EGANVILLE — Ontario is investing $4 million over five years, contributing to improved productivity in the company’s forestry infrastructure and secondary manufacturing operations. This investment is helping protect 90 local jobs, create 18 new local jobs and streamline operations. It will also enable the company to significantly increase production levels and produce higher-value products, ultimately leading to increased sales and access to new export markets.

“Our government is committed to supporting local businesses our communities depend on, to make Ontario open for jobs. That includes continuing to invest in infrastructure and equipment to help the forest sector remain competitive,” said John Yakabuski, Minister of Natural Resources and Forestry. “Investing in the forestry sector benefits the province and plays a critical role in allowing companies like Lavern Heideman & Sons to create more local jobs and contribute to the regional economy.”

Lavern Heideman & Sons was established in the 1970s as a logging operation and has diversified into forest management, sawmills, planing, and distribution. Today, the third-generation family-owned operation is one of the largest sawmills in the region and is a significant supplier to other wood processing companies in the area.

“Investments like this demonstrate the government’s commitment to Ontario’s forestry sector,” said Kris Heideman, Vice President, Lavern Heideman & Sons. “Lavern Heideman & Sons and our hard-working employees look forward to contributing to the growth of the economy in Eastern Ontario and playing an important role in supporting the Ontario government’s forest sector strategy.”

In September 2018, the Ontario government announced its plan to develop a provincial forest sector strategy to unleash the potential of the sector. Since then, the ministry has been working on finalizing this strategy with four main areas of focus: increasing wood supply, competitive costs, innovation, and education, as well as sustainability and stewardship.

“We are very supportive of the Ontario government’s commitment to developing an ambitious provincial forest sector strategy,” said Jamie Lim, President & CEO, Ontario Forest Industries Association. “Over the past year, Minister Yakabuski has held seven roundtable sessions, meeting with a variety of people across the province in order to develop a strategy that supports economic growth and make Ontario open for business. By working collaboratively with the government to provide a foundation of business certainty, we will see the sector continue to invest in Ontario and in innovation within our province.”

Ontario’s forest industry is an important driver of the province’s economy, generating more than $16.6 billion in revenues and supporting 155,000 direct and indirect jobs in communities across the province.