TORONTO – Earlier this month, the Ontario Forest Industries Association (OFIA) held its first annual Forestry Advocacy Day at the Ontario legislature. OFIA staff and directors met with several Ministers and Members of Provincial Parliament from the Liberal, Progressive Conservative and New Democratic Party caucuses.

During these meetings, OFIA and its members presented provincial officials with their 2018 pre-budget submission. The OFIA submission outlines how Ontario can develop a provincial forest strategy that accepts and embraces the sustainable use of Ontario’s forests. (Click here to read OFIA’s 2018 pre-budget submission.)

“On OFIA’s Forestry Advocacy Day, and every day, we want to acknowledge the vital role that forestry plays in our communities across every region of Ontario and for those 57,000 men and women directly employed by the sector,” said OFIA president and CEO, Jamie Lim.

“We have presented the challenges in forestry in Ontario, provided a path full of opportunities to grow the sector, and now we look forward to working with all three parties to make Ontario’s forest sector stronger.”

During OFIA’s Forestry Advocacy Day, OFIA and its members encouraged the establishment of a provincial forest strategy for Ontario. All three parties acknowledged that Ontario harvests so little of its Crown forests – less than 0.5 per cent – and yet the benefits are so great in a sector that generates $15.5 billion of economic activity and provides well-paying jobs for 172,000 people in every region of the province.

Erik Holmstrom, chair of OFIA and Ontario timberlands manager for Weyerhaeuser, noted, “Our businesses run and prosper on certainty, yet for Ontario’s forestry community, consistent access to affordable wood in Ontario continues to be uncertain.”

OFIA believes that by working with government and affected stakeholders to address key competitive challenges, “we can make Ontario’s forest sector stronger, maximizing the full potential of Ontario’s renewable resource, create good paying jobs and assist the province in transitioning to a low carbon economy that will support sustainable growth for future generations.”

Photo: By Raysonho via Wikimedia Commons