The Ontario Forest Industries Association (OFIA) intends to make an election issue out of the Wynne government’s decision to make drastic cuts to a Crown forest roads funding program.
The association isn’t thrilled that provincial budget contained a 24 per cent reduction to the Provincial Forest Roads Program, a move it said will negatively impact the industry just when that struggling sector is rebounding.
“The lack of warning from the Liberal government, in particular the Northern ministers, is irresponsible,” said OFIA president-CEO Jamie Lim in a news release.
Lim said member companies were assured last winter that this infrastructure program would be maintained at last year’s levels.
Lim said the reduced funds puts planned road work in jeopardy which will ultimately impact forestry jobs.
“This is a Crown roads program administered by the forest products sector to build and maintain Crown roads in Ontario.
“The budget talked a lot about investing in ‘modern infrastructure’ in the GTA like transit systems. Premier Wynne doesn’t seem to understand that in Northern and Rural Ontario modern infrastructure is building and maintaining good primary and secondary forest roads that are the foundation for a natural resource economy,” added Lim.
OFIA said they intend to solicit support from all the candidates heading into the June 12 election.