Thirteen CEOs from companies belonging to the Forest Products Association of Canada (FPAC) held a pre-budget meeting with the Minister of Finance, Jim Flaherty, yesterday in Ottawa.  The meeting provided an informal opportunity for industry leaders and the Minister to discuss the Government’s priorities for the economy and for the CEOs to provide the Minister with a vision for the forestry products industry as it emerges from the recent recession and continues to transform itself into a green and innovative player in the bio-economy.

During the meeting, industry CEOs commended the Minister and the government for the Economic Action Plan and sound management of the economy during the recent economic downturn which have put Canada and the industry in a position of strength. “Unlike many other countries, Canada is now able to build from a position of strength,”   says Avrim Lazar, the President and CEO of FPAC.   “Looking ahead, the industry supports the Government’s commitment to developing a strategic long term economic plan for the country that includes sound fiscal management and the business tax reductions announced in 2007, which are an important part of the industry’s recovery plan for the period ahead.”

The forest products industry CEOs and the Minister Flaherty also agreed that Canada’s forest products industry and the 240,000 direct jobs it supports across the country face a positive future.    In this context, the CEOs and the Minister were also able to discuss past and future Government initiatives and partnerships which will help accelerate the industry’s transformation to a next-generation forest products industry, one capable of attracting private investment and delivering sustained economic, social and environmental benefits.
 
“There is no question that the programs put in place by the Government during the recession helped this industry weather the storm and emerge in a competitive position.  As our markets begin to rebound, we look forward to working with the Government as it identifies economic priorities for the short and long term that will encourage private sector growth and leadership in the economy,” says Jim Lopez, President and CEO, Tembec and the Chairman of the FPAC Board.

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Forest Products Association of Canada
The Forest Products Association of Canada (FPAC) provides a voice for Canada’s wood, pulp, and paper producers nationally and internationally in government, trade, and environmental affairs. The $54-billion-a-year forest products industry represents almost 2% of Canada’s GDP and is one of Canada’s largest employers, operating in hundreds of communities and providing hundreds of thousands of direct and indirect jobs across the country.  All members are signatories to the landmark Canadian Boreal Forest Agreement.

Media Contact:
Susan Murray
Executive Director, Public Relations
Forest Products Association of Canada
Association des produits forestiers du Canada
smurray@fpac.ca
613-563-1441 x313