KENORA, ON, July 9, 2015 /CNW/ - The Honourable Greg Rickford, Canada's Minister of Natural Resources and Minister for the Federal Economic Development Initiative for Northern Ontario, today hosted provincial and territorial forest ministers, as well as leaders from the forest industry and research institutions from across Canada, at the National Forest Innovation Summit. Participants affirmed the ongoing need for industry transformation and built consensus on next steps to increase jobs and growth in the forestry sector.
Over two days of discussions, participants acknowledged the efforts of the Canadian forest industry to unite through a challenging economic period, while emphasizing the need for action in pursuit of the next wave of transformation by forest sector stakeholders across governments, industry, academia and research organizations.
With the release of the Kenora Declaration on Forest Innovation, organizations committed to advancing the commercialization of new products and technologies in the forest sector, ensuring that the industry continues to generate jobs and prosperity for Canadians. The Declaration underscores the importance of collaborating to enhance market-driven investment and mobilizing the best talent and technologies from the forest sector.
Minister Rickford also announced the release of the Investments in Forest Industry Transformation Performance Report (2010–2014). The Investments in Forest Industry Transformation (IFIT) program has played a pivotal role in supporting technology transformation in the Canadian forest industry, helping it become more economically competitive and environmentally sustainable. The $100-million IFIT program leveraged additional investments of $260 million from public and private sector partners to advance forest sector innovation.
- 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.
- Projects supported by the IFIT program will create $66 million in new revenues for participating companies, a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions of 60 kilotonnes per year and the generation of 7.2 megawatts of renewable electrical capacity.
- By reducing the risk associated with new technologies, the IFIT program encourages a broader adoption of technologies across the industry and supports forest industry transformation by opening the door to a more diversified portfolio of products and markets.
- As a result of the program's success, Economic Action Plan 2014 invested an additional $90.4 million in the program.
- Since 2007, the Government of Canada made unprecedented investments of $1.8 billion in the transformation of the forest industry.
"We are proud of Canada's world-class forest resources and the central role the forest industry plays in creating jobs and economic growth across the country. The National Forest Innovation Summit has provided an important forum for key partners to find new ways to support the industry's ongoing transformation. We must continue to work collaboratively with all levels of government, industry and research organizations to increase the competitiveness of Canada's forest sector for the benefit of the families and communities that rely on a strong, stable forest industry."
Canada's Minister of Natural Resources and Minister for the Federal Economic Development Initiative for Northern Ontario
Backgrounder: National Forest Innovation Summit
Kenora Declaration on Forest Innovation
National Forest Innovation Summit – List of Participants
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SOURCE Natural Resources Canada