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..

Conifer Directors for the 2022 to 2023 year:

Rob Jarvis - Canadian Forest Products Ltd.

Laura Necochea - Conifex Inc

Tony Mogus - Dunkley Lumber Ltd. – President

Annie Horning - Excel Transportation Inc.

Dave Salmon - Hampton, Babine FP - Vice President

Kim Swarts - Lakeland Mills Ltd.

Virginia Lessard - Parallel Wood Products Ltd. - Treasurer

Ryan Booth - Stella-Jones Inc.

Randy Chadney - Tolko Industries Ltd.
(Cariboo Region)

Gary Salmons - West Fraser Mills Ltd.

Michael Bryce
Executive Director

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Mike joined Conifer in August of 1999 as Manager, Employment Relations. In July 2002 Mike assumed the role of Executive Director for the association. Raised in the central interior of BC, Mike has developed an appreciation for the culture of the forest industry and the communities in which it operates. Mike’s background includes a Bachelor of Commerce degree from the University of British Columbia (1989), where he specialized in Industrial Relations Management. He has subsequently held positions in both Human Resources and Operations in the BC Forest Industry with Canadian Pacific Forest Products Limited (Tahsis Lumber Operation and Gold River Pulp), Weldwood of Canada (Flavelle Cedar Division), and Houston Forest Products Company. Mike holds a ‘Certified Human Resources Professional (CHRP)’ designation from the BC Human Resources Management Association, along with other educational credentials related to his role.

Cam Meroniuk
Manager, Employment Relations

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Cam joined Conifer in October of 2011. Born and raised in Prince George, Cam has been involved in the forest industry through education and employment for the majority of his working life. Cam holds a Bachelor's degree from the University of Northern British Columbia (2006) and has achieved his Registered Professional Forester designation. Previously, Cam was employed by the Province of British Columbia in the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations in Prince George where he was instrumental in a number of HR related initiatives.

Elna Martell
Manager, Employee Benefit Plans

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Elna commenced employment with the association on April 6, 1992 on a part time basis in a role designed to provide accounting and administrative support for the operation of the association and benefit plans. Given her obvious acumen for accounting, systems and processes she was an immediate asset to the organization. In later 1995, Elna assumed the role of Benefit Plans Administrator for Conifer and administrator for the Northern Interior Forest Industry Benefit Plan (NIFIBP).

In the years that have followed, Elna has been instrumental in the design and operation of the multi-faceted benefit plan features which have remained simple, efficient and cost effective for participating firms. In addition Elna is integral to the financial operation and administration of the association, coordinating the annual budget process and capital expenditures for the office. Over the course of the last several years Elna has been diligent in pursing distinguished academic credentials related to her role. In November of 2006, Elna completed the final course module to receive the designation of "Certified Employee Benefits Specialist" through Dalhousie University under the auspices of the International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans. The completion of this demanding and challenging course of study exemplifies Elna’s professionalism and further enhances the capabilities of Conifer. Please feel free to contact Elna should you have any questions about the organization or about benefit plans.

Danielle Martell
Accounting & Administration Coordinator

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Danielle re-joined the Conifer team in March of 2022 to serve in Accounting and Administration. She formerly served Conifer in administration from 2007-2010, as well as during some summer breaks through university. She has experience and education in theology, accounting, business administration and free-lance writing. She was born and raised in Prince George and comes from a family history that is steeped in the forest industry. This gives her an understanding and appreciation for the culture of the industry as well as its important contribution to society.

Conifer Member Company Website Links

Babine Forest Products (Hampton Affiliates):

Carrier Lumber:

Conifex Inc.:

Dunkley Lumber Ltd:

Excel Transportation Ltd.:

Lakeland Mills Ltd:

Norbord Inc.

Pacific Bio Energy Inc.:

Parallel Wood Products:

Stella-Jones Inc:

Tolko Industries Ltd:

West Fraser Mills Ltd:

British Columbia Employment Standards Website

British Columbia Forest Safety Council

British Columbia Human Rights Tribunal

British Columbia Labour Relations Board

Council of Forest Industries (COFI)

Forest Industrial Relations (FIR)

Industry Training Authority (ITA)

IWA - Forest Industry LTD Plan

IWA - Forest Industry Pension Plan

SAFER - Safety Advisory Foundation for Education and Research

United Steelworker – Canadian National Office – Toronto

USW Local 1-2017

Walmsley & Associates Professional EFAP and Counselling Services

Worksafe BC