurent region, where job growth is expected centred on an anticipated rise in exports.

Sectoral Dynamics for Regions with Outlooks

Over the 2018–2020 period, the anticipated annual average growth rate (AAGR) is -0.6% (loss of approximately 200 positions) for the province of Québec.

Anticipated Dynamics in the Regions
Forestry and logging
Region 2018–2020
AAGR
Bas-Saint-Laurent 0.7%
Centre-du-Québec 0.0%
Lanaudière 0.0%
Gaspésie–Les-Îles-de-la-Madeleine -0.2%
Chaudière-Appalaches -0.4%
Capitale-Nationale -0.5%
Montérégie -0.5%
Estrie -0.5%
Mauricie -0.5%
Province of Québec -0.6%
Saguenay–Lac-Saint-Jean -0.6%
Laurentides -0.7%
Abitibi-Témiscamingue -0.8%
Outaouais -1.2%
Côte-Nord / Nord-du-Québec -1.7%
Monrtéal CMA -2.9%

n/a: not applicable

Source: 2018–2020 Sectoral Outlook annual exercise, Labour Market Analysis Directorate, Service Canada –
Québec Region, April 5, 2018.

The following occupations in the forestry and logging industry are the ones most likely to be affected by the anticipated dynamics of the labour market (according to the occupation by industry matrix):

  • 8422 Silviculture and forestry workers
  • 8421 Chain saw and skidder operators
  • 8241 Logging machinery operators
  • 8211 Supervisors, logging and forestry
  • 2223 Forestry technologists and technicians
  • 7511 Transport truck drivers
  • 7521 Heavy equipment operators (except crane)
  • 9431 Sawmill machine operators
  • 7312 Heavy-duty equipment mechanics
  • 8612 Landscaping and grounds maintenance labourers
  • 2122 Forestry professionals
  • 8432 Nursery and greenhouse workers.


Scope, Distribution and Trends in this Sector's Industry

Level and Share of Employment by Region
Forestry and logging
  2015–2017 Average 10-year change in employment
Employment Provincial share Regional share
  in thousands as a % as a % in thousands as a %
Province of Quebec 10.6 100.0 0.3 -7.2 -40.5
Resource Regions
Abitibi-Témiscamingue x x x x x
Bas-Saint-Laurent x x x x x
Côte-Nord / Nord-du-Québec x x x x x
Gaspésie–Îles-de-la-Madeleine x x x x x
Saguenay–Lac-Saint-Jean 2.0 18.6 1.5 -1.7 -46.8
Intermediate Regions
Centre-du-Québec x x x x x
Chaudière-Appalaches x x x x x
Estrie x x x x x
Mauricie x x x x x
Greater Montréal area
Lanaudière x x x x x
Laurentides x x x x x
Laval x x x x x
Montérégie x x x x x
Montréal x x x x x
Capitals
Capitale-Nationale x x x x x
Outaouais x x x x x

x: confidential data, fewer than 1,500 people employed in this region

Source: Historical estimates based on Statistics Canada's Labour Force Survey

Some Characteristics of the Industry in Québec

Establishment distribution by region
Establishment distribution by region. The data table for this graph is located below

Source: Statistics Canada, Establishment Counts by Economic Region,
industry, and Employee Size Ranges, December 2015

Show data table
Establishment distribution by region
  Distribution
Resource Regions 52.3%
Intermediate Region 22.7%
Greater Montréal Area 16.0%
Capitals 9.0%

Size of establishment
Size of establishment. The data table for this graph is located below

Source: Statistics Canada, Establishment Counts by Economic Region,
industry, and Employee Size Ranges, December 2015

Show data table
Size of establishment
  Distribution
1-9 employees 80.6%
10-49 employees 16.4%
50-99 employees 2.2%
100-199 employees 0.5%
200-499 employees 0.3%
500 employees and over 0.0%

Self-employed jobs compared to total employment
Self-employed jobs compared to total employment. The data table for this graph is located below

Source: Statistics Canada, CANSIM 383-0031 Labour statistics,
based on average employment in 2014-2016

Show data table
Self-employed jobs compared to total employment
  Distribution
All Industries 7.9%

Employment distribution by region
Employment distribution by region. The data table for this graph is located below

Source: Statistics Canada, Labour Force Survey; based on average
employment in 2014-2016

Show data table
Employment distribution by region
  Distribution
Resource Regions 52.2%
Intermediate Region 20.1%
Greater Montréal Area 18.9%
Capitals 8.5%

Employment by industry subsectors
Employment by industry subsectors. The data table for this graph is located below

Source: Statistics Canada, Survey of Employment, Payrolls and Hours;
based on average employment in 2014-2016

Show data table
Employment by industry subsectors
  Distribution
Logging 61.6%
Support activities 35.5%

Share of total employment and industry in Canada
Share of total employment and industry in Canada. The data table for this graph is located below

Source: Statistics Canada, Survey of Employment, Payrolls and Hours;
based on average employment in 2014-2016

Show data table
Share of total employment and industry in Canada
  Share in Canada
Total Col.-Britan. 13%
Québec 22%
Forestry Col.-Britan. 44%
Québec 22%

Employed labour force aged 15 years and over
Employed labour force aged 15 years and over. The data table for this graph is located below

Source: Statistics Canada, 2016 Census, special tabulation for ESDC

Show data table
Employed labour force aged 15 years and over
  Distribution
15-24 years All industry 12.8%
113 Forestry and logging 7.9%
25-34 years All industry 20.6%
113 Forestry and logging 17.5%
35-44 years All industry 22.3%
113 Forestry and logging 21.2%
45-54 years All industry 23.5%
113 Forestry and logging 23.3%
55-64 years All industry 17.2%
113 Forestry and logging 24.0%
65 years + All industry 3.6%
113 Forestry and logging 6.2%

Employment distribution by skill type
National Occupational Classification Distribution
0. Management 6%
1. Business, finance and administration 10%
2. Natural and applied sciences and related 11%
3. Health 0%
4. Education, law and social, community and government services 1%
5. Art, culture, recreation and sport 0%
6. Sales and service 3%
7. Trades, transport and equipment operators 15%
8. Natural resources, agriculture and related production 48%
9. Manufacturing and utilities 5%

Source: Statistics Canada, 2016 Census, special tabulation for ESDC

For more information

  • Job Bank (Canada) – Job Market Trends and News: Information on job, skills and local labour market trends is important for making career decisions. In addition, information on wages, labour supply, labour demand and other factors helps employers recruit, train and retain workers and make business and investment decisions.

  • North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) Canada 2012: Forestry and logging NAICS 113

Note

In preparing this document, the authors have taken care to provide clients with labour market information that is timely and accurate at the time of publication. Since labour market conditions are dynamic, some of the information presented here may have changed since this document was published. Users are encouraged to also refer to other sources for additional information on the local economy and labour market. Information contained in this document does not necessarily reflect official policies of Employment and Social Development Canada.

Prepared by: Labour Market Analysis Directorate, Service Canada, Quebec
For further information, please contact the LMI team
Date modified: