The Forest Products Association of Canada (FPAC) today welcomed the House of Commons Standing Committee on Natural Resources’ report and urged the government to take immediate action to implement the Report’s key recommendations.
“The forest industry in Canada is focused on its tremendous future potential,” said FPAC President and CEO Avrim Lazar. “Economic growth in developing nations and increased pressure on the world’s resources will create significant demand for high quality, sustainably produced Canadian forest products. To capitalize on this future opportunity, government and industry must invest now in working together to create a competitive and sustainable industry.”
In this context, FPAC strongly applauds the report, and its focus on how to create winning conditions for the industry in the future. In particular, FPAC supports the recommendations to:
- Encourage capital investment and innovation by extending the Accelerated Capital Cost Allowance and making SR&ED tax credits refundable;
- Develop an intermodal transportation strategy;
- Invest in R&D and innovation;
- Work with industry to put Canada at the forefront of the new opportunities in bioenergy, biorefineries and biochemicals by extending the ecoEnergy program and investing in R&D;
- Expand initiatives to develop new markets for wood products overseas and ]to promote wood as a sustainable building product;
- Assess whether the Competition Bureau is properly assessing mergers in the industry; and
- Take into account the industry’s dramatic reductions in greenhouse gas and other emissions since 1990 in developing new emissions regulations.
“While industry has to take leadership in transforming itself to meet the challenges of the future, government plays a pivotal role in establishing the conditions to allow for that transformation. The industry is strongly encouraged that all four parties were able to unanimously support the report and its recommendations. This sends a very clear signal to the government that the Opposition would be very supportive of government action relating to the Committee’s recommendations,” says Lazar.
The Committee’s study and report comes as the industry grapples with one of the most difficult economic situations in its history. The sector is under pressure from structural and cyclical changes in wood and paper markets, the unprecedented rate of appreciation in the value of the Canadian dollar, and weak economic conditions in the United States, Canada’s largest trading partner. Nevertheless, over the medium to longer term, Canada’s forest products industry has the potential to realize unprecedented opportunities in the marketplace, as global GDP is set to double in the next 20 years and consumers will increasingly demand sustainably-made products.
The industry has moved significantly over the recent period to adjust and this report coupled with a unanimous Report of the Industry Committee and the industry’s own Task Force Report all provide very concrete measures the Government could undertake that would greatly improve the industry’s overall competitive position.
FPAC is the voice of Canada’s wood, pulp and paper producers nationally and internationally in government, trade and environmental affairs. Canada’s forest industry is an $80-billion dollar a year industry that represents over 2% of Canada’s GDP. The industry is one of Canada’s largest employers, operating in over 300 Canadian communities and providing nearly 900,000 direct and indirect jobs across the country.
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For more information, contact:
Vice President, Government Relations and Communications
Forest Products Association of Canada
613.563.1441 x: 312