Forestry ministers and industry leaders from across Canada will be discussing innovation and sustainability during meetings this week in Kenora and Thunder Bay.
Federal Natural Resources Minister Greg Rickford will host provincial and territorial forest ministers, industry leaders, academic and research institutions and Aboriginal community leaders at a National Forest Innovation Summit on Wednesday and Thursday in Kenora.
Participants will take stock of progress made to date and discuss emerging opportunities for advancing new products and technologies to increase the competitiveness of Canada’s forest industry and create jobs.
During the summit, participants will also engage in plenary sessions and roundtable discussions focused on the challenges and opportunities related to the ongoing transformation of the forest sector.
Rickford will deliver keynote remarks to conference delegates on Thursday.
“Our government is proud to support the transformation of Canada’s forest industry to become more economically competitive and sustainable,” Rickford said.
“By helping Canadian companies to lead the world in developing and commercializing new high-value products and technologies, we are supporting jobs and opportunities for Canadians. I look forward to welcoming key partners from across Canada to Kenora . . . so that together we can chart a course for the next phase of economic growth in Canada’s forest industry.”
The summit will conclude with an interactive fair that will showcase cutting-edge forest products and live demonstrations of new technologies.
The public is invited to visit the fair at the Kenora Recreation Centre from 3-5 p.m. on Thursday.
Following the summit, Rickford will travel to Thunder Bay on Friday for the annual Canadian Council of Forest Ministers meeting hosted by the province of Ontario.
At that meeting, provincial and territorial forestry ministers will discuss forestry issues with Ontario’s Natural Resources and Forestry Minister Bill Mauro (Thunder Bay-Atikokan).
Topics will include innovation, environmental reputation and Aboriginal participation in the forest industry.
“I’m pleased to chair the CCFM in Thunder Bay this Friday as these meetings provide forest ministers, industry leaders and other stakeholders from across Canada with an opportunity to discuss critical issues such as forestry sector innovation, Aboriginal engagement and the Softwood Lumber Agreement,” Mauro said Monday.
“I look forward to highlighting Ontario’s sustainable forestry practices, some of the strongest in the world, as well as our government’s support of the value-added forestry sector, whether through our support of FP Innovations or through allowing the forestry sector to access the Jobs and Prosperity Fund,” he said.
The forest products sector is one of Canada’s largest employers, providing over 200,000 direct jobs across the country.