OTTAWA, March 29, 2012 /CNW/ - The Forest Products Association of Canada (FPAC) is pleased that the Government of Canada has decided to maintain spending on programs aimed at transforming the forest sector even while tough measures are being taken to tackle the deficit.
The "Jobs and Growth" budget from Minister of Finance, Jim Flaherty, includes $105 million over two years for forestry innovation and market development.
"This kind of support has been helping to secure employment and shore up communities that rely on the forest products industry," says Avrim Lazar, the President and CEO of FPAC. "Maintaining this strategic support at a time of deficit reduction will certainly continue to promote jobs and growth in the forest sector."
FPAC agrees that the top priority of the government must be to keep the deficit situation under control to support growth.
"We applaud the government for its economic stewardship. There is no doubt the strong fiscal situation in this country is benefitting Canadian forest companies," says Lazar. "At the same time the government continues to offer strategic support that has helped renew and transform our industry. And we feel this budget signals this vital partnership between the industry and government will continue in the years ahead."
Lazar notes that several other budget items are useful in helping the transformation of the forest products industry: the support for early movers who adopt new technology; the extended provision of the domestic lending authority by Export Development Canada; the limiting of increases in Employment Insurance premiums and the expansion of the eligibility of the Accelerated Capital Cost Allowance for clean energy generation equipment to include a broader range of bioenergy equipment.
The Association will be unveiling a new vision and challenge to the industry and government later this spring to build on the industry's recent success.
FPAC provides a voice for Canada's wood, pulp, and paper producers nationally and internationally in government, trade, and environmental affairs. The $57-billion-a-year forest products industry represents 2% of Canada's GDP and is one of Canada's largest employers operating in hundreds of communities and providing 240,000 direct jobs across the country.
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