By Derek Nighbor, CEO Forest Products Association of Canada.
I have long had a close attachment to the forest industry.
Growing up as I did in the Ottawa Valley, forestry was a big part of our community. From the plants throughout Pembroke, such as McMillan Bathurst, Canada Veneer, Eddy Match and the Canadian Splint to the Petawawa National Forestry Institute up Highway 17 to the mills through Whitney, Killaloe and Palmer Rapids.
If you’re from Pembroke, passion for family, hockey, politics and forestry is a birthright. (And, of course, our hockey team is appropriately named the Lumber Kings – a perennial Junior A powerhouse.)
My first real summer job was on the plant floor at the McMillan Bathurst corrugated box-making plant – the same plant floor where my grandfather and father spent their entire careers.
Fast forward some 20 years, and I am the new CEO of the Forest Products Association of Canada (FPAC), an association representing Canada’s leading forest companies. It’s a job that I’m excited about and couldn’t be more proud to hold.
The forest sector in Canada has been making a massive contribution to our country’s economy and our communities since before Confederation. The industry has of course also evolved over the years and now boasts a stellar track record of sustainable forest management. I am very proud to speak about that to government leaders and environmental groups alike.
The industry is also emerging as Canada’s darling in how it can contribute positively to the current climate change dilemma.
As I visit our members across the country, I’m buoyed to see up close the real contributions the industry makes across the country in every region and province.
And in the weeks and months ahead, I look forward to working with governments in Ottawa and across the country, to share what I’ve seen so that they truly understand the promise of Canada’s forest industry – and how they can support us to be an even stronger contributor to our country’s social, economic and environmental fabric.