The Ontario Forest Industries Association (OFIA) has outlined five recommendations to strengthen the province’s forestry sector ahead of 2018 budget planning.
OFIA released a pre-budget submission on Oct. 25, in conjunction with its Forestry Advocacy Day at Queen’s Park, where OFIA staff and board directors met with ministers and members of provincial parliament.
“On OFIA’s Forestry Advocacy Day, and every day, we want to acknowledge the vital role that forestry plays in our communities across every region of Ontario and for those 57,000 men and women directly employed by the sector,” commented OFIA president and CEO Jamie Lim in a news release.
“We have presented the challenges in forestry in Ontario, provided a path full of opportunities to grow the sector, and now we look forward to working with all three parties to make Ontario’s forest sector stronger.”
The recommendations include:
- developing a provincial strategy that makes Ontario’s forest sector stronger;
- restoring and maintaining competitive restoration measures;
- demonstrating equivalency between the Crown Forest Sustainability Act (CFSA) and the Endangered Species Act (ESA);
- addressing market development challenges and enhancing promotion of forest products; and
- creating competitive energy use measures that will support forestry’s role in mitigating climate change.
Access the full pre-budget submission here.
OFIA emphasized that Ontario harvests only 0.5 per cent of its Crown forests and yet “the benefits are so great in a sector that generates $15.5 billion of economic activity and provides well-paying jobs for 172,000 people in every region of the province.”
“Our businesses run and prosper on certainty, yet for Ontario’s forestry community, consistent access to affordable wood in Ontario continues to be uncertain,” said Erik Holmstrom, chair of OFIA and Ontario timberlands manager for Weyerhaeuser.
“The sustainable use of our renewable Crown forests results in well-paying jobs and a wide range of social and economic benefits.
“As members of OFIA, we are grateful for the opportunity to be at Queen’s Park speaking to the people involved in making decisions that affect our livelihoods.”
OFIA is a provincial trade association representing forestry companies operating across Ontario, and is committed to environmental protection, social development and economic development within the industry.