The Standing Committee on Finance and Economic Affairs held a hearing in Dryden on Monday, January 21, 2019 regarding Pre-Budget Consultations.

The Ontario Forest Industries Association (OFIA) presented to the Standing Committee and believes that by working with government, affected stakeholders and rightsholders, practitioners and professional foresters to strategically increase the sustainable use of our Crown forests will make Ontario a world leader in forestry. To maximize the full potential of Ontario’s naturally renewable resource, create well-paying jobs and make Ontario open for business, OFIA addressed three key competitive challenges.

OFIA’s Director of Forest Policy, Ian Dunn, stated, “First, roads are a vital component of society and the lifeblood of Northern and Rural Ontario. Without roads, development and economic activity critical to the modern quality of life would have been impossible. Roads remain central to virtually all forest uses today. We are asking the government to recognize the importance of public investment into multi-use, Crown road infrastructure. We cannot open this province up for business without this essential investment.”

For generations, Ontario’s forest sector has been putting wood to work responsibly and playing a vital role in every region of Ontario, connecting and supporting over 172,000 hard-working men and women. By sustainably harvesting 0.2% of Ontario’s renewable resource, our forest products sector generated a domestic economic impact of $15.5 billion and total wages of $2.3 billion.

“To ensure we keep mills open and people working, we encourage the government to establish a Made-in-Ontario Commercial Loan Guarantee Program. Because of US tactics and the collection of unfair and unjust tariffs, Ontario lumber producers have more than $100 million in deposits sitting at the border that they can not use to support their employees and operations,” adds Dunn.

“Ontario’s forest sector is totally committed to managing and protecting species at risk. However, we remain concerned about the potential social, economic, and environmental impacts of current and proposed species at risk (SAR) policy and, in particular, the current direction being proposed for caribou. We urge the government to consider the latest science and develop a path forward that will keep people working and provide a long-term and permanent solution to managing species at risk,” said Dunn.