OTTAWA – Canada’s Minister of Natural Resources, the Honourable Jim Carr, issued the following statement Sept. 25 to mark National Forest Week:

“Every September, Canadians celebrate our shared forest heritage and recognize the importance of this valuable, renewable resource through National Forest Week.

This year’s celebration, under the theme “Our Stories, Our Future: Celebrating Canada’s Forests”, will be enjoyed by many Canadians through a series of national and regional activities.

For centuries, our forests have played a vital role in the lives of Canadians, shaping our history and forging our identity.

Ottawa, our nation’s capital, originally flourished as a result of Canada’s growing timber trade. Our flag proudly boasts the maple leaf, one of our most beloved symbols. What better way to demonstrate the importance of forests to the shared Canadian landscape and culture?

Forests continue to be an integral part of our culture, economy and future. Across the country, they create middle-class jobs and economic opportunity for rural and Indigenous communities. Indeed, some 70 percent of Indigenous communities are located in forested areas and more than 9,000 Indigenous people are employed in the forest industry.

With about 347 million hectares, Canada’s forests account for nine percent of the world’s forest cover. And we have 37 percent of the world’s certified sustainable forests, far more than any other country.

Canadians can be proud that our forest management practices are recognized as among the most rigorous in the world. These practices are safeguarding this incredible resource for future generations, ensuring it will continue to contribute to clean air, water, habitat, biodiversity and recreation.

Our government has also been working to enhance trade with new markets and strengthen existing trade relationships across the world for Canadian wood and wood products.

The Investments in Forest Industry Transformation and Forest Innovation programs will continue to position Canada’s forest sector at the forefront of the emerging bioeconomy. This year, our government hosted the Canadian Council of Forest Ministers, which endorsed a Forest Bioeconomy Framework. Its goal: to make Canada a global leader in developing forest biomass.

Our government is also helping to commercialize new products and improve the industry’s environmental performance. We will continue to invest in innovation to support the transformation of Canada’s forest industry and promote responsible forest management.

We believe in the Canadian forest sector and are committed to defending our workers, communities and industry.”