Indigenous Fibre Partnerships

Celebrating Indigenous Fibre Partners

National Indigenous Peoples Day on June 21 gives us an opportunity to reflect on the history and celebrate the culture and resilience of Indigenous Peoples in Canada. Our business relies on the health and long-term sustainability of the Canadian forest industry and we have made a corporate commitment to building meaningful partnerships with the Indigenous communities in which we operate. With this in mind, we thought we would take a moment to recognize and celebrate the growing number of Indigenous-led fibre partnerships, forestry agreements and consortiums that are coming together in British Columbia (BC).

The forest industry is experiencing reductions in fibre supply and harvesting challenges in BC, presented by changing public expectations, climate change impacts and shifting definitions of sustainability. Some new and exciting economic developments by Indigenous Nations in BC offer an optimistic path forward. Paper Excellence’s fibre supply team is hopeful that with Indigenous communities taking a leadership role in the business of sustainable forestry, this will bring more predictability and stability to BC’s forest economy in the future.

Paper Excellence has recently concluded fibre supply agreements with Klahoose First Nation and We Wai Kai First Nation, both of whom are growing their forest tenure holdings and taking the lead in managing values and resources within their traditional territories in BC. These new agreements will set the stage for ongoing meaningful collaboration and problem-solving as partners, while supporting our mutual long-term success.

Last October the Tlowitsis, We Wai Kai, Wei Wai Kum and K’ómoks First Nations, and Western Forest Products Inc. (WFP) announced an agreement that will allow the four Nations to acquire a 34 per cent interest from WFP in a newly formed limited partnership called La-kwa sa muqw Forestry. The partnership consists of portions of WFP’s Mid Island operation, including 157,000 hectares in the territories of the four Nations near Campbell River and Sayward. It will also manage an allowable annual cut of 904,540 cubic metres of timber. More information here: La-kwa-sa-muqw-Forestry-closing-announcement-03282024.pdf (

In April, a consortium aiming to drive economic reconciliation, rejuvenate the forest industry, and explore diverse business investment opportunities was announced. Known as Iskum Investments, it comprises over 20 First Nations from Vancouver Island and the B.C. coast. Iskum’s primary objective is to pursue significant business ventures that promote shared prosperity and support sustainable development. More information here: B.C. First Nations consortium launches Iskum Investments – Wood Business

The provincial government is also offering some support while harvest levels remain low. For example, Forest Enhancement Society of BC funding has been critical in helping source fibre for Atli Chip Limited Partnership and keep it operating at a time when the industry is struggling and sawmills are shut down or curtailed due to low harvesting activity. Atli Chip is majority owned by Atli Resources LP—beneficially owned by the ‘Namgis First Nation—with minority stakes owned by Paper Excellence and Wahkash Contracting Ltd. More information here: ‘Namgis Chief Victor Isaac Acknowledges Important Forestry Achievements for Communities on Northern Vancouver Island – FESBC

These are unprecedented days in the BC forest industry, and as our company navigates under strategic leadership from the Indigenous Relations and Fibre teams’ business units, we are excited to move down our own path of economic reconciliation. We look forward to continuing the journey together with Indigenous partners who are paving the way towards a new and more collaborative vision of forestry in BC.