Vancouver, BC – Earlier today, the C.D. Howe Institute released a new report entitled: “Branching out: How Canada’s Forest Products Sector is Reshaping its Future”.
The study explores current industry trends and advancements that Canada’s forest products sector has made in the face of growing business challenges. It also provides a number of recommendations, which would enable the sector to enhance its contributions to the Canadian economy and our country’s environmental goals.
“Canada’s forest products sector is undergoing a period of massive and exciting transformation. This is critical to sustaining and growing job opportunities for workers and families in our northern and rural forestry communities,” said Derek Nighbor, President and CEO of Forest Products Association of Canada (FPAC). “We see rapid growth in the use of wood in building construction, emerging wood fiber-based products that can replace more carbon intensive ones, and innovative ideas and process improvements in our forests and at our mills that can deliver even greater environmental and economic benefits to Canada and the world,” he added.
As noted by study author Eric Miller: “Canada’s forest sector shows potential as a leader in innovation, environmental sustainability and international trade”. The report proposed the following ideas for action:
- Scale up the government contributions to FPInnovations, a non-profit innovation hub for the forestry industry, and other vehicles with a successful track record of commercialization;
- Consolidate the early product and process innovations supported by the federal government in partnership with the industry to make Canada a global leader in the emerging “tall wood building space”;
- Endeavour to ensure “regulatory neutrality” for the use of emerging wood and wood-based products;
- Create a window supported by carbon tax revenues to drive innovative local solutions to forest management, adaption and utilization; and,
- Develop a sectoral arrangement on trade in forest products with China, focused on the construction sector.
FPAC provides a voice for Canada’s wood, pulp, and paper producers nationally and internationally in government, trade, and environmental affairs. The $69-billion-a-year forest products industry represents 2% of Canada’s GDP and is one of Canada’s largest employers operating in more than 600 communities and providing 230,000 direct jobs across the country.