Canada-Quebec Forestry Task Team - $200M to help workers and communities weather the crisis



    MONTREAL, May 15 /CNW Telbec/ - The Honourable Denis Lebel, Minister of
State for the Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec,
and Claude Béchard, Ministre des Ressources naturelles et de la Faune du
Québec and Ministre responsable de la région du Bas-Saint-Laurent, today
announced $200 million in initial support measures stemming from the work of
the Canada-Quebec Forestry Task Team. These measures are intended to assist
forest workers and communities in dealing with the difficult situation
plaguing the sector.
    "The Government of Canada is keenly aware of the problems in the forest
industry and the pressure these are placing on the workers and communities
whose livelihoods depend on this sector. It is in response to these concerns
that we are announcing today new programs to assist the workers and
communities most severely affected by the world recession," noted the
Honourable Denis Lebel, Minister of State for the Economic Development Agency
of Canada for the Regions of Quebec.
    "In April I promised concrete measures, and it is with great satisfaction
that I am delivering them today. We decided to strike swiftly and boldly. We
want these actions to have a real and tangible impact, and we want to give a
breath of hope to the workers, the communities and the businesses that really
need it," commented Minister Claude Béchard.
    The measures announced today are as follow:

    
    - Support for silviculture operations: $200 million in investment
      ---------------------------------------------------------------

      The provincial and federal governments approved programs totalling
      $200 million for the period covering 2009-2010 to 2010-2011. These
      programs will make it possible to carry out the following activities in
      public and private forests throughout the regions of Quebec:

        1- reforestation operations in areas that have poorly regenerated
           following natural disturbances so as to enhance these sites;
        2- rehabilitation of hardwood and mixed wood forests so as to raise
           the quality and value of wood products;
        3- intensive silviculture operations, particularly commercial
           thinning in plantation areas, so as to increase forest yields and
           past investments.

    Each government will invest $100 million in these operations, which also
includes funding the development of access roads and the production of
saplings by nurseries. These investments will result in the creation and
maintenance of some 8,000 jobs.

    Innovation in industrial processes and the development of value-added
    ---------------------------------------------------------------------
    projects: a pilot project on nanocrystalline cellulose
    ------------------------------------------------------

    - The provincial and federal governments have agreed to collaborate on a
      nanocrystalline cellulose (NCC) development project in Quebec. NCC is
      made from refined wood fibre, a renewable resource. Due to its unique
      properties, a variety of applications for NCC are currently in
      development in the aerospace, cosmetics, floor finishing and
      pharmaceutical industries. Quebec is in a strong position to develop
      applications in these sectors, which are already well-established in
      the province.

    - Market development for wood products
      ------------------------------------

      The two orders of government also hope to work together on promoting
      the commercialization of wood products, particularly in the non-
      residential construction and multi-family housing sectors.
    

    The Canada-Quebec Forestry Task Team is composed of representatives from
Natural Resources Canada, the Economic Development Agency of Canada for the
Regions of Quebec, Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada, the
Business Development Bank of Canada and Export Development Canada as well as
the Ministère des Ressources naturelles et de la Faune, the Ministère du
Développement économique, de l'Innovation et de l'Exportation and
Investissement-Québec. The team, which will continue to meet on a biweekly
basis, met its objective to propose concrete measures by May 15.
    In response to the pressing needs of forest-reliant workers and
communities, the Task Team will also coordinate implementation of targeted
measures in four other areas, namely access to credit, innovation technology,
value-added manufacturing and market development for wood products where
significant gains have been registered. The committee will be pursuing its
operations and should be in a position to make additional announcements in the
coming weeks. See the attached backgrounders for further details on the state
of progress in these areas of intervention.

    
                             Information Overview

                       Canada-Quebec Forestry Task Team

    The Canada-Quebec Forestry Task Team was put in place on April 20, 2009,
to address the pressing and far-reaching challenges facing the Quebec forest
industry.
    This team is composed of senior government officials from Natural
Resources Canada, the Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of
Quebec, Foreign Affairs, International Trade Canada, Business Development Bank
of Canada, Export Development Canada, Ministère des Ressources naturelles et
de la Faune du Québec, Ministère du Développement économique, de l'Innovation
et de l'Exportation and Investissement-Québec.
    The Task Team is working on finding solutions that will help workers and
communities adjust to the forest crisis and on implementing measures in six
key areas of interest:

    - Forest management and silviculture
    - Supporting forest workers and communities
    - Access to credit
    - Technology and innovation
    - Value-added manufacturing
    - Market development for wood products.

    The six programs announced today cover two of these areas, namely forest
management and silviculture and supporting forest workers and communities. In
addition to providing details on these, the attached backgrounders also
outline initiatives and progress status in the areas of access to credit and
technology and innovation.
    As the team pursues its activities, other measures will be announced as
they are developed in the areas of value-added manufacturing and market
development for wood products.

    Attached backgrounders:

    - Forestry and Silviculture Operations
    - Skills and Employability Enhancement Measures for Quebec Workers - May
      2009
    - Forest Industry Support Programs / Investissement Québec
    - Access to Credit - Business Development Bank of Canada
    - Access to Credit - Export Development Canada
    - Financing for the Forestry Sector
    - Technology and Innovation
    - Overview of the Softwood Lumber Agreement 2006


                                 Fact Sheet

                     Forestry and Silviculture Operations

    Investments in forest development and silviculture operations help
stimulate job creation in communities struggling with the impacts of the
economic downturn hitting many regions of Quebec.
    The Government of Canada and Government of Quebec signed an agreement to
invest $200 million in forest development and silviculture activities over the
next two years. The Government of Canada's share ($100 million) will come from
the Community Adjustment Fund (CAF), a measure aimed at supporting communities
affected by the economic crisis. An equivalent amount ($100 million) will be
invested by the Ministère des Ressources naturelles et de la Faune du Québec
(MRNFQ), which will serve as lead contractor.
    The Canada-Quebec agreement centres on measures that will help bring about
the reforestation of areas that have been devastated by forest fires or insect
infestations and are registering a slow rate of regeneration. Other projects
will serve to enhance mixed wood forests and forest plantations that require
thinning to reach their full maturity.
    In addition to the preliminary planning of the work, the operations will
be aimed at ensuring access to the sites, preparing the land and producing and
planting of seedlings. Drainage and thinning operations will also be carried
out. This work is well suited to the skills and equipment already used by
qualified forestry labour and should lead to the maintenance or creation of
some 8 000 jobs in more than 10 Quebec regions, namely: Saguenay -
Lac-Saint-Jean, Nord-du-Québec, Abitibi-Témiscamingue, Côte-Nord, Outaouais,
Lanaudière, Laurentides, Mauricie, Québec, Bas-Saint-Laurent and Gaspésie.
    As well as serving to preserve Quebec's forest heritage, these investments
will help promote the principles of sustainable forest development and
increase carbon sequestration in the fight against climate change.

    CONTACT: 1-866-385-6412
    Canada Economic Development for Quebec Regions

    May 15, 2009


                                  Fact Sheet

               Measures to Enhance the Skills and Employability
                               of Quebec Workers

    Among the six priority areas targeted by the Canada-Quebec task team,
Human Resources and Skills Development Canada and the Ministère de l'Emploi et
de la Solidarité Sociale du Québec are directly involved in the "Supporting
Forest Workers and Communities" priority.

    Proposed measures

    Quebec will receive over $1 billion of additional funding through three
new labour-market agreements between the governments of Canada and Quebec.
These new agreements show the Government of Canada's support for the strategic
initiatives implemented by the Government of Quebec, namely the Pacte pour
l'emploi and the Pacte pour l'emploi Plus.

    - Canada-Quebec Labour Market Agreement ($700 million over six years)
      -------------------------------------

      The Government of Canada has invested in this agreement in order to
      provide support for unemployed Quebec workers, including forestry
      workers, who do not qualify for training assistance under the
      Employment Insurance program. This agreement is in keeping with the
      commitments made by the Government of Canada in its Advantage Canada
      plan, which aims to create a workforce that is better educated, more
      skilled and more flexible.

    - Labour Market Development Agreement ($261.2 million over two years)
      -----------------------------------

      The Government of Canada made a commitment in its Economic Action Plan
      to provide the Government of Quebec with financial assistance in order
      to make it easier for workers to access training under the Employment
      Insurance program. These new funds are in addition to the $598 million
      already provided under the Canada-Quebec Labour Market Development
      Agreement signed in 1997.

    - Strategic Training and Transition Fund (almost $128 million over two
      --------------------------------------
      years for the province of Quebec)

      As announced in the Economic Action Plan, the Strategic Training and
      Transition Fund will be paid out to the provincial governments,
      including the Government of Quebec in addition to the recently signed
      Labour Market Agreement. In light of the difficult economic conditions,
      this Fund will ensure that workers have access to the training and
      employment programs they need, regardless of whether or not they
      qualify for Employment Insurance benefits.

      Other existing measures are available at Human Resources and Skills
      Development Canada for all workers, including additional measures
      announced in the Government of Canada's Economic Action Plan; these
      measures are in addition to provide tangible and immediate support for
      workers.

    - Extended Employment Insurance benefits (estimated cost of $1.15 billion
      --------------------------------------
      over two years for all of Canada)

      The federal government is planning to extend nationally the advantages
      of a pilot project conducted in specific regions with high unemployment
      by providing an extra five weeks of Employment Insurance benefits. This
      measure will increase the maximum duration of benefits available under
      the Employment Insurance program in areas of high unemployment from 45
      to 50 weeks.

    - Work-Sharing (estimated cost of $200 million over two years for all of
      ------------
      Canada)

      Over the next two years, the federal government will extend the
      duration of work-sharing agreements from 14 weeks to a maximum of
      52 weeks, and increase access to work-sharing agreements through
      greater flexibility in the qualifying criteria while rationalizing the
      processes for employers. Work-Sharing is designed to help companies
      facing a temporary slowdown in business avoid layoffs by offering
      income support to workers willing to work a reduced workweek while
      their employer recovers. This measure enables employers to retain
      employees and avoid expensive rehiring and retraining costs. Employees
      are able to continue working and keep their skills up to date.

    - Targeted Initiative for Older Workers (an additional $60 million over
      -------------------------------------
      three years for all of Canada)

      The Targeted Initiative for Older Workers is a federal-provincial/
      territorial cost-shared initiative designed to help older workers aged
      55 to 64 living in vulnerable communities to re-enter the workforce
      after they have been laid off. The Initiative's eligibility criteria
      have been extended to include a broader range of vulnerable communities
      with populations of less than 250,000, thereby enabling a larger number
      of older workers in a greater number of communities to receive the
      support they need.

    The Ministère de l'Emploi et de la Solidarité Sociale

    The Ministère de l'Emploi et de la Solidarité Sociale du Québec has
invested some $101.3 million since 2005, leading over 60,000 forest workers
and older workers in this sector to participate in assistance measures. The
labour measures are designed to reduce layoffs, support skills development by
employed workers, provide targeted measures for workers who lose their jobs
and value and support the development of forestry jobs.
    Beyond existing measures, support for forestry workers has taken the form
of measures such as:

    - Enhancement of income support for laid-off forest workers participating
      in the Mesure de formation de la main-d'oeuvre labour training
measure;
    - Enhancement of the early retirement component of the Aménagement et
      Réduction du temps de travail (ARTT) work time reduction and
      distribution plan; and
    - The Financial Support Program for Older Workers Who Have Lost their
      Jobs in the Forest Industry (FSPOW).

    In 2009, the Government of Quebec extended measures for forest industry
workers for two years (2009-2011), injecting an additional $34.1 million and
bringing the total investment to $135.4 million.
    In addition, the Ministère de l'Emploi et de la Solidarité Sociale is
continuing to fund sylvicultural training measures launched in 2005-2006 with
an envelope of $3 million for 2009-2010, enabling some 800 sylvicultural
workers to take training.

    CONTACT:
    Human Resources and Skills Development Canada: 514-982-2384, Ext. 2209
    Government of Quebec: 888-643-4721

    May 15, 2009


                                 Fact Sheet

                                Invest Quebec

    Eligibility Criteria

    Eligible Businesses

    Your business is eligible if it operates an establishment in the forest
sector in Québec and if it is part of one of the following sectors:

    - Forest management (harvesting and silvicultural activities)
    - Pulp and paper
    - Wood processing
    - Manufacturing of machinery for wood processing and forest operations
    - Manufacturing of processing machinery for the paper industry

    Eligible Projects

    - Working capital (expired on March 31, 2009)
    - Investment (ends on December 31, 2009)
    - Interim financing of tax credits receivable for the construction of
      public access roads and bridges in forest areas (ends on December 31,
      2009)

    Special Requirements

    - The project must begin no later than six months after the financial
      assistance is authorized.
    - The project must be completed within a maximum of two years.
    - Your business must have a sound financial structure, adequate
      management, qualified staff and a solid organization.

    Financing Details

    We can provide a loan guarantee or a loan. Our loan guarantee is a
repayment guarantee on the net loss of a loan, line of credit or any other
form of financial commitment granted by a financial institution.

    Terms and Conditions

    - The minimum amount of the loan guarantee or loan is $50,000 ($20,000
      for the financing of tax credits receivable) and the maximum is
      $15 million.
    - The loan guarantee can cover up to 80% of the net loss.
    - The maximum duration of the financial assistance is eight years
      (24 months for the financing of tax credits receivable).
    - The minimum eligible expenses must be $250,000 for the Investment
      Section.
    - Interest is payable as of the first loan disbursement or as of the end
      of the moratorium for the Investment Section.
    - For the financing of tax credits receivable, interest is set by the
      financial institution and is payable as of the first loan disbursement.
      The capital amount is repaid from the tax credit payment.
    - Financial assistance provided by governments (federal and provincial),
      excluding the Business Development Bank of Canada and Export
      Development Canada, may not exceed 75% of the total cost of the
      project.
    - Securities are required and are based on the financing granted.

    Fees

    The commitment fees correspond to 0.5% of the loan guarantee amount or to
1% in the case of a guarantee for the financing of tax credits receivable; the
guarantee fees correspond to 1% of the guarantee amount. To find out about the
cost of financing your project, talk to an Investissement Québec advisor.

    Support for the Forest Industry Programs (Program envelope: $425 million)

    - Working Capital
    - Investment
    - Interim Financing of Tax Credits for the Construction of Public Access
      Roads and Bridges in Forest Areas

    Eligibility Criteria

    Eligible Projects

    - Start-up or expansion: equipment purchase; building purchase,
      construction or expansion; increase in production capacity;
      modernization or increase of working capital
    - Exporting (sales outside Québec)
    - Market development
    - Innovation: R&D, design or marketing of a new service or product
    - Consolidation or strategic alliance
    - Succession

    Special Requirements

    Your business must have a sound financial structure, adequate management,
qualified staff and a solid organization.

    Financing Details

    We can provide a loan guarantee or loan. Our loan guarantee is a repayment
guarantee on the net loss of a loan, line of credit or letter or credit
granted by a financial institution.

    Terms and Conditions

    - The minimum amount of the loan guarantee or loan provided by
      Investissement Québec is $50,000.
    - The maximum duration of financial assistance is 10 years.
    - The loan guarantee can cover up to 80% of the net loss.
    - Depending on the nature of the project, the maximum amount provided by
      the financial institution can cover up to 100% of project-related
      expenditures.
    - The interest rate is set by the financial institution.
    - Interest is payable to the financial institution as of the first loan
      disbursement.
    - It is possible to defer repayment of the capital amount until after
      project completion.
    - The usual securities are required and are based on the financing
      granted.

    Fees

    Commitment and guarantee fees depend on the nature of the project. To find
out more about the cost of financing your project, talk to an Investissement
Québec advisor.

    Specific Sections

    SMB Financial also includes a series of specific sections, which vary
depending on the nature of the project or business activity. For more
information on the terms and conditions of each section, refer to the
following sections: Strategic Alliance; Improving Productivity; International
Conventions; Market Development Outside Québec; Interim Financing of Tax
Credits; Working Capital for Growth Purposes; Technological and Design
Innovation; Export Credit and Succession.

    Procedure

    Contact an Investissement Québec advisor, who will answer your questions
and recommend the product that best suits your needs.
    Special conditions may apply for each of our financial products.
    Consult one of our advisors to learn more.

    CONTACT: 1 866 870-0437
    Invest Québec
    SMB Financial Program

    May 15, 2009


                                 Fact Sheet

           Access to Credit - Business Development Bank of Canada

    The Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC) helps to create and develop
Canadian businesses through financing, venture capital and consulting
services, with a focus on Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs). As a
lender, the Bank plays a complementary role by filling market gaps and
maximizing financing options. BDC offers four types of services:

    1) BDC Financing makes loans to help businesses achieve their goals,
       maintaining a patient and flexible approach. Financing through this
       facility:

       - can be up to 100% of the purchase price of commercial real estate;
       - can be up to 125% of the purchase price of equipment and machinery;
       - provides working capital to do Research and Development (R&D),
         expand inventory, and grow;
       - offers support for retired entrepreneurs who are selling their
         business;
       - fosters exports and market development through Market Xpansion
         loans;
       - offers repayment terms tailored to business cash-flow.

    2) BDC Subordinate Financing is an alternate solution for entrepreneurs
       who need working capital to grow their business but lack the
       collateral that conventional lenders demand or don't want to dilute
       their equity in the business. Subordinate financing is like a hybrid
       of debt financing and equity financing.

    3) BDC Consulting gives entrepreneurs access to high-quality,
       personalized consulting services at affordable rates. The aim is to
       help create businesses that perform better and are ready to take on
       the competition. BDC Consulting provides entrepreneurs with the tools
       that will help them work smarter and optimize their potential in human
       resources, ISO certification, strategic planning and process
       efficiency.

    4) BDC Venture Capital helps entrepreneurs turn ideas and new
       technologies into high-demand products and prosperous enterprises.
       Successful marketing is vitally important to Canada's economy. BDC is
       a Canada-wide leader in assisting businesses that are in the critical
       early stages of development (including the pre-startup phase).

    Activities in the forest sector

    The Business Development Bank of Canada actively supports businesses in
the forest industry in all parts of Canada. BDC's support remains stalwart
despite the current industry crisis.
    BDC assists 1,112 businesses in the forest sector across Canada. The total
national breakdown of assistance is as follows:

    - 44.8% in Quebec
    - 18.8% in Ontario
    - 16.3% in BC and Yukon
    - 10.4% in Atlantic Canada
    - 9.7% in the Prairies

    Enterprises in the forest sector account for 5.1% of BDC's total loan
portfolio. This represents a significant commitment in terms of geographical
scope and the number of businesses financed.
    BDC lends money subject to market conditions at interest rates keyed to
risk. It has worked with forest industry companies to see that they have every
possible chance to survive and prosper.

    One example of BDC's support to high technology firms in the forest
    sector

    Progressive Solutions delivers top-quality business software solutions for
the lumber and building materials supply chain. With some of the top names in
the industry using its products to streamline their inventory, order entry,
logistics and accounting processes while boosting business intelligence,
Progressive Solutions stands out as the preferred choice for companies that
take their information seriously.

    CONTACT: 1-877-BDC-BANX (232-2269)
    Business Development Bank of Canada

    May 15, 2009


                                  Fact Sheet

                 Access to Credit - Export Development Canada

    Export Development Canada (EDC) offers a variety of financial services to
support the growth strategies of Canadian exporters and investors. This
includes:

    1) Accounts Receivable Insurance (ARI) insures a company's accounts
       receivable up to 90% of losses on a client's sales due to various
       risks, so the company can offer more flexible payment terms to
       clients. Rates reflect market conditions and the assessment of
       potential losses over a given period. EDC often shares risks with
       private insurers to augment market capacity.

    2) Contract Frustration Insurance (CFI) insures up to 90% of a client's
       sales for expenses incurred and receivables lost on a given contract
       for projects, services or capital goods.

    3) A Bank Surety Guarantee makes it easier for the bank to waive the
       usual guarantees when it issues a letter of guarantee on behalf of a
       business. EDC can provide up to 100% guarantee to the bank and assumes
       the risk of a call. The exporter is still liable to EDC if the call is
       justified or under its control.

    4) Performance Security Insurance (PSI) insures against the losses of a
       Canadian exporter if a buyer makes a wrongful call on its bank
       guarantee. Rates reflect market conditions and are based on the
       exporter's credit worthiness and organizational efficiency.

    5) The Export Guarantee Program (EGP) provides a guarantee to the
       exporter's financial institution that can help it access additional
       financing to support export-related activities or foreign investments
       (e.g., increasing a line of credit or raising working capital).

    6) Direct buyer financing allows exporters to offer long-term payment
       terms by financing export sales of capital goods or services at market
       rates.

    7) Syndications with other commercial banks enable EDC to back a portion
       of a loan at market rates as long as the loan supports foreign trade.

    All of EDC's products and services pertaining to the forest sector comply
with the Softwood Lumber Agreement (SLA). As such, rates are determined on the
basis of key market rates and guarantee fees. Also, insurance premiums are
based on credit worthiness and are pegged to allow EDC to recoup any losses it
may incur over a given period. EDC services are not intended to save companies
that are in trouble.

    Statistics on EDC products and services

    - In 2008, EDC provided financial services with a total value of
      $85.8 billion to over 8,300 Canadian businesses. About 6.5% (539) of
      those businesses were from the forest sector. They received services
      with a total value of $14 billion (or 16.3% of the total).
    - Of the $14 billion EDC provided to the forestry sector, $9 billion was
      provided to Quebec-based companies.
    - So far in 2009, EDC has provided services valued at some $21.2 billion
      to businesses in Canada, about 10% of which went to the forest
      industry. To date, EDC has supported 230 Quebec businesses in the
      forest sector.

    The table below shows EDC support to the Canadian forest sector and to
businesses in the Quebec forest sector.

    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Support by EDC                      2008            up to April 30, 2009
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                Value of     Clients    Value of     Clients
                                 exports      served     exports      served
                              ($Billions)             ($Billions)
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    EDC total                     85.820       8,312      21.248       7,053
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Canadian Forest sector        14.005         539       2.061         446
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Quebec forest sector           8.995         226       1.376         230
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Several examples illustrate the benefits stemming from EDC(1) activities:

    - EDC provided a 50% guarantee on a $1.2 million operating line of credit
      for a family-owned sawmill in Quebec, giving it the additional working
      capital it needed to expand and win new export contracts.
    - EDC worked with a lumber company that wanted to build a facility to
      reuse by-products (slash and chips) from one of its mills to generate
      electricity. EDC was the lead lender on the project, providing
      $10 million of the total $60 million required.
    - The presence of EDC, and its ability to implement a financial model as
      principal financier of the project, reassured other commercial loans
      agencies based on the potential of the project to generate the returns
      necessary to pay back the loan. The project was a great success. It not
      only generated electricity for the factory, but it also re-sold
      electricity to the grid.
    - A softwood producer wants to modernize his infeed and sorting
      capabilities in his factory. EDC worked with a Canadian bank to finance
      50 percent of the $20-million loan required. The bank had internal
      policies that prohibited financing the total amount. The modernization
      allowed the business to realize gains in efficiency.

    CONTACT: 1-866-283-2957
    Export Development Canada

    May 15, 2009

    ---------------------
    (1) The names and amounts have been omitted or changed to comply with EDC
        business confidentiality requirements.


                                 Fact Sheet

                      Financing for the Forestry Sector

    Background

    The Canadian softwood lumber industry is currently experiencing very
difficult economic conditions, mainly due to the decline in the U.S. housing
market and increased competition from companies from emerging economies.
Consequently, a growing number of forest communities are dealing with local
sawmills that are facing considerable losses, reducing their production and
closing down. It is in this context that the federal government developed an
economic action plan in order to stimulate the Canadian forest sector and to
position it favourably for the economic revival.

    Access to Credit

    The federal Budget 2009 includes several budgetary measures to tackle
economic challenges such as improving access to financing through the
Exceptional Financing Framework. This new framework allows Canadian companies,
including forest companies, to obtain financing, which they need to invest,
grow and create jobs. In particular, Export Development Canada (EDC) and the
Bank of Development Canada (BDC) have now more flexibility to assist Canadian
companies in this credit crunch.

    Financing for the Forestry Sector

    The federal government offers loan guarantees and various financing
services to the Canadian forest sector at market rates. All the financing
services offered are consistent with the Softwood Lumber Agreement 2006 (SLA).
    Important factors must be taken into account in order to determine the SLA
consistency of a loan guarantee. One of the key factors consists in
establishing if the loan guarantee is granted on market terms.
    EDC offers financing, insurance and bonding solutions to Canadian
exporters at market rates, including loan guarantees to Canadian forest
companies. In 2008, EDC provided commercial solutions valued at 14 billion $
to the forest sector, and serviced more than 539 different Canadian forest
companies.
    BDC also offers financing to Canadian companies at market rates, including
venture capital financing. At present, more than 1,112 Canadian forest
companies received various financing services from the BDC, thus allowing
these companies to maximize their financing options.

    CONTACT: (613) 995-1874
    Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada

    May 15, 2009


                                 Fact Sheet

                          Technology and Innovation

    Canada's forest sector is currently undergoing a significant restructuring
due to a number of competitive challenges.
    Despite these challenges, new technologies and emerging global markets
offer a promising future for Canada's forest sector. They provide the
potential for a range of new product and market possibilities for the sector.
    Through Canada's Economic Action Plan, the federal government aims to
accelerate investment in forest innovation over the next two years.
    As announced on April 14, 2009, the federal government will invest $80
million to support the development of next-generation forest products, by
extending and expanding the work of the Canadian Wood Fibre Centre and the
Transformative Technologies Program delivered by FPInnovations, Canada's
national forest research institute headquartered in Pointe-Claire, Quebec. In
addition, it will invest a further $40 million to develop pilot-scale
demonstrations of these products.
    The governments of Canada and Quebec share an interest in accelerating the
development of the most promising transformative technologies in the forest
sector. They have agreed to collaborate on a nano-crystalline cellulose (NCC)
pilot scale bio-refinery project in Quebec. The project will demonstrate the
significant potential of NCC sourced from forest biomass. Canada and Quebec
will develop a business plan that includes engineering and technology issues
as well as project collaborators for this pilot project.
    NCC is abundant, renewable, biodegradable and has been shown to be
non-toxic. It can improve the surface protection of paint and varnishes, as
well as enhance a variety of materials such as paper, fabrics and commercial
glues. Because of its significant potential, NCC will play an important role
in supporting the development of new forest-based industries in Quebec and the
rest of Canada.

    CONTACT: (613) 947-7382
    Natural Resources Canada

    May 15, 2009


                                 Fact Sheet

               Overview of the Softwood Lumber Agreement 2006

    Background

    The Softwood Lumber Agreement 2006 (SLA) resolved a long-standing
bilateral trade irritant. Canada is fully committed to the SLA as it has
brought stability to the bilateral trade environment. Access to the U.S.
softwood lumber market is a key element of the SLA, since it would otherwise
be limited. Hence, the SLA maximizes benefits for the Canadian industry and
for the workers and communities that depend on it. For these reasons, Canadian
industry and softwood lumber exporting provinces strongly support the SLA.

    SLA Highlights

    - Revocation of U.S. countervailing and anti-dumping orders
    - US$4.5 billion in duties were returned to Canadian softwood lumber
      companies
    - Termination of litigation
    - Ability of provinces to maintain their forest management systems
    - Revenue transfers: Revenues from export duties charged to Canadian
      companies by the federal government stay in Canada

    Forest Industry Support and the SLA

    The federal government must maintain the SLA, along with the access to the
U.S. softwood lumber market this Agreement provides to Canadian producers and
exporters. Within this framework, the development of any Canadian forest
industry support program must be consistent with our SLA commitments.
    Under the terms of the anti-circumvention provision (SLA Article XVII),
Canada must not grant benefits to Canadian softwood lumber exporters that
"reduce or offset" export measures established under the SLA.
    There are certain exceptions to this rule, for example:

    - Provincial timber pricing or forest management systems as they existed
      on July 1, 2006
    - Other government programs that provide benefits on a non-discretionary
      basis administered on July 1, 2006
    - Actions or programs for the purpose of forest or environmental
      management, protection or conservation (for example programs to reduce
      wildfire risk; protect watersheds and forest ecosystems, etc.)
    - Payments or other compensation to First Nations to address or settle
      claims
    - Measures that are not specific to the forest products industry

    For additional information, please visit:
    www.international.gc.ca/trade/eicb/softwood/SLA-main-en.asp

    CONTACT: (613) 995-1874
    Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada

    May 15, 2009
    




For further information:

For further information: Pascal Dastous, Director of Communications,
Office of Minister Claude Béchard, Ministère des Ressources naturelles et de
la Faune du Québec, (418) 643-7295; Media Relations, Ministère des Ressources
naturelles et de la Faune du Québec, (418) 627-8609; Eric Lefebvre, Senior
Special Assistant, Communications, Office of the Honourable Denis Lebel,
Canada Economic Development, (613) 608-7906, eric.lefebvre@dec-ced.gc.ca;
Media Relations, Canada Economic Development, (514) 283-8818


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