Earlier today, Canada’s Minister of Finance, the Honourable Chrystia Freeland, tabled the federal government’s 2021 budget.
Forest Products Association of Canada (FPAC) recognizes that this budget comes at a critical time when we all need to come together to keep people safe, get more Canadians working, and kickstart a lasting economic recovery that leaves no family behind.
In response to today’s budget, Derek Nighbor, FPAC’s President and CEO, issued the following statement.
“It’s a difficult day to be focusing on a federal budget when we know hundreds of Canadians are fighting for their lives in hospitals across the country and that COVID variants continue to run rampant across many regions. First and foremost, our thoughts continue to be with those who are critically ill and with their families.
Since Day One of the pandemic, Canada’s forest sector has been focused on the health and safety of forestry workers and the dedicated workers right across our supply chain, making and delivering essential products, and doing our part to keep the economy moving.
There were a few notable parts of the budget that we see as creating opportunity for forestry workers and communities:
- Recognition of Canada’s commitment to sustainable forest management and the solutions it and Canadian-made forest products can bring to a lower carbon and resilient economy.
- Encouraging more innovation at forestry mill operations through the Net-Zero Accelerator Fund. These investments will help us lower carbon emissions at Canadian mills, encourage investment, and get more people working.
- Creating further opportunity to grow Canada’s forest bioeconomy and jobs by allocating $54.8 million for the Investments in Forest Industry Transformation (IFIT) program.
- Investing to get ahead of worsening fire patterns. Sustainable forest management and Canada’s forestry workers are part of our first line of defence in supporting forest health and keeping communities safer from fire. Budget 2021 investments in wildfire mapping, community resilience, and enhancements to the Canadian Interagency Forest Fire Centre are very welcome.
In the weeks ahead, FPAC looks forward to working with the federal government to address some of the unique challenges being faced by rural and northern workers whose communities might not have access to lower carbon fuels or where there are barriers to the introduction of new technologies. It is important that we do not leave rural and northern families behind as our economy transitions.
FPAC also looks forward to working with federal and provincial governments to address growing concerns of regulatory duplication and confusion that are creating uncertainty and impacting Canada’s competitiveness position on the global stage.
Canada’s forest sector and its workers are proud of the renewable and sustainable solutions we can bring to bear across the country to help drive recovery, protect jobs and get more people working, and create a cleaner and greener economy.”
FPAC provides a voice for Canada’s wood, pulp, and paper producers nationally and internationally in government, trade, and environmental affairs. As an industry with annual revenues exceeding $80B, Canada’s forest products sector is one of the country’s largest employers operating in over 600 communities, providing 230,000 direct jobs, and over 600,000 indirect jobs across the country.