The Forest Sector COVID Safety Measures Program
Throughout the program eligibility dates of April 1, 2020 to March 15, 2021, the province had established guidelines and requirements for workplaces to manage COVID-19 related health and safety risks. The Forest Sector COVID Safety Measures Program was designed to reimburse expenses incurred by the forestry sector in Alberta during this period. The Program did not subsidize or relieve the forestry sector of their responsibilities for sustained yield forest management including reforestation and other forest management activities; rather, it addressed activities that were above and beyond required forest management functions arising directly out of complying with the additional health and safety workplace requirements.
The program was funded by the Government of Canada (Minister of Natural Resources) and administered by FRIAA on behalf of the Government of Alberta.
The Caribou Landscape Restoration Program (CLRP)
The Caribou Landscape Restoration Program (CLRP) ran from 2015-2017. The program worked in support of the recovery strategy for the Woodland Caribou Boreal Population through planning exercises in caribou ranges to enable future landscape restoration projects.
The program was established to help fulfill the requirements of the federal recovery strategies for boreal and southern mountain woodland caribou populations, and Alberta’s woodland caribou recovery plan. The primary objective is to support efforts that sustain and improve caribou habitats in such a way that caribou populations will be healthy and self-sustaining.
Forestry Workers Employment Program (FWEP)
The Forestry Workers Employment Program (FWEP) provided employment opportunities to those who were unemployed or underemployed in the forest industry. The program ran from April 2009 to March 2011, during an economic downturn when jobs were tough to find.
The two main goals of the program were to create forest industry jobs and to improve Alberta’s forest resources through silviculture activities, like planting and stand tending, on areas where there was no mandated industry responsibility.
The program was successful in achieving its purpose. Seventeen projects were funded throughout the program, with over $5.5 million directed to silviculture activities that helped to create jobs throughout the province. 10,200 person-days of employment – the equivalent of 40 person-years of employment – came from the program. Further, over 2 million seedlings were ordered, giving a much-needed boost to Alberta nurseries suffering from reduced industry demand at the time.
The program was also able to make a significant contribution to improving Alberta’s forests. Over 4 million seedlings were planted and stand-tending activities took place on 2,800 hectares of young forests.
FWEP worked so well because program contractors were willing to work within the eligible areas and completed projects within the scope of the program.
Incidental Conifer Replacement Program (ICP)
The Incidental Conifer Replacement Program (ICP) worked to improve the sustainability of coniferous timber that was harvested incidentally, or in the process of harvesting deciduous timber. Deciduous stands, for the most part, re-establish themselves, but coniferous stands often require reforestation treatments. The aim of the program was to promote sustainable coniferous harvests by carrying out silviculture activities that worked to replace the coniferous trees.
The program met the expectations set. The success of the project can be attributed to the cooperation of the participating members undertaking projects above their expected reforestation requirements or binding agreements.
Throughout the term of this program, participating companies developed new strategies for improved mixedwood management and undertook reforestation activities to enhance conifer content in deciduous leading cutblocks.
FRIAA was able to invest funding from the ICP so that all operations and administration fees were fully covered by the interest earned.
Community Adjustment Fund enhanced Community Reforestation Program (CAF enhanced CRP)
The purpose of this project was twofold: to create forestry jobs, and to improve forest sustainability. This program was unique because CAF Enhanced CRP was an agreement between the federal government and FRIAA, not the provincial government as is the case in most FRIAA programs.
From July 2009 through March 2011, the program funded additional silviculture work on areas previously reforested by the Government of Alberta. The program channelled funding into stand tending of plantations established before there was any regulatory requirement to complete those follow-up activities.
With funding from the Federal Ministry of Western Diversification, over $6.25 million was spent on activities that both enhanced timber resources throughout 6,462 hectares of land in Alberta and provided 17,266 person-days of employment to silviculture throughout the province. Projects were completed on budget, on time and with quality results, owing to rigorous oversight, careful financial management, and strict quality control of all projects delivered under the program.
Fire Hazard Reduction and Forest Health Program (FHRFHP)
The Fire Hazard Reduction and Forest Health Program was a unique program jointly funded by Alberta Sustainable Resource Development and Western Economic Diversification Canada. By working together at the provincial and federal levels, the program was able to double in size and funding. The collaborative project was designed to protect communities and forest values, enhance forests through activities that reduce fire hazards and maintain forest health.
The project was able to reduce the hardships experienced in resource dependent communities throughout Alberta by creating forestry jobs. It also helped various communities undertake vegetation management for FireSmart objectives. The program ran from May 2009 to December 2011 and 102 projects were completed, worth over $30 million. These projects created more than 2,576 person-months of employment, sustaining numerous businesses, and directly impacted over 8,393 hectares of forested land. Projects spanned across the province, from Cypress Hills to Zama Lake.
The program was the first time FRIAA provided funding to municipalities and First Nations communities in the province. The dozens of new groups working with FRIAA in the FHRFHP participated enthusiastically. The active response to the various rounds of proposals and the willingness to learn and understand the program on the part of the municipalities and First Nations communities made the program the success that it was.
This was also the first time FRIAA projects took place on federal lands, which included fuel reduction activities in Banff and Jasper National Parks.
WRP 1998 – Reclamation of Cutblocks Destroyed by Wildfire
In 1998, wildfires touched over 160,000 hectares in Alberta. The impacts were felt by communities across the province. WRP 1998 – The Reclamation of Cutblocks Destroyed by Wildfire Program was specifically created to address the needs caused by this particular wildfire season.
The one-time program aimed to re-treat and reclaim reforested cutovers that were damaged or destroyed in the summer fires. The program went above and beyond regulatory reforestation requirements, offering support and impetus for companies to re-establish forest cover.
The program was originally slated to provide $27 million in funding to reclamation activities, but after the need became apparent the funding increased to $35 million. Eligible reclamation activities took place on over 30,000 hectares of forested land, and 92 per cent of blocks met a current stocking standard as of 2013.
Through earned interest, the program was able to provide nearly $1 million more in funding to eligible projects than the original grant amount.