KENORA, ON, July 8, 2015 /CNW/ - The Honourable Greg Rickford, Canada's Minister of Natural Resources and Minister for the Federal Economic Development Initiative for Northern Ontario, today held a Northern Ontario Forest Industry Roundtable to identify opportunities to increase jobs and growth and strengthen collaboration and innovation in the forest sector. The participants, including industry, Aboriginal leaders, research organizations, and private sector land managers, discussed opportunities to align resources and investments to grow Canada's forest sector competitiveness.
Forest sector leaders analyzed past successes and examined ways to take advantage of new opportunities. They also discussed ways they are supporting long-term prosperity for the sector through job creation, generating new products and tapping into new and emerging markets.
The forest industry plays a vital role in Northern Ontario's economy. The region's more than 50 forest product manufacturing and transportation companies, paper mills, sawmills and harvesting operators employ the majority of Ontario's 47,700 forest sector workers. These jobs are vital to our resource-dependent communities.
Since 2007, the Government of Canada has invested an unprecedented $1.8 billion in the transformation of the forest industry. In addition, Economic Action Plan 2015 commits $86 million to extend the Forest Innovation Program to help commercialize new products, and the Expanding Market Opportunities Program to develop new markets for Canadian wood products.
- Today, Canada's forests are producing an entire new generation of products beyond traditional commodities like lumber and paper, ranging from new forms of bioenergy, textiles and clothing to molded car parts.
- Canada's forest sector is one of the biggest employers for Aboriginal people in Canada, with more than 9,000 Aboriginal workers across the industry.
- In 2013, the forest industry contributed $20.9 billion to Canada's nominal GDP.
- Canada is proud of its commitment to sustainably managing its forests. Canada's forest management practices are internationally recognized as among the most rigorous in the world.
"Today's productive discussion was focused on identifying new opportunities and the way forward so that Northern Ontario can achieve greater economic benefits from a sustainable, innovative forest industry. Our government has taken unprecedented action to support the forest sector, and we are committed to jobs, growth and long-term prosperity in forestry communities across Canada."
Canada's Minister of Natural Resources and Minister for the Federal Economic Development Initiative for Northern Ontario
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SOURCE Natural Resources Canada