KILLALOE – Today, John Yakabuski, Minister of Natural Resources and Forestry, toured the Ben Hokum & Son Ltd sawmill to view firsthand how the province’s investment has helped create and protect local jobs and modernize operations.

Ontario is investing $5.5 million over five years in the sawmill, helping the lumber producer protect over 100 jobs, create at least five new jobs and purchase new technologies to optimize its business. These investments are expected to result in a significant jump in domestic sales as well as exports.

“Ben Hokum & Son Ltd is an Ontario success story and I am pleased to see how this business supports local employment and the economy,” said Minister Yakabuski. “When an independent sawmill is succeeding, so do the harvesters it buys from and the manufacturers it sells by-products to. This was not just an investment in Ben Hokum & Son Ltd, but an investment in this community and the forestry sector as a whole.”

Ben Hokum & Son Ltd was established in 1956 and is now one of eastern Ontario’s largest lumber producers, and the largest pine producer in the province.

“This is truly an investment in our people, to provide more opportunities for our youth and all those in rural eastern Ontario who are involved in the forestry industry in one way or another,” said Dean Felhaber, President of Ben Hokum & Son Ltd. “The government of Ontario’s strong support of a sustainable and growing forest industry in our province bodes well for a bright future for all those communities who rely directly or indirectly on forestry for their livelihood.”

Ontario’s forest industry is an important driver of the province’s economy, generating more than $15 billion in revenues and supporting 150,000 direct and indirect jobs in 260 communities across the province.

Look for the cover feature article on the Ben Hokum & Sons sawmill expansion in the Spring #2 issue of The Working Forest in mid-May.