FPAC praises move by MPs to examine forestry industry's challenges

    House of Commons committee heeds request for sector-specific study

    OTTAWA, Dec. 11 /CNW/ - 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
    "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
    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.

For further information:

For further information: Jeremy Dunn, Curve Communications, (604)
684-3170, (604) 726-8350 (cell), jeremy@curvecommunications.com; Laura
Ballance, Curve Communications, (604) 684-3170, (604) 771-5176 (cell),
laura@curvecommunications.com; Paul Vieira, Director of Communications, Forest
Products Association of Canada, (613) 563-1441 x: 323, (613) 884-3312 (cell),

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