Thunder Bay, ON — On Friday, July 12, the Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI), Project Learning Tree Canada (PLT Canada), and Outland, a Division of Dexterra, signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) in support of the Outland Youth Employment Program (OYEP).

OYEP provides Indigenous youth with jobs, education and training in the forestry and natural resources sectors. Since its founding in 2000, OYEP has empowered over 500 Indigenous youth and has led to increased high school graduation rates, meaningful long-term employment, and a greater sense of pride.

Paul Robitaille, SFI’s Manager of Indigenous and Youth Relations

Paul Robitaille, SFI’s Manager of Indigenous and Youth Relations, welcomes OYEP and PLT Canada participants to an event in celebration of a Memorandum of Understanding between the three organizations.

“Outland – a Division of Dexterra is very proud to have signed an MOU with SFI and PLT Canada designed to promote the growth and sustainability of the Outland Youth Employment Program,” said Doug Finamore, Executive Vice President of Outland. “SFI and PLT Canada enjoy a world class reputation in sustainable and responsible use of forest lands across North America. Together, this partnership will help OYEP continue to grow and make a difference in young people’s lives – young people who will one day become leaders in their communities, the forest sector and Canada as a whole.”

Since 2018, with funding from PLT Canada’s Green Jobs Program and support from over 15 SFI-certified organizations across Canada, OYEP has expanded from two Ontario-based camps to six unique programs across four provinces, employing over 140 Indigenous youth annually.

“These programs work,” remarked Kathy Abusow, President and CEO of SFI and PLT Canada. “Today, I met a young man named Blaine. OYEP was his first job. Through the program, he found his passion for trees and discovered the educational and career pathways available to him. This fall, he will be entering the Forest Technician program at Confederation College in Thunder Bay. By exposing young people to these kinds of experiences, and by providing meaningful support, we can open them to a world of opportunity. That’s what this partnership with Outland is all about.”

Dave Bradley, founder of OYEP and Indigenous Business Manager for Outland, agrees. “OYEP has been transforming the lives of Indigenous high school aged youth for two decades. It is only fitting that OYEP and Outland enter an MOU with SFI and PLT Canada at this important 20-year milestone. With SFI and PLT Canada support, OYEP will be able to reach even more Indigenous youth across Canada. The need is there. It is time for Canada to take greater steps to answering that need. Thank you SFI and PLT Canada!”

Together, the three organizations will continue working toward their vision of establishing at least 14 OYEP camps across Canada by 2022 and employing 350 Indigenous youth annually. The organizations will also work with each other, OYEP participants and SFI-certified organizations across the country to develop an evolving suite of programs and services, including career resources, mentorship opportunities and peer-to-peer support networks, to ensure that all Indigenous youth are meaningfully supported in their pursuit of education and careers in the forestry sector and beyond.

Outland, SFI and PLT Canada would like to thank OYEP’s many committed supporters, the following SFI-certified organizations BC Timber Sales, Canfor, Carrier Lumber, Domtar, Dunkley Lumber, EACOM, Georgia-Pacific, Mercer Peace River Pulp, Millar Western, Paper Excellence, Resolute Forest Products, Sinclar Group, Spray Lake Sawmills, Vanderwell Contractors, West Fraser, and Weyerhaeuser.


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The Sustainable Forestry Initiative® (SFI) advances sustainability through forest-focused collaborations. We are an independent, nonprofit organization that leverages four interconnected pillars of work: standards, conservation, community, and education. SFI works with the forest sector, conservation groups, academics, researchers, brand owners, resource professionals, landowners, educators, local communities, Indigenous Peoples, and governments. Collaborating with our network, we leverage SFI-certified forests and products as powerful tools to help solve sustainability challenges such as climate action, conservation of biodiversity, education of future generations, and sustainable economic development.

Christine Leduc
VP, Communications and Government Relations
Sustainable Forestry Initiative