It's spring and signs of recovery in the forestry sector are everywhere.
With the province possibly entering an age of fiscal austerity, the Ontario Forest Industries Association (OFIA) is sending a message to Queen's Park not to reverse policy and download costs onto industry.
The association said the changes in policy since 2005 have made Ontario a much better place to do business with public-private cost sharing for forestry roads, revisions to hardwood stumpage rates, aligning power costs with the North American average.
“We recognize the need for government to get their fiscal house in order,” said OFIA president Jamie Lim, “and we are prepared to continue to work with government to achieve their objectives...however, we cannot afford to see a downloading of costs or a return to an unlevel playing field with our competitors.”
Lim encourages the Ontario government to keep in place these competitive measures in its 2012 budget.
According to Ministry of Natural Resources data, the industry has invested $907 million in annual capital and maintenance with annual product sales estimated at $14 billion. The province collected almost $96 million in revenue from harvested timber, harvest volumes are increasing and new wood supply commitments are being implemented.