A commitment to respecting First Nations

As part of Defining a Higher Standard® of forest stewardship we are continuing to grow mutually beneficial relationships with First Nations.

Western has an ongoing focus on ensuring our sustainable forest management practices meet broad cultural, environmental, social, and economic values. As such, we are committed to working closely and respectfully with Indigenous communities in the areas where we operate. Across our timberlands, silviculture, and manufacturing sites, we work within the traditional territories of nearly 50 First Nations on the coast of British Columbia, and continuously seek to create sustainable employment, training and business opportunities.

Western acknowledges and respects the Indigenous rights, title and interests in the lands and waters of Coastal British Columbia and believes that by working with Indigenous communities we can be stronger together. While government-to-government engagement is ultimately required to achieve enduring solutions, Western believes it can play an important role in advancing reconciliation by supporting new and innovative business relationships in the forest sector.

Western has adopted an Indigenous Relationships Policy with the following principles that help guide us:

1. We will seek to understand the interests of Indigenous communities and work diligently to support meaningful and lasting reconciliation initiatives.

2. We will listen to, learn from, and consider the values and input of Indigenous communities in our plans, and seek to develop those plans together.

3. We will endeavour to develop and foster meaningful relationships through open and timely communication.

4. We will strive to create mutually beneficial and meaningful business relationships, including opportunities for equity ownership in business.

5. We will seek to grow mutually beneficial business relationships with Indigenous vendors and work to procure goods and services from businesses committed to advancing reconciliation with Indigenous communities.

6. We will work towards making Western a forestry employer of choice for Indigenous people by fostering a diverse and inclusive workforce and a welcoming workplace.

7. We will work with and encourage our contractors and communities to increase their awareness of opportunities to employ Indigenous people.

8. We will collaborate with Indigenous communities and educational institutions to enhance worker readiness in the forest sector.

A celebration was held in Campbell River to mark the beginning of a newly formed forestry partnership between the Tlowitsis, We Wai Kai, Wei Wai Kum and K’ómoks First Nations (all member First Nations of the Nanwakolas Council) and Western. The celebration follows last week’s completion of the previously announced agreement for the Nations to acquire a 34% interest from Western in a newly formed Limited Partnership.