The Forest Products Association of Canada (FPAC) says the recommendations by the House of Commons Standing Committee on Natural Resources on transforming the forest sector will help the industry reach the ambitious goals of its Vision2020.
The committee report is calling for continued strategic investments promoting research and development of innovative technologies. This type of support is necessary for the industry to generate an additional $20 billion in economic activity through new products and markets as outlined in Vision2020.
Recommendations calling for market and export diversification; the finalization of free trade agreements to help the forest industry diversify markets, and the call for the government to defend and promote the sector’s environmental record will also help the sector reach its Vision goals.
“Canada is a world leader in forest sustainability and we want to leverage that advantage in the international marketplace”, says David Lindsay, the President and CEO of FPAC. “We are pleased that the committee recognizes the importance of informing customers about our impressive environmental credentials.”
FPAC also embraces other recommendations contained in the committee report: that the federal government base its approach to species at risk on science; that national building codes be updated to facilitate the increased use of wood and that the government work with provinces, municipalities, First Nations and others to promote business development and skills training.
Under Vision2020, the industry is aiming to refresh its workforce with an additional 60,000 hires by the end of the decade including more women, Aboriginals and new Canadians.
“Taken together, we applaud the committee for recommendations that will help our industry on its journey of transformation. The report recognizes that the forest sector can’t do it alone but needs to build on its partnerships with governments and others.” says Lindsay. “Together we need to develop new products and markets, build on our world-leading environmental reputation and attract a modern and diverse employee base.”
Lindsay is also pleased that the committee report noted the FPAC call for better transportation infrastructure especially rail.
FPAC provides a voice for Canada’s wood, pulp, and paper producers nationally and internationally in government, trade, and environmental affairs. The $58-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 230,000 direct jobs across the country.