Forest Products Association of Canada CEO Derek Nighbor issued the following statement in response to the release of new mandate letters that instruct the priorities of the federal Cabinet.

“On behalf of Canada’s forest products sector and its workforce, FPAC engages every day with senior levels of government to call attention to issues of significant interest and concern in order to collectively advance opportunities for Canadian forestry and our workers across the country.

The new mandate letters released yesterday suggest the federal government is prepared to address a number of priority areas important to Canadians working in Canada’s forest sector – with the majority of these 230,000 family-supporting jobs being in communities across rural and northern Canada.

The mandate letters reference, among other things, a desire to establish new approaches to advance sustainable forest management – an important issue in light of the fact that we are now losing roughly 20-times the number of trees we harvest each year to fire and pest outbreaks.

The mandate letters also promote the importance of accelerating innovation and job creation and the use of clean technologies to drive environmental and economic opportunity for our sector and the country.

Even more importantly, the mandate letters send a strong signal that Ottawa is prepared to defend our workers in the face of trade uncertainty – a challenge that is very much in the forefront given the current state of our trading relationship with the United States.

We are pleased to see the federal government recognize the contribution of Canada’s forest products sector as a job creator, a partner in addressing climate change, and a leading innovator in clean tech.

Canada’s forest products sector supports hundreds of thousands of jobs in rural, northern and indigenous communities across Canada and is poised to help advance Canada’s public policy goals even further through increasingly efficient forest management practices; further innovation in mill operations; advancing cutting-edge science to create new, greener products; and through the carbon-storing of wood products it sells.

Forest Products Association of Canada now looks forward to working with the federal government to turn these positive signals into meaningful action for our forestry workers and their communities.”