Job cuts come to forest, energy ministries
VICTORIA – The B.C. government issued 294 layoff notices Monday to staff in the forests and energy ministries, and announced it is closing the forests ministry field office in Prince Rupert.
Forests Minister Pat Bell said the Prince Rupert office had been reduced to about 10 staff with harvesting activity at a low ebb in northwestern B.C., and the functions of the office can be handled by the Terrace and Haida Gwaii offices.
About 200 of the affected employees are in the forests ministry, and the remainder in the energy ministry and the Integrated Land Management Bureau, which is now part of the forests ministry.
In addition to closing the Prince Rupert field office, district offices in Squamish, Revelstoke, Clearwater and Vanderhoof are downgraded to "district sub-offices," with a single manager referring significant compliance and enforcement decisions to the nearest district office. District offices in Alexis Creek and Castlegar are downgraded to field offices.
Bell said the affected positions are about half operational and half devoted to head-office functions, 37 of which are in Victoria and others around the province.
"We've unfortunately seen a reduction in the harvest level of over a third in the last couple of years," Bell said. "Clearly it makes sense for us to look at how we can create efficiencies within the ministry, to make sure that we continue to deliver the services that are necessary."
A memo to staff from deputy forests minister Dana Hayden shows that 107 field operations positions are eliminated, 26 in the Coast forest region, 23 in the Northern Interior and 55 in the Southern Interior.
Another 16 positions come from the budget and finance branch, 11 from research, 15 from the assets and infrastructure branch and nine from information management.
A total of 52 employees are affected in energy and mines. Bell said the government is working to see what other positions in government may be available for the affected employees.