History and Conifer Mandate

The Council on Northern Interior Forest Employment Relations (Conifer) was established on December 10, 1985.  The organization was formerly known as the North Cariboo Forest Labour Relations Association, which originated in 1972.
The current certificate of incorporation under the Society Act of British Columbia includes the following key components, which serve to highlight the focal mandate of the association:
  • To assist a member, upon request, in the negotiation of collective agreements;
  • To assist a member, upon request, in employment grievance arbitration;
  • To provide to a member, upon request, information and advice respecting comparative industrial statistics;
  • To provide a member, upon request, advice and services respecting health, welfare and pension funds;
  • To provide to a member, upon request, information and services respecting job evaluation;
  • To organize, conduct and pursue the promotion of the Society and its purposes and in that regard to disseminate to the public or to employers in the forest industry information respecting the Society or employment relations issues;
  • To provide to a member, upon request, generally, any advice, service or assistance necessarily incidental to any of the above, including, without limiting the generality of the foregoing, information respecting new legislation, current legal or employment relations issues and development of draft uniform policy.

Now well into its fifth decade, the association has served its member companies effectively in the areas of collective bargaining, collective agreement administration, job evaluation and labour relations processes.  In addition, the association has been instrumental in the development of cost effective employment health and welfare benefit plans by consolidating and coordinating the service of member company needs in this area.  Conifer is also the settlor to and appoints trustees on several large forest industry health and welfare and pension programs including: IWA Forest Industry Pension Plan, IWA Forest Industry Long Term Disability Plan,  the Northern Interior Forest Industry Benefit Plan, and the Safety and Health Awareness Research Program (SHARP).

Conifer staff expend their efforts in the pursuit of the objectives outlined above.  In addition, the association is routinely instrumental in the development and delivery of related training and development initiatives for member company staff.  The current staff structure of the association includes an Executive Director, a Manager of Employment Relations, a Manager of Employee Benefit Plans, an Accounting/Benefit Administration Assistant, and an Administrative Assitant role.

Governance of Conifer is in concert with the requirements of the Society Act of BC.  A Board of Directors is in place representing the larger core members of the association.  This board makes key decisions on financial matters (dues), budget, and important policy and strategic decisions.

The current Conifer member composition can be viewed under the “member list” page of this web site.  The association is currently comprised of 23 member company divisions, along with 24 associate member companies for benefit plan coverage purposes.  This participation involves over 2,500 unionized employees, through certifications primarily with the United Steelworkers.  Overall the scope of the organization impacts over 5,000 employees working in the BC Forest Industry.