As National Forest Week is celebrated across the country, Forest Products Association of Canada (FPAC) is seizing the opportunity to announce the recipients of its annual Awards of Excellence program. Today, FPAC announced that Robert Merasty of the Indigenous Resource Network (IRN) and Jeff Bromley of the United Steelworkers (USW) are being honoured with the FPAC Partnership Award.
“FPAC presents its Awards of Excellence to recognize the great work being done in our sector and to honour the achievements of partners like the Indigenous Resource Network and United Steelworkers,” said FPAC President and CEO Derek Nighbor. “Partnership is central to our work. Whether it’s managing our forests sustainably, supporting local ecosystems, or advancing opportunities for Indigenous, rural and remote communities Canada – our industry is richer for the contributions of our community-based partners,” Nighbor added.
Canada’s forest sector employs more than 225,000 people in over 600 communities, from rural and northern towns, to Indigenous communities, to our largest cities. The sector has forged many strong community alliances and partnerships that continue to make an impactful difference in Canada’s forest sector.
Robert Merasty was appointed executive director at the Indigenous Resource Network in February 2022. He served as Chief of his home community of Flying Dust Cree Nation and held the political office as Second Vice Chief for the Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations for the 74 First Nations of Saskatchewan. Raised by his grandmother, an Indigenous knowledge keeper, Merasty says he was taught the values that guide him as a leader and warrior for Indigenous economic and resource development. Robert is proud of the collaborative effort and advocacy for Indigenous involvement in the forestry sector, and for the opportunities available to Indigenous communities.
“On behalf of our Indigenous Resource Network Team, I am very grateful to have our organization recognized for this award,” said Merasty. “We are changing the narrative, and our hard work with forestry partners like FPAC is paying off. The Indigenous Resource Network will continue to advocate for Indigenous involvement in the forestry industry.”
Elected Steelworkers Wood Council Chair in 2019, Jeff Bromley was a rank-and-file IWA member beginning in 1994 when he was hired as an operator at the Elko Sawmill at age 25. Jeff was born in Richmond, BC and grew up in the mining town of Kimberley. Jeff earned his Associated Degree at East Kootenay Community College (now College of the Rockies) with a major in history and a minor in political science. Rising through the ranks of Local 1-405, Jeff’s advocacy and political action activities have included the USW’s Stop the Killing, Enforce the Law campaign, the softwood lumber lobby effort in Ottawa and the Forest Renewal campaign in Victoria.
“I’m honoured by the nomination and receiving of Forest Products Association of Canada’s partnership award,” said Bromley. “I and the 14,000 USW Wood Council members represented are dedicated to continuing the fight to preserve and grow our industry in the face of immense economic and environmental pressures. Canada’s forest industry is one of the pillar foundations that built this country, and the USW will continue to maintain that proud legacy.”
To learn more about FPAC’s Awards of Excellence recipients, please visit: https://www.fpac.ca/
FPAC provides a voice for Canada’s wood, pulp, and paper producers nationally and internationally in government, trade, and environmental affairs. As an Industry with annual revenues exceeding $75B, Canada’s forest products sector is one of the country’s largest employers operating in over 600 communities, providing 225,000 direct jobs, and over 600,000 indirect jobs across the country.