The Forest Products Association of Canada (FPAC) applauded today the decision by the House of Commons Standing Committee on Natural Resources to undertake an intensive study that focuses on the unique opportunities and challenges facing the forest products industry. This comes less than a week after Avrim Lazar, FPAC chief executive and president, issued such a request to MPs on the Standing Committee of Industry, Science and Technology during testimony dealing with the impact of a stronger Canadian dollar.
“There are plenty of opportunities before us. But the industry needs a business policy climate that will allow it to seize this opportunity. Through the work of an industry task force last year, the industry developed a long-term strategic vision to position itself to take advantage of new market opportunities,” Lazar said. “The Committee’s announcement today represents an important signal that Parliamentarians are prepared to work with the industry to develop a forward-looking market-based action plan that would set the groundwork for a vibrant forestry sector.”
Lazar added: “Traditionally, government policy has focused too often on solutions for yesterday’s challenges. By focusing on the opportunities and challenges ahead, the Committee can be instrumental in guiding a long-term vision for government policy that would support the industry’s strategic plan.”
There is a great deal at stake in getting this right. Canada’s forest products industry represents 3% of Canada’s GDP, employs either directly or indirectly nearly one million people and is the economic lifeblood for over 300 Canadian communities from coast-to-coast. Forecasts have projected that global demand for forest products is expected to grow at 3% annually as economies such as those of India and China come on line. As the most successful exporter of forest products in the world, Canada must be ready to take advantage of new demand while continuing to thrive in existing traditional markets.
MPs voted in favour of conducting the study after Ken Boshcoff, the Liberal MP from the Ontario riding of Thunder Bay-Rainy River, tabled a motion calling for such an analysis. “The Committee and Mr. Boshcoff in particular are to be greatly commended for their leadership,” Lazar said.
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 3% 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:
Director of Communications
Forest Products Association of Canada
(613) 563-1441 ext: 323