OTTAWA, May 27, 2015 /CNW/ - The Honourable Greg Rickford, Canada's Minister of Natural Resources and Minister for the Federal Economic Development Initiative for Northern Ontario, and the Honourable Denis Lebel, Minister of Infrastructure, Communities and Intergovernmental Affairs and Minister of the Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec, today highlighted the Harper Government's unprecedented support for Canada's forest sector. Minister Lebel met with mayors from forest sector communities in Quebec and Ontario and with industry representatives. Minister Lebel was joined by Kelly Block, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Natural Resources, and Jay Aspin, MP for Nipissing-Timiskaming.
During the meeting, Minister Lebel listened to their concerns regarding local forest industry issues, recognized the sector's economic importance and reaffirmed the Government of Canada's commitment to Canada's forest sector.
The industry plays a vital role in Quebec and Ontario, supporting over 125,000 jobs in resource-dependent communities, and resulting in $25 billion in private sector revenue generated from manufactured forest goods in both provinces. The forest sector economy contributes to prosperity in these communities and provides working families with well-paying jobs.
Since 2007, the Government has made investments of more than $1.8 billion in the transformation of the forest industry. In addition, Economic Action Plan 2015 commits $86 million to extend the Forest Innovation Program to help commercialize new products, and the Expanding Market Opportunities Program to develop new markets for Canadian wood products, together with a further investment of $75 million to implement the Species at Risk Act to protect Canada's diverse species and secure the necessary actions for their recovery.
These targeted investments are designed to support Canada's forest sector through the development of innovative technologies and products that are diversifying the goods manufactured by our industries, increasing their revenue streams, reducing their environmental footprint and contributing to more stable employment opportunities in forest-dependent communities.
The federal government works with the provinces, territories and stakeholders to ensure the sustainability of Canada's forests and to support the many forest-dependent communities across our nation. The comprehensive legislative and regulatory framework that governs forest management in each province and territory provides assurances that our forests are managed sustainably. Although some myths persist about Canada's forest management practices, Canada leads the world in the amount of forestland that is independently certified as sustainably managed.
Canadians have every reason to be proud of our country's reputation as a forest nation, one with enviable forest resources, with progressive forest management practices grounded in the latest scientific knowledge, and with an innovative, diverse industry that is recognized around the world.
- Investments in Natural Resources Canada's forest research and economic development programs are resulting in jobs, prosperity and growth in all parts of Canada.
- The forest products sector is one of Canada's largest employers, providing over 200,000 jobs across the country.
- A study from Yale University reported that the regime of forest management and conservation in Canada is, in the aggregate, one of the most advanced in the world.
- The United Nations' Food and Agriculture Organization has reported that "Canada's rate of deforestation is virtually zero and has been for over two decades."
"Our Government continues to make unprecedented investments in support of the transformation of Canada's forest industry. As a result, innovative products are entering the marketplace, and exports to China and other new markets are growing. Canada is also leading the world in sustainable forest practices that have been certified by independent third parties. This is good news for Canadian forestry workers and for the communities that depend on a vibrant industry.
Canada's Minister of Natural Resources and Minister for the Federal Economic Development Initiative for Northern Ontario
"Canada takes pride in its reputation as a leader in sustainable forest management. The Government of Canada is fully committed to standing with the mayors of these communities, our provincial counterparts and our forest industry to strongly defend our nation's record and reputation against anyone who would claim otherwise."
Denis Lebel, Minister, Infrastructure, Communities and Intergovernmental Affairs and Minister of the Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec
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SOURCE Natural Resources Canada
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