Renewable Resources: Investing in Canada’s forestry industry


Some of Canada’s highest politicians may not have approved of the 2011 Federal Budget proposed last month by Federal Finance Minister Jim Flaherty. But one sector certainly pleased with the updated economic report is among the country’s deepest roots—the Canadian forestry industry.

“Despite signs of recovery in some segments of the forest sector, there remains a need to find new and more efficient ways of using wood, wood fibre, and its byproducts,” said one report.

“To support the Canadian forestry industry, we will extend the current Forest Innovation and Market Development programs,” Flaherty said as part of his budget speech. “[The funding will] help forestry companies innovate and tap into new opportunities abroad.”

That update follows an announcement earlier in the month whereby Canada’s government pledged an $88 million investment in the forest industry. Canada is “injecting cash” into the forestry industry to cut down on the “war on the woods.”

“Our government continues to implement our plan that supports the transformation of Canada’s forest sector for the benefits of all Canadians. Our investments are supporting expansion of market opportunities for Canadian forest products, reducing our environmental footprint, improving the competitiveness of the forest industry and helping protect the jobs of the families who depend on the forest sector for their livelihood,” Stockwell Day, MP Okanagan-Coquihalla, said of the initial announcement. “With the economic recovery still fragile, we will continue to protect and [to] create jobs in Canada, including the important forestry jobs.”

According to reports, the plan of the Government of Canada is to improve the “environmental performance and competitiveness” of the forestry industry through a focus on innovation and overall product development, with the hope to ultimately grow and expand Canada’s forestry industry.

“It’s important that we continue to grow new markets for wood products and support our value-added industry,” Forests, Mines and Land Minister Pat Bell said in a report.

Forest Innovation and Market Development

The 2011 budget funding for the forestry sector follows the 2010 federal budget whereby $100 million was invested in the Investments in Forest Industry Transformation program, in an effort to “promote, commercialize, and implement” advanced technology in the sector, with a goal to improve the forestry industry by making it more environmentally sustainable.

The Forest Innovation and Market Development program strives to expand the industry.

Concluded Brock Mulligan of the Alberta Forest Products Association, “We’re quite pleased with the budget and encouraged that Minister Flaherty recognizes the value of a strong, sustainable forestry industry, both for Canada’s economy and our environment.”