Outland Reforestation/Restoration

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Outland Reforestation/Restoration

Post by replant » Wed Feb 11, 2004 8:40 pm

This thread is devoted to gossip and discussion for employees and stakeholders of Outland Reforestation Ltd.

This company is believed to work predominantly in Ontario.

Their last known contact information is:

Suite 200-250 Eglinton Ave
West Toronto, ON
M4R 1A7
Phone: (416) 483-5152
FAX: (416) 483-8476
Email: hiring@outland.ca
Last edited by replant on Mon Feb 16, 2004 9:21 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Website for this company

Post by Scooter » Mon Feb 16, 2004 9:03 am

This company has a website at:

http://www.outland.ca

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Post by rod » Tue Sep 07, 2004 12:19 am

be careful of outland, they say they work only in ontario and a bit of manitoba, but they also own coast range, blue collar and one in quebec

outland will drive down all tree prices until planting isnt worth it at all.

dont work for them, running out of water, diesel in water, shaky safety policies, complete lack of respect for planters, and forced free labour are only some of the joys when working for outland

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Another take on Outland

Post by Tupperfan » Wed Feb 07, 2007 12:44 pm

According to what I've read and heard, I believe Outland might have been that kind of company a few years ago, and that it was a highly unequal company.

But I never had to endure any of the situations stated over my four years at Outland, working in many camps and under different supervision over the seasons (One steady spring camp every year with the same supervisor, Bandy, who sadly won't be back, other camps later in the season in Ontario, Alberta and Québec). It seems that the camp supervisor will play a pivotal role in the planter's experience and I've seen differences among them to some extent, but never to those you described.

Here's the number of people I've seen quitting in the spring camps I've worked in over the years: 9 (summer contracts attrition is almost void, as all planters are vets). And none last season (one fired). Other Outland camps had bigger abandon rates. It might mean my camps' management teams were better than average, but I never heard of more than 15% of the "workforce" leaving, not the 40-50% some other companies had.

Outland doesn't plant in BC anymore, they sold Coastrange and Blue Collar to the managers of those divisions, as BC planting is generally different from planting elsewhere in Canada. They work only under Outland Ressources in Alberta and Saskatchewan, Outland Reforestation in Manitoba and Ontario and La Forêt de Demain in Québec. I'd say FDD is the most independant division of the company, and if some people enjoyed their time with them (as Québec has favourable labour laws), I didn't have the greatest time there despite a quite easy-going attitude (Too easy-going in my opinion, as safety might have been slightly overlooked. After talking with other Québécois planters, it seems to be specific to FDD). But this is a limited personal experience.

Security improved greatly in the last few years. Sadly, it was due in part to a tragic wake-up call: Blue Collar's (back then an Outland company) Tibbles Lake accident where a planter drowned after she couldn't get out of a crummy that dived into the lake's frozen waters.

Granted, safety is still not at the level I've seen in some BC planting companies, where I'd say hazzards are more numerous than on Ontario flatland. There's also probably room for improvement, but again, I haven't witnessed any incident, and security measures in place were always respected.

On the tree price, I'll just say that the company can be underbid in some Ontario contracts, lost to companies (planting companies in Ontario are mostly similar, working under the same conditions and for tree-prices that don't vary much) who had to reduce the tree-prices Outland previously offered to its planters for the same contract. Also, by comparing with planters working for other reforestation companies in the same area, I'd say Outland's tree-prices are similar, if not even sometimes slightly higher.

I don't want to say that Outland is the best. It's not. It is indeed the Wal-Mart of tree-planting, being a huge company spreading all over the country, but not necessarily by always being the underbider. I can understand the complaints about the disregard for planters, as the higher echelons of the company seem to have somewhat lost touch with the core of their operations, the planters, cutters and sprayers, being based in Toronto and rarely seen in the bush.

The company decided to take the growth avenue, my personal opinion is mixed on the subject, but I never felt like I was treated like another disposable drone, unlike other companies I worked for such as RBC or Bell Mobility.

Always enjoyed my time there and made very good money despite not being a high-baller.

My two thousand cents.

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Post by steve » Sun Mar 11, 2007 12:05 am

outland, blue collar and coast range are all seperate companies.

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Re: Outland Reforestation Inc.

Post by mblackfly » Sun Dec 28, 2008 8:31 pm

To sum up my past 2 years of Outland........ FUCK THAT SHIT! While working for Outland you will instantly be hit with the sad reality that you are the bottom of the totem pole, and your supervisor doesn't give a fuck about you or your safety, you are only there to make them money. Prepare to spend your next 3 months feeling worthless.

On the up side you make friends real quick with your mutual hate for your supervisor, and generally the end of year party is siiiiiick. Assuming of course that your supervisor doesnt swindle away your saved reefer monies which was suppose to pay for end of year beers. :x

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Re: Outland Reforestation Inc.

Post by Tupperfan » Mon Jan 12, 2009 9:38 pm

I'm curious, which contract did you work for, mblackfly?

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Re: Outland Reforestation Inc.

Post by the_dude » Tue Jan 13, 2009 4:59 pm

it doesnt matter which one. fuck that shit is right.

here's a list of the places I've been with them, and every one being a goddamn fuck around where i got a shitty taste in my mouth.
Quesnel (when CR and Outland were one and the same, they would send us to BC for a painfully lowballed contract at the start) WIlliams Lake, Drayton Valley, Edson, Thunder Bay/Manitouwadge, Grande Prairie, Grande Cache).

And now, a list of grievances, that after all the bashing I've done, is long over due. This is 100% true.

My GP supervisor frequently forgot to order fresh water, so when the green film grew in the tanks, he just put bleach in it to kill all the things that grow inside the tank when exposed to the sun for a week, as opposed to buying new water that tasted good and wasn't filled with bleach. I've been ORDERED to go into a block where there was a known bear (that eventually bluff charged me) Diesel got into the drinking water in thunder bay. We have done 10 day shifts in Ontario (illegal) We run out of water on the last day, but still had to plant a 3/4 day. I've seen numerous diesel and gas spills go unreported and uncontained (to many to count actually). Outland has flown me into a block and made me walk 2 hours out. Crewbosses, deliverer's and supervisors have all gone on midnight missions into the bush with thousands of trees (i'm a witness to these midnight deliveries, even helped load a flat deck unwittingly once.) It's taken 3 months to get paid on 3 seperate occasions. Supervisor in GP encouraged stashing, so long as you only planted 2-3 trees at a time, not handfuls.

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Re: Outland Reforestation Inc.

Post by Tupperfan » Tue Jan 13, 2009 7:05 pm

Woah...I'm not doubting it happened, and I'm revulsed, but I'd like to stress out that I never witnessed such things myself. I've never worked in any camp you mentionned, although I'll be working a contract in GP under a solid supervisor, Dave Edwards.

I'm playing the ostrich either, I've been aware and heard some shitty stories, but they seem to be limited to some camps/supervisors(I could bet I know who you're talking about) and they seem to be replaced by a new generation that cares much more, mostly in AB under Doug Finamore's management and Eastern Ontario under Ian Cuddy. Might have been lucky, and maybe I'm just plain ignorant.

Not to say things were all perfect, my first year as a tree deliverer was hell as we were clearly understaffed and I had to bust my ass for very long hours, and planters, ultimately, had a few shitty days where they had to wait for trees.

I also did late night runs last season, as the other tree runner was injured for a week. Got some help, of course, but my work load was increased, but those late night runs with a float were never, in my case, shadowy stashing missions, but late, necessary deliveries to blocks.

Sucks it happened, and I honestly think and hope the company is improving, but seeing the return rate and even applications from other companies in my camp, I'm at least confident I'm with the best the company can offer, and that my camp compares favourably to most in other companies.

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Re: Outland Reforestation Inc.

Post by mblackfly » Thu Jan 15, 2009 3:33 pm

In response to TupperFan: The only authority I have been taught that is worth respecting is one that proves itself through fair action. I have found that my experience with Outland greatly depends on the quality of the supervisor. Last year sucked hard, and your speech sounded alot like the the excuses we were constantly fed by our supervisor explaining the days where we had no water, didnt get delivered trees, and whatever.

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Re: Outland Reforestation Inc.

Post by Tupperfan » Thu Jan 15, 2009 8:29 pm

I agree with you Mblackfly: Seems like the supervisor does, too often, make the difference between good and very shitty. I wasn't trying to give excuses for the company as a whole, just my two cents in regards to my personal experience...Guess I was lucky overall.

A more uniform quality all around would indeed be great, though, but I think the company is improving and I'll stick with the good people I've been working with.

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Re: Outland Reforestation Inc.

Post by Nate » Mon Jan 19, 2009 4:58 am

the_dude wrote: My GP supervisor frequently forgot to order fresh water, so when the green film grew in the tanks, he just put bleach in it to kill all the things that grow inside the tank when exposed to the sun for a week, as opposed to buying new water that tasted good and wasn't filled with bleach.
I had this happen with Haveman Brothers. Our throats were literally burning from the bleach and on scorching days you'd get bleachy-puke burps. It was pretty brutal. That said, one of the few things Haveman messed up, in terms of Ontario companies I think they're one of the best.
the_dude wrote:I've been ORDERED to go into a block where there was a known bear (that eventually bluff charged me)
With Brinkman I didn't even realize it was unreasonable not to go onto a block with a bear. It routinely happened.
the_dude wrote:Diesel got into the drinking water in thunder bay. We have done 10 day shifts in Ontario (illegal) We run out of water on the last day, but still had to plant a 3/4 day.
The diesel in the drinking water is a new, but special one to me. Sounds like fun. 10 day shifts in Ontario are not at all uncommon, especially near the end of contracts. I think 13 or so was mine.
the_dude wrote:I've seen numerous diesel and gas spills go unreported and uncontained (to many to count actually).
This is definitely not a treeplanting problem and a lot more dangerous/toxic materials than diesel are routinely spilled without being reported in the bush all the time unfortunately.
the_dude wrote:Outland has flown me into a block and made me walk 2 hours out.
Isn't this the norm for Ontario? I can't even count how many two hour walk-ins I've had, or the number of times I had one supervisor in particular only fly trees in and make planters do absolutely brutal walk-ins (i.e. bush-wacking, through swamp) to save on heli costs (which I believe he pocketed a % of with the way his pay was structured).
the_dude wrote:Crewbosses, deliverer's and supervisors have all gone on midnight missions into the bush with thousands of trees (i'm a witness to these midnight deliveries, even helped load a flat deck unwittingly once.)
I haven't seen this first-hand myself, but I've heard a lot of stories and seen other stashing first-hand.
the_dude wrote:It's taken 3 months to get paid on 3 seperate occasions.
In Ontario companies can get away with paying you once they are paid by the client. I've waited until August to be paid for April/May work.
the_dude wrote:Supervisor in GP encouraged stashing, so long as you only planted 2-3 trees at a time, not handfuls.
Yup.

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Re: Outland Reforestation Inc.

Post by Nate » Mon Jan 19, 2009 5:43 am

Tupperfan wrote:Weel seems that it's now generalizations about Ontario planting...
Yeah, just saying standards are pretty loose across the board. As you pointed out, however, there are some decent camps and, more importantly, good supervisors and foremen working in Ontario.

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Re: Outland Reforestation Inc.

Post by Scooter » Mon Jan 19, 2009 6:31 am

I haven't seen this first-hand myself, but I've heard a lot of stories and seen other stashing first-hand.


The ONLY company that I've ever worked for which had wide-scale stashing was an Ontario company. This was a long time ago, more than 10 years ago, but it was a camp-wide chronic problem. I thought I was a pretty decent planter when I went into that camp - I always had good days, and when I planted against some of the "best" planters in that camp, I would always be bagging them out and I got a lot of good comments about how fast I could plant good-looking, straight trees. Yet at the end of the day, when I thought I was in the top two or three tallies in the camp, I'd have at least a third of the camp that claimed higher tallies than me. I knew that something was going on, but couldn't figure it out. Finally, after I finished working for them, one of their planters told me that most of the camp overclaimed their tallies at the end of each day, and about a third to a half of the camp also stashed to cover the over-claims, and he thought, but wasn't sure, that the foremen or supervisor also buried trees to cover the overclaims. As a planter from Western Canada, where the problem is so much less common, I was shocked and it really pissed me off.

I'm not saying that the same problem doesn't happen in Western Canada at times. However, the culture and mindset is certainly much more intolerant of stashing the further west that you go. I know that within my own crews, not matter which companies I was foremanning for, I've always watched carefully and done regular audits on blocks and pieces, and that seems to be very common across Western Canada. There are a dozen ways to guard against the possibility of stashing, and with the common presence of GPS devices now, I can effectively audit pieces or planters in a fifth the time that it used to take. Although I can't give any hard and fast numbers, I've only had to fire people for stashing about once every second or third year on average.

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Re: Outland Reforestation Inc.

Post by Tupperfan » Mon Jan 19, 2009 6:56 am

Yeah, just saying standards are pretty loose across the board. As you pointed out, however, there are some decent camps and, more importantly, good supervisors and foremen working in Ontario.
Well, not only Ontario, I was also referring to solid management I've worked with for Outland in Alberta within the last two years as well.

Apart from a company thread (a company that works in four provinces) being now used for complaining about planting in Ontario (not that some of these complaints aren't justified), I have to state that if I saw one or two planters get their asses kicked out of a camp for stashing/overclaiming, I've never seen institutionalized stashing in a camp, be it in Ontario or elsewhere. I witnessed many measures being taken to counter stashing/overclaim and the worst situation I heard of was of a few "vet highballers" getting caught in the same contract.

If stashing would be sanctionned in any ways, I'd be the first to leave such a camp, because as a tree runner, I've worked way too hard, for long hours, days and weeks, genuinely delivering trees to the worst places to allow such actions to happen under my nose. Furthermore, I don't think I've worked with any supervisor/crewboss that would condone such actions.

My two cents...
Last edited by Tupperfan on Mon Jan 19, 2009 7:34 am, edited 1 time in total.

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OUTLAND Reforestation feedback

Post by proboarderjos25 » Fri Jan 23, 2009 11:09 am

I currently have an opportunity to work for Outland Reforestation, and as well as an interview w/ Brinkman Reforestation.
Does anyone here have any feedback, and opinions for these companies?

Thanks alot, i appreciate all you help.
:)
Last edited by proboarderjos25 on Fri Jan 23, 2009 11:11 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: OUTLAND Reforestation feedback

Post by proboarderjos25 » Fri Jan 23, 2009 11:10 am

Oh, Im a first year planter, but very motivated, and dedicated.

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Re: OUTLAND Reforestation feedback

Post by Tupperfan » Fri Jan 23, 2009 1:12 pm

I can only talk as an Outland worker here and state I had a good experience with the company, working in Ontario and Alberta mostly. I was well treated, I felt safe, I learned a lot and I made good money. There's definitely people who worked for the company that had bad experiences (just browse around on this message board), but it doesn't seem any worked there last year and not many within the most recent seasons, could be wrong though.

I think it all depends where you work, and who's part of the camp's management team. The company had an history for underbidding contracts, but from experience within the last few years, Outland gets underbid often now. Might be saying more about the state of the industry than Outland's bidding policy though. I do believe Outland is improving, as I witnessed, mostly in Alberta.I'd say tree prices for the company are within the average for Alberta and Ontario, with some very good contracts (Hearst in Ontario, Timeu in Alberta are good examples), but usually lower wages than B-C.

As a rookie though, mostly with the current state of the industry, planting for mid-sized or big companies like Brinkman and Outland, mostly in Ontario, might be one of a few options available to you. Heard that Brinkman operations in Ontario and on the West Coast are very different, but I've never worked for them so don't take my word.

Do you know anybody working for these companies? If so, asking them would be a good start, and I'm sure others on this board will give you a give you feedback ranging from the decently positive to the bitterly sarcastic, guess you can make yourself an idea with what you'll hear/read.

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Re: OUTLAND Reforestation feedback

Post by proboarderjos25 » Fri Jan 23, 2009 1:44 pm

hey thanks for the reply!
how was the food at outland? and did they have friend staff?

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Re: OUTLAND Reforestation feedback

Post by Tupperfan » Fri Jan 23, 2009 2:08 pm

Apart from one season, I always had great cooks in camp (The only year it wasn't as good, it was still more than decent, just got used to top-notch stuff).

I'm now part of a camp management team, so I'm definitely biased, but in my years with Outland, I mostly worked with very friendly and competent staff (Again, I might have one exception in each case...)

So, if I might ask, where were you oofered a job with Outland?

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Re: OUTLAND Reforestation feedback

Post by kingjames_2nd » Fri Jan 23, 2009 2:23 pm

I like this video. I bring it up once a year.
http://archives.cbc.ca/environment/envi ... lips/3915/

I'd go with brinkman given the choice... but only because I never worked for brinkman.

BTW, my avitar is taken on my last ever Outland block before jumping companies to a less brown but definitely not greener pasture on the other side of the fence.
------------------------------------------


"be patient theres alwas some trees somewhere" - theoldman » Fri Jan 23, 2009 3:27 am

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Re: OUTLAND Reforestation feedback

Post by jono » Fri Jan 23, 2009 4:03 pm

...
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Re: OUTLAND Reforestation feedback

Post by proboarderjos25 » Fri Jan 23, 2009 5:58 pm

Grand Prairie at the start and then in the Athabasca area for the second half.. any opinions here?
Thats what the offer is for OUTLAND

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Re: OUTLAND Reforestation feedback

Post by Tupperfan » Fri Jan 23, 2009 7:22 pm

Glantz's camp? If so, good stuff.

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Re: OUTLAND Reforestation feedback

Post by proboarderjos25 » Sat Jan 24, 2009 6:48 pm

Giantz who?? :idea:

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Re: OUTLAND Reforestation feedback

Post by the_dude » Sat Jan 24, 2009 8:04 pm

GP is my old stompin ground, good place to learn. Ground is fuckin clean. Enjoy the Rolligon to, its a fun ride the first time. google image it if you wanna know what I'm talkin about. Two lakes is a sweet camp but there is mice, so dont leave food in the tent. I cannot stress this enough. KEEP RECORDS OF EVERY DAY YOU PLANT TREES, OUTLAND IS ALWAYS WRONG. trust me.

your a rookie getting in at a tough time, Outland is fine to work with for a year or two, but know there are greener pastures. They feed you the "this is a great contract" line all the time, but there are likely better, either in BC or with other companies (eg Wildwoods, Little Smokey, NGR) in Ab. Go there and work your ass off and make some $, but don't stay. Most of the management hasn't worked for a different company, so they speak of things they don't know.
Don't take any guff from them either, if you think something is wrong, say something. the common phrase is "its treeplanting, these things happen" some things don't happen, stand up for yourself. You'll be pleased to know they treat the rookies really well there though.

Best thing you can do is get a good ($200-ish) pair of hiking boots, and some gaitors. If you have any equipment malfunctions and need to buy new shit, go to the Valhalla pure Outfitters in GP, the manager there is the nicest guy, he helped me out a lot over 3 years.

If you have any questions regarding GP just ask, i know nothing about where your headed after though, sorry.

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Re: OUTLAND Reforestation feedback

Post by Tupperfan » Sat Jan 24, 2009 9:40 pm

I agree with what the dude says.

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Re: OUTLAND Reforestation feedback

Post by the_dude » Sun Jan 25, 2009 2:35 am

sorry, I should clarify, by treating rookies well I mean not treating them like worm shit, your the lowest on the ladder, but Outland doesn't care about it. That being said, don't let your guard down. Know when bullshit is going on, and familiarize yourself with Alberta labour laws, so you can not deal with their shit, I wish I had (see previous posts for explicit details re: Outland).

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Re: OUTLAND Reforestation feedback

Post by Tupperfan » Sun Jan 25, 2009 7:46 am

Outland is not the 'Let's rip people off their money' club it has been depicted to be, not anymore at least. And while working in Alberta, I've always been paid 2 weeks after the end of a contract. Of course keep a record of everything you plant, that is sound advice no matter where you plant. Could be wrong, but I didn't hear of any planters having pay issues last season in Alberta. I did hear about fire camp cooks with payroll problems and I myself had to wait a certain time for non-production day-related money, but there was a lot to figure out and I did get paid fully.

But yeah, being aware of a province labour laws is always a good idea, no matter what you work in or who you work for. Same for dealing with bullshit.

I know I sound like the Outland guard dog, and yeah I do work as camp management so you can take my words with a grain of salt if you have any suspicions. There's a vocal minority that has a lot to say about many medium or big-sized company. Obviously such companies will draw criticism and have uneven experiences. It just sucks that I know many planters with good experiences that will never bother to voice it...

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Re: OUTLAND Reforestation feedback

Post by TheHamsterizer » Sun Jan 25, 2009 10:21 am

Tupperfan wrote:Outland is not the 'Let's rip people off their money' club it has been depicted to be, not anymore at least. And while working in Alberta, I've always been paid 2 weeks after the end of a contract. Of course keep a record of everything you plant, that is sound advice no matter where you plant. Could be wrong, but I didn't hear of any planters having pay issues last season in Alberta. I did hear about fire camp cooks with payroll problems and I myself had to wait a certain time for non-production day-related money, but there was a lot to figure out and I did get paid fully.

But yeah, being aware of a province labour laws is always a good idea, no matter what you work in or who you work for. Same for dealing with bullshit.

I know I sound like the Outland guard dog, and yeah I do work as camp management so you can take my words with a grain of salt if you have any suspicions. There's a vocal minority that has a lot to say about many medium or big-sized company. Obviously such companies will draw criticism and have uneven experiences. It just sucks that I know many planters with good experiences that will never bother to voice it...
All this glorifying of Outland is starting to make my heart explode. You sure have a lot to say for someone who doesn't actually PLANT for Outland. 'I didn't hear of any planters having pay issues last season in Alberta.'... Dude, you're a tree runner- there are a billion things that you didn't hear about last season, because there was no reason to tell you.

And as for the 'vocal minority' bit.... Don't lump outland into the big companies that just draw heat because they're big. Outland gets heavy criticism because they suck! Brinkman is a pretty massive company too, but I don't hear nearly the amount of horror stories that I do with outland.
If I agreed with you, we'd both be wrong

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Re: OUTLAND Reforestation feedback

Post by Tupperfan » Sun Jan 25, 2009 12:43 pm

True, but I do have planting friends that do talk about that kind of stuff. As for the rest, well, whatever. People are old enough to make an educated opinion for themselves. I've basically heard shitty stories about every big company, including Brinkman , and I don't know how long ago you planted for Outland but I just love that attitude that one thing has to suck until 2012 if it sucked before. Seems that a lot of the shit comes from a relatively specific area though. Whatever, your opinion is made, it's justified for you and I don't have any need nor desire to get there anymore. Consider it the end of my spokesperson days.

The gloryfying bit was funny, don't think I ever went that far, but who knows how the tone of a written post comes out to someone else. As for the heart, dude, it would break mine if you weren't as heartless as I imagine you to be...

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Re: OUTLAND Reforestation feedback

Post by TheHamsterizer » Sun Jan 25, 2009 1:06 pm

Tupperfan wrote:True, but I do have planting friends that do talk about that kind of stuff. As for the rest, well, whatever. People are old enough to make an educated opinion for themselves. I've basically heard shitty stories about every big company, including Brinkman , and I don't know how long ago you planted for Outland but I just love that attitude that one thing has to suck until 2012 if it sucked before. Seems that a lot of the shit comes from a relatively specific area though. Whatever, your opinion is made, it's justified for you and I don't have any need nor desire to get there anymore. Consider it the end of my spokesperson days.

The gloryfying bit was funny, don't think I ever went that far, but who knows how the tone of a written post comes out to someone else. As for the heart, dude, it would break mine if you weren't as heartless as I imagine you to be...
I worked about a dozen or so contracts in 807, 705, alberta and bc and the only show that was worth a damn was Kap. I don't think it's one specific area.
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Re: OUTLAND Reforestation feedback

Post by Scooter » Sun Jan 25, 2009 1:21 pm

I've basically heard shitty stories about every big company
I think that's the key thing here. No matter where they work, planters are more likely to complain about their bad experiences than talk positively about their good ones. And planting is obviously a difficult job, so there's lots to complain about. That's just the nature of the industry. I've heard lots of complaints about my current company too, and have had complaints of my own, but I still work there because I want to, despite offers to run crews elsewhere.

And there is a positive side to the complaints: it makes people feel like they've gotten something off their chest and makes them feel better. Sort of a cathartic effect.

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Re: OUTLAND Reforestation feedback

Post by Nate » Sun Jan 25, 2009 9:08 pm

Tupperfan wrote:True, but I do have planting friends that do talk about that kind of stuff. As for the rest, well, whatever. People are old enough to make an educated opinion for themselves. I've basically heard shitty stories about every big company, including Brinkman , and I don't know how long ago you planted for Outland but I just love that attitude that one thing has to suck until 2012 if it sucked before. Seems that a lot of the shit comes from a relatively specific area though. Whatever, your opinion is made, it's justified for you and I don't have any need nor desire to get there anymore. Consider it the end of my spokesperson days.

The gloryfying bit was funny, don't think I ever went that far, but who knows how the tone of a written post comes out to someone else. As for the heart, dude, it would break mine if you weren't as heartless as I imagine you to be...
The problem is that these companies are so large each region, or each section operating under a specific regional manager is like it's own company. Comparing an Outland Timmins contract to an Outland contract in Manitoba is comparing two entirely different experiences. There'd be fifty times more in common between a Summit PG contract and a Celtic PG contract than between the Outland Ontario/Manitoba.

I'm obviously pulling figures out of thin air, but the treeplanting experience is something like:

15% Company
25% Contract
25% Supervisor
20% Foreman
15% Other (i.e. Cook, Vehicles, Quality of Camp location and day off town etc.)

or, in some cases, 100% Gongshow.

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Re: OUTLAND Reforestation feedback

Post by Scooter » Mon Jan 26, 2009 4:13 am

I'd rate the foreman as being a little higher than a supervisor. But that's a tough debate. I always thought that I had more direct impact on the planters' experiences as a foreman than as a supervisor. I mean that yes, I have a big impact on them in terms of things like making sure we never run out of water in camp, making sure there is always enough gas in camp for the quads, and that sort of thing, but the planters don't see that as much unless I screw up. The presence of the foreman is something that they experience constantly. I guess in other words, the foreman has the opportunity to screw things up for a planter many times per day, whereas when I'm supervising, I only have the opportunity to screw things up for them a couple times a day.

Or put it this way ... you can take Greg M., an experienced foreman in my camp, who's worked for me for a decade, and first started foremanning for me about six or seven years ago. His crew can move into a different camp temporarily, and the planters aren't going to see as much of a change in their immediate planting lives as if they stayed in my camp and worked for a different foreman. So yeah, I'd put the foreman up to about 30% and the supervisor impact down to about 15%.

But as you say, these experiences are impossible to quantify numerically.

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Re: OUTLAND Reforestation feedback

Post by Nate » Mon Jan 26, 2009 9:23 am

I'm not 100% sure, but I think Foklore and certain Summit camps etc. are an exception to the rule with the crews being so rigidly structured owing to the foreman not being day rated. For foreman who are on day rates, which is pretty much all of Ontario/Manitoba and I think (though someone please correct me) a good % of Alberta/BC, the relationship is a lot different.

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Re: OUTLAND Reforestation feedback

Post by Tupperfan » Mon Jan 26, 2009 9:47 am

Well, I can only speak for Outland, but the Foremen/Crewbosses are not on day rate in any place, whether it's in Ontario, Quebec, Manitoba or Alberta. I'll be running a crew this season and I'm definitely paid according to my crew's production. Also, every other company foremen I met while working, either in Ontario, Saskatchewan or Alberta wasn't paid a day rate. I might be wrong, but I doubt a majority of crewbosses in the industry would be paid fixed rates. Doesn't seem to make sense.

As a tree-runner, I was paid a day rate and I made much less than I would back when I was planting, for much longer days ($220/day with bonuses, 14 or 15 hours a day average), but I basically got paid 7 days a week for the whole production season.

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Re: OUTLAND Reforestation feedback

Post by Nate » Mon Jan 26, 2009 9:53 am

Learn something new every day. Every company I've worked for (admittedly only 5) outside of Folklore was day rated, I had assumed that was the general trend (with the exception of planting six-packs, which always have their own little unique set up).

There are advantages and draw-backs to both systems, but they largely depend on the personality of the individual foreman I think.

For example, I think weak planters and rookies might not get as shit end of a stick with a non-commissioned foreman, and I think on the whole logistical cohesion is a little better with foreman day-rated and the option available to keep the crew sizes flexible depending on the lay of the land, or foreman could be kept on areas or blocks they knew how to handle well (i.e. if a foreman's good at organizing/directing heli work etc.).

On the whole I think commission is the better route as there's more incentive for foreman to ensure planters are maximizing their potential, but there are advantages to the day rate system.

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Re: OUTLAND Reforestation feedback

Post by mcD » Mon Jan 26, 2009 10:09 am

in my experiences the larger companies tend to pay you on production(with the exception of Brinkman)%10 - %15, where a lot of the smaller companies pay thier foreman/supervisors a day rate $250 - $400. while some people do well on percentage bassed pay scale when you factor in time spent hirring a crew and working on days off when no trees are going in the ground it is often less money than you would make on a day rate. many people working on a production bassis are blinded by the one $700 day and forget about all the other days earning a lot less. it can also be very hard to run a contract with difficult quality specs when you are worried about your paycheck all the time. even as a day rate foreman your job is better if you have a stronger crew, so planter retention should be your incentive to do well by your crew.

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Re: OUTLAND Reforestation feedback

Post by Scooter » Mon Jan 26, 2009 10:47 am

Tupperfan, that's interesting to hear that about Outland. When I worked for Outland (only for a short time), the supervisor told me that the foremen were all day-rated. Quite a while ago though now, so maybe that was correct at the time and things have changed. Or maybe that was only in his camp.

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Re: OUTLAND Reforestation feedback

Post by mullitude » Mon Jan 26, 2009 11:41 am

I worked for dorsey my first year planting, the foreman were day rated. It was good for the fact that they don't lose money when someone quits, they make a wage on each day off. We got treated like royalty (while we were learning) compared to the vets i heard, we got the easy ground at first cause we could put in better numbers there while vets vary little comparatively. The owner makes more money by doing that, rather then forman giving the vets the best land under percentage based wage. Also the crews were not set, the owner changed which forman the planting partners worked under all the time so the whole camp was like one big ol crew, you could work with anyone and still get your work done smoothly. Good for getting to know everyone also. Then at folklore it was percentage based, in my short experience there are many pros to that over day rated forman, except for the the few reasons listed above.

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Re: OUTLAND Reforestation feedback

Post by Tupperfan » Mon Jan 26, 2009 11:44 am

Nate wrote:Learn something new every day. Every company I've worked for (admittedly only 5) outside of Folklore was day rated, I had assumed that was the general trend (with the exception of planting six-packs, which always have their own little unique set up).
As I said, I might be wrong, but I assumed the contrary from my exclusive experience with one company and random contacts with a few other companies' foremen (Inlcuding planting the same overflow blocks).
Nate wrote: For example, I think weak planters and rookies might not get as shit end of a stick with a non-commissioned foreman, and I think on the whole logistical cohesion is a little better with foreman day-rated and the option available to keep the crew sizes flexible depending on the lay of the land, or foreman could be kept on areas or blocks they knew how to handle well (i.e. if a foreman's good at organizing/directing heli work etc.).
Regarding the rookie situation, I guess it ends up being the difference between a good and a bad foreman. Even if rookies won't bring as much money, if you hired them, it's because you should think they have the potential to become good planters. By giving them enough attention, tips and training, a good foreman will improve the chances that they become efficient planters much faster and therefore earn decent money for them and their crewboss. Such dedication would later be a convincing argument for these rookies to come back the following year as vets. A crew is like a college football team, you need rookies to take the place of the non-returning vets (The way it currently goes, I have 13 vets and 5 rookies in my crew. I think I could score one or two more veterans, but I don't think I want to do it, as I know a bunch of my vets are on their last year). Apart form a few top-notch vet-only companies, drafting their planters from other companies, very few can afford to only hire vets year after year, even when the offer is higher than the demand.

As for the logistical cohesion, again, my experience with my employer might differ from yours. It's not because you're a commissioned foreman that you can't, in some situations, be handling a smaller or bigger crew. We have rather large crews, so it's not unusual for some of the planters to be sent to a variety of smaller blocks (As it happens a lot in Rocky Mountain House and Hinton, Alberta) or sent with another crew to other blocks further away, depending on land availability and seedlot stocks (As it happened last year during a shift where we had to plant a very specific seedlot in a really large area in Hinton). As a tree-runner, I was often asked to bring a few planters to a small block, away from the rest of their crews, to cut them in and check on them regularly (quality-wise as well) while I was delivering the next day blocks in the area. Same goes for heli work, only one foreman and I had previous heli experience, so we were sent to the two heli blocks we had in Saskatchewan to manage these blocks. As for the planters assigned to these blocks, the most experienced/best ones were drawn from every of the three crews in camp.

The planters lending situation might seem slightly unfair, as these planters will still usually contribute to their respective foremen tallies, but it was usually a fair exchange as other crewbosses would do the same in other areas/situations and I don't remember it affecting the general quality or motivation.
mcD wrote:in my experiences the larger companies tend to pay you on production(with the exception of Brinkman)%10 - %15, where a lot of the smaller companies pay thier foreman/supervisors a day rate $250 - $400. while some people do well on percentage bassed pay scale when you factor in time spent hirring a crew and working on days off when no trees are going in the ground it is often less money than you would make on a day rate. many people working on a production bassis are blinded by the one $700 day and forget about all the other days earning a lot less. it can also be very hard to run a contract with difficult quality specs when you are worried about your paycheck all the time. even as a day rate foreman your job is better if you have a stronger crew, so planter retention should be your incentive to do well by your crew.
You bring interesting points. I think a good foreman has to sometimes ignore his commissioned earnings to ensure quality and manage the crew well. It should pay off in the end. Of course there is days where you make less, just like you do when planting, but the key is to favour consistency over crazy outbursts. I witnessed enough crews and planters highballing camps and spend the next few days replanting to know that extremes is not where you want to stand. The day rate range you've listed is interesting. As a crewboss with my company, I'm expected to do more, in average, than your lower figure, but less than the higher. If I'd guess a day-rated foreman would be less prone to favouritism and other similar inequalities (nothing that a mature commissioned crew-runner couldn't avoid) I think it would also reduce, to a degree, the competitiveness and propension for higher earnings that planters and, in my opinion, foremen, should thrive on.

But hey, I've worked on day-rate as a tree deliverer and the simple desire to be the best and to make sure no one would ever wait for trees was more than enough to keep me going for very long days. I did get a retroactive raise for a week where my workload was doubled and I'd work 20-hours days, due to the other runner being injured, but I didn't know I'd get a pay increase at the time, I just loved the job and couldn't accept to fail a challenge.

But yes, no matter how you get paid, keeping the same core of planters from year to year, and keeping them happy would make any crewboss job's much easier!
Scooter wrote:Tupperfan, that's interesting to hear that about Outland. When I worked for Outland (only for a short time), the supervisor told me that the foremen were all day-rated. Quite a while ago though now, so maybe that was correct at the time and things have changed. Or maybe that was only in his camp.
Well, I can only speak for the last six years but I have never heard of an Outland foreman getting paid a day-rate during my years with them, and I don't think there'd have been any camp exception.

I don't know if it could have been the case back when Outland operated in B-C under Coastrange/Blue Collar, but I did plant in an Outland-owned Coastrange camp six years ago in Northern Alberta and their foremen were commissioned.

Furthermore, a Coastrange crew planted with us for a month, last season, in Hinton and RMH. Their crewboss, who was planting on our contract, used to get production-based earnings as well.

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Re: OUTLAND Reforestation feedback

Post by Nate » Mon Jan 26, 2009 1:00 pm

A big difference in all of this is whether or not the company has tree-runners. Running a crew of 18 when you run your own trees and running that same sized crew when you have a dedicated tree runner are two entirely different ballgames.

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Re: OUTLAND Reforestation feedback

Post by Nate » Mon Jan 26, 2009 1:03 pm

mullitude wrote:I worked for dorsey my first year planting, the foreman were day rated. It was good for the fact that they don't lose money when someone quits, they make a wage on each day off. We got treated like royalty (while we were learning) compared to the vets i heard, we got the easy ground at first cause we could put in better numbers there while vets vary little comparatively. The owner makes more money by doing that, rather then forman giving the vets the best land under percentage based wage. Also the crews were not set, the owner changed which forman the planting partners worked under all the time so the whole camp was like one big ol crew, you could work with anyone and still get your work done smoothly. Good for getting to know everyone also. Then at folklore it was percentage based, in my short experience there are many pros to that over day rated forman, except for the the few reasons listed above.
I'd say by far the biggest draw-back to percentaged foreman is the propensity of the system to create rigid crews and develop cliques in camp. You really get the mentality that you're on "this guy's crew" or "that guy's crew", and if you get stuck on a really shitty crew, you're kind of stuck in that social caste.

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Re: OUTLAND Reforestation feedback

Post by Tupperfan » Mon Jan 26, 2009 1:07 pm

Nate wrote:A big difference in all of this is whether or not the company has tree-runners. Running a crew of 18 when you run your own trees and running that same sized crew when you have a dedicated tree runner are two entirely different ballgames.
Indeed.

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Re: OUTLAND Reforestation feedback

Post by Scooter » Mon Jan 26, 2009 2:46 pm

In my camps, this would apply to rookies mostly, and only rarely to vets. Usually, the vets in my camp pick whom they want as foreman. That's why someone like Greg, who has so many years of experience running a crew, also has almost the exact same crew for this coming summer as he had last year. And the year before that.

But for the rookies, getting onto a new crew is often a matter of extreme luck, so they have no say in who their foreman will be.

But I know that this isn't the way that a lot of companies are set up.

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Re: OUTLAND Reforestation feedback

Post by jono » Mon Jan 26, 2009 3:20 pm

...
Last edited by jono on Sat Apr 11, 2009 8:01 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: OUTLAND Reforestation feedback

Post by Tupperfan » Mon Jan 26, 2009 3:34 pm

Well, Alberta blocks in remote areas such as the northern part of the province are usually bigger, and so are blocks in Manitoba, Ontario and Quebec. Back East, it's not unusual to have blocks sustain many crews for many days (2-300,000+ trees blocks). The smallest blocks I've seen were in the Rocky Mountains in Alberta, as the forests up there are much busier with various industrial, commercial and recreational activities and their operations need to be more "subtle".

In a 18-planters crew, obviously the crewboss doesn't plant like a six-pack foreman does. And with a tree-runner delivering trees, you should usually have enough time to oversee all your planters. Sometimes though, they'll be spread far apart and it's more difficult, or some of the planters might be on missions on other blocks and their responsibility would fall to another management member...

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Re: OUTLAND Reforestation feedback

Post by Nate » Mon Jan 26, 2009 8:52 pm

jono wrote:
Nate wrote:A big difference in all of this is whether or not the company has tree-runners. Running a crew of 18 when you run your own trees and running that same sized crew when you have a dedicated tree runner are two entirely different ballgames.
Crews of 18 !!! WTF. How big are the blocks you get? Do you ever see your foreman?

I much prefer having six people per crew, plus a foreman, plus a few tree-runners/pilots.
Sun Tzu says "Organizing the many is the same as organizing the few, it is only a matter of preparation."

Mind you, Mr. Tzu never planted...

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Re: OUTLAND Reforestation feedback

Post by Scooter » Mon Jan 26, 2009 9:44 pm

Maybe we should consult with Mr. Machiavelli ...

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