The Forest Products Association of Canada (FPAC) and the Assembly of First Nations (AFN) today announced the joint Aboriginal Forest Products Business Leadership Award. The award recognizes and celebrates First Nations entrepreneurs for their success in a forest products business that exemplifies business leadership, exceptional environmental and safety performance and the delivery of high-quality products and services. The award recipient must also demonstrate a strong, long-term commitment to the Aboriginal community, particularly in supporting Aboriginal employment.

“In recognition of the tremendous contribution of the 1,400 Aboriginal owned businesses that form an intimate part of our forest industry’s success, and of the 17,000 Aboriginals who work in the industry, we are launching an award which will be given each year to the aboriginal business that shows excellence and creativity in pursing the forest industry’s economic goals,” said Avrim Lazar, President and CEO of the Forest Products Association of Canada.

Together with the AFN, we’re not only pursuing our common economic interests, but we are ensuring that our shared values in human development, social development and environmental excellence is reflected in everything we do,” he said.

““This award recognizes entrepreneurial efforts to harmonize environmental, economic and social development objectives in keeping First Nations’ communities strong and growing.  And it demonstrates the importance of First Nations in shaping the future of a healthy Canadian forest industry,” said National Chief Phil Fontaine.

FPAC signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) under the AFN’s Corporate Challenge in the summer of 2008. The MoU sees First Nations and forest industry leaders working together to strengthen Canada’s forest sector through economic development initiatives and business investments, ensuring strong environmental stewardship practices and the creation of skill development opportunities particularly targeted to First Nations youth.

To date, FPAC has made significant progress under the MoU, having begun to document Best Practices on improving youth employment in the forestry sector and FPAC has also welcomed the election of Chief Shane Gottfriedson of the AFN to the board of the Forest Products Sector Council, where his voice will help ensure that First Nations employment, training and educational issues are at the forefront of Council discussions.

*Nominations for the Aboriginal Forest Products Business Leadership Award are due June 1, 2009. The award will be presented on July 6, 2009 at the Assembly of First Nations Annual General Assembly to be held in Calgary.  To obtain an application please visit www.fpac.lo.

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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, and 12% of Canada’s manufacturing GDP. The industry is one of Canada’s largest employers, operating in over 300 Canadian communities and providing nearly 700,000 direct and indirect jobs across the country.

For more information, contact:

Fiona McDonald
Communications Coordinator
Forest Products Association of Canada
fmcdonald@fpac.ca 613-563-1441 x318
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