Canadian Forest Service Publications

Bringing home the bacon: industry, employment, and income in boreal Canada. 2009. Patriquin, M.N.; Parkins, J.R.; Stedman, R.C. Forestry Chronicle 85(1): 65-74.

Year: 2009

Issued by: Northern Forestry Centre

Catalog ID: 29268

Language: English

Availability: PDF (request by e-mail)

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Questions about the contribution of forestry to the socio-economic status of Canadian boreal communities have risen to the fore as debates have emerged about extending areas of protection in the region. Our previous research showed that boreal communities tend to be worse off socio-economically than other Canadian rural communities, and that labour income from the forest industry is relatively small. Because boreal development and protection initiatives are likely to be province-specific, this paper uses 2001 Statistics Canada data to examine the socio-economic status of boreal communities and the relationship between forest dependence and status—by province. We find a generally positive relationship between forest sector employment and employment income across the boreal region, but no such positive relationship between forest employment and unemployment rates, suggesting that the particular indicator chosen to represent wellbeing is a crucial consideration. Further, we see a great deal of inter-provincial variation in the relative importance of resource industries, suggesting the utility of province-specific and joint national initiatives. Finally, although the forest sector looms large in the collective psyche of the boreal region, we find diversified employment: other sectors (i.e., energy, agriculture, and hospitality) make a significant contribution to the economy of boreal communities.