The Canadian forest products industry is asking for a formal partnership with the federal government to further the sector’s ongoing transformation and contributions to the government’s agenda, including combatting climate change and supporting middle class jobs.
The CEO of the Forest Products Association of Canada (FPAC), Derek Nighbor, appeared before the Finance Committee of the House of Commons as part of its pre-budget consultations.
“The forest products industry has a proven track record of delivering results. We lead the world in the way we sustainably manage our forests, we’re transforming our industry through research and innovation and we have a clear plan to fight climate change,” Mr Nighbor said.
“The federal government has been an important partner on this journey and we want to continue working together to develop new innovations, diversify markets and sustain and grow good jobs in rural and northern communities across Canada.”
FPAC is calling for an investment of CAD$200 million over the next four years to build on the sector’s world-leading science, research and development.
This would include renewed investment in FPInnovations and in granting councils to strengthen alignment with the research capacity in Canada’s colleges and universities.
To ensure game-changing products get to market, FPAC is also seeking CAD$200 million over four years to build on the success of the government’s Investments in Forest Industry Transformation (IFIT) program which resulted in a number of world-first innovations and is helping to keep our sector competitive on a global scale.
The Canadian forest products industry is also looking for support to reach its ambitious climate change goals. To help expand the alternatives to products made by fossil fuels, FPAC is looking for a CAD$250 million investment over four years to accelerate the deployment of clean technology.
FPAC is also calling on the development of a bio-economy cluster to allow the industry to partner with other sectors on leading-edge innovation and to advance the fight against climate change.
Market diversification is critical to the future of the industry so FPAC aims to set a domestic and global strategy to further expand markets. This would include updating building codes to allow for taller wood buildings and investing CAD$44 million over four years to renew the Expanding Markets Opportunities program to diversify global markets.
“The forest products industry value-add is 9:1 with every dollar of investment resulting in nine dollars in economic activity, much more than other sector,” said Mr Nighbor.
“The additional investments we are now asking for will enable our industry’s competitiveness, help us fight climate change and support jobs and families in rural and northern areas across Canada where the forest sector remains the lifeblood of communities.”
FPAC provides a voice for Canada’s wood, pulp, and paper producers nationally and internationally in government, trade, and environmental affairs.
The CAD$65-billion-a-year forest products industry represents 2% of Canada’s GDP and is one of Canada’s largest employers operating in hundreds of communities and providing 230,000 direct jobs across the country.