TORONTO – The Ontario Forest Industries Association (OFIA) was among those presenting to Ontario’s Standing Committee on Finance and Economic Affairs during its pre-budget consultations in Thunder Bay on Jan. 15.
OFIA’s president and CEO, Jamie Lim, stated, “As a province, we need to acknowledge that trees are the answer. Our forests can support growth, sequester carbon through long-term wood products and allow Ontario’s northern and rural communities to thrive.”
Lim further commented, “It is our sector’s ability to adapt and innovate that has allowed us to thrive and remain a foundational pillar in Ontario’s economy for more than 150 years. This is our time to embrace and accept what forestry has to offer and acknowledge the vital and deeply rooted role of the forestry community in creating a prosperous, sustainable, low carbon economy for the wellbeing of all Ontarians.”
Lim told a local news site, tbnewswatch.com, that one of the concerns for Ontario’s forestry sector right now is the uncertainly about what will happen after July 1, 2018, when the five-year policy allowing the forest industry to operate under the Crown Forest Sustainability Act will expire.
Lim said industry leaders are asking the government to fulfill its commitment to the sector and mayors it made in 2007 that would allow the forestry sector to work under the Crown Forest Sustainability Act, rather than being regulated by the Endangered Species Act.
Atikokan mayor, Dennis Brown, told the committee there is a lot of uncertainty in small communities throughout the north when it comes to the future of the sector and the availability of wood to feed mills if companies no longer operate under the Crown Forest Sustainability Act, according to tbnewswatch.com.
For Brown, it comes down to the issue of jobs, which can mean the difference between a community like Atikokan surviving or disappearing.
To access OFIA’s pre-budget submission, call 416-368-6188 or visit www.ofia.com.