Yesterday, the federal government announced renewed funding for Investment in Forest Industry Transformation (IFIT) program and the Indigenous Forestry Initiative (IFI) to accelerate innovation and Indigenous-led economic development in Canada’s forest sector.
Forest Products Association of Canada (FPAC) welcomes these programs, but cautions that if the federal government is serious about attracting more investment in Canadian forestry, leveraging the power of this renewable resource to lower GHG emissions, and creating more family-supporting jobs in rural and northern Canada, it must also commit to working closer with provinces and local communities to avoid regulatory duplication and provide greater certainty for forestry workers across the country.
“The federal government’s recent State of Canada’s Forests Report confirms what we have long known – that the commitment of our Registered Professional Foresters to supporting biodiversity and keeping our forests as forests forever means that forest products from Canadian forests are among the best and most sustainable in the world. It’s our Canadian advantage and is core to our global business proposition,” said FPAC President and CEO Derek Nighbor.
“Over 90% of Canadian forestry operations take place on provincial government lands. What comes with that are robust provincial legislative and regulatory requirements, intensive science-based planning based on 150+ year models, partnerships with Indigenous communities, and local input and decision-making in each community. This is how Canada has become a sustainable forestry powerhouse and we wouldn’t have it any other way,” said Nighbor.
“As we work with governments, communities, and forestry families to drive economic recovery, we welcome these federal government program supports. We stand ready to use the power of wood to lower GHG emissions and green our communities as we build back better. We are excited about the opportunity to use what would otherwise be wood waste from our sawmills to make bioenergy, biomaterials, and biochemicals to support a lower carbon economy,” Nighbor said. “In the spirit of partnership and maintaining our world-leading reputation for sustainable forest management, we need a related commitment on the part of Ottawa to avoid layering on duplicative requirements and costs at a time when we are working so hard to lift out of this,” he concluded.
FPAC provides a voice for Canada’s wood, pulp, and paper producers nationally and internationally in government, trade, and environmental affairs. The $73.6-billion-a-year forest products industry represents 12 per cent of Canada’s manufacturing GDP and is one of Canada’s largest employers operating in over 600 communities, providing 230,000 direct jobs, and over 600,000 indirect jobs across the country.