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Alberta Supports Contact Centre

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Forestry and Logging With Support Activities

At 38 million hectares, Alberta's forests cover a land mass equal to the size of Japan. The provincial government allows an annual harvest of more than 31 million cubic metres of timber. Because harvesting is balanced with reforestation, forestry industry workers planted 74 million seedlings in 2016. Forestry and logging industry products include building supplies, pulp and paper, animal bedding material and a variety of engineered wood products.

GDP Gross Domestic Product

Gross domestic product (GDP) measures the overall size of an economy. In 2015, the forestry and logging industry made up 0.1% of Alberta's GDP. This is a 0.2% decrease from 2013.

Alberta’s GDP
Decrease from 2013
  • growing or harvesting timber
  • producing seedlings in specialized nurseries
  • gathering forest products such as gums, barks, and balsam needles
  • providing related support services

The forestry and logging industry employed about 4,000 people in 2016. This is an increase of 11.1% or 400 jobs from 2015.


About 3,200 men worked in the industry in 2016 (up 500 jobs or 18.5% from 2015)


Data for women in the industry is not available.

Average Wage
Forestry and Logging With Support Activities
Average Hourly Wage
Average Hourly Wage
  • The average 2016 hourly wage of $42.80 for the forestry and logging industry was above the provincial average of $29.61.
Industry Performance

Alberta shipped a record $5.6 billion in forest products in 2016. Of that amount, $2.9 billion went to exports. In March 2017, the benchmark price (which is based on the average of 15 key framing lumber prices) reached near record levels at $580 per thousand board feet. The one-year moratorium after the Canada-U.S. Softwood Lumber Agreement expired in October 2015 helped. It allowed Alberta lumber producers to have unrestricted access to U.S. markets. These gains occurred even though the Fort McMurray wildfires disrupted operations such as those at Northlands Forest Products for a month.

The digital world has lowered the demand for newsprint. However, a 40% increase in e-commerce sales in Canada in 2016 is increasing the demand for the paperboard that is used to deliver goods directly to consumers. An increasing demand for sanitary products from emerging markets has also helped the industry.

Closures and mergers in the industry have resulted in larger companies that can take advantage of greater economies of scale. When combined with the industry’s investment in machinery at the beginning of the decade, this has meant greater productivity with fewer employees.

Industry Outlook

Canada’s lower dollar has made lumber exports competitive. However, the two sets of U.S. softwood lumber duties in 2017 will cause the industry’s growth to slow down. Alberta may look beyond American markets, especially to the lumber-hungry markets of China.

Alberta’s major market is still south of the border. Given the recovery of the U.S. housing market, the demand for lumber will still be high. While the duties will hurt industry profits, it is expected that only half the cost of the duties will come out of producers’ pockets. The rest will be passed on to American consumers.

Industry Employment Trends

Employment in this industry is expected to grow at an average rate of 5.4% from 2016 to 2019.

OCCinfo has more information about occupations in Alberta, including details about duties, working conditions, educational requirements, employment outlook, and salary ranges. You can also find reports on region-specific information about wages, job vacancies, and hiring difficulties in this industry. Visit the Survey Analysis to learn more.

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