OTTAWA — The Forest Products Association of Canada (FPAC) sees opportunities for Canada’s forestry products sector in the recently announced federal budget.
According to a release issued by the association, in the budget tabled by Finance Minister Bill Morneau March 22 he earmarked:
• $1.8 billion to support clean technology. The release states it is critical that the forest products sector is central to the government's clean tech strategy. The investment will help the sector develop environmentally friendly products in areas of bio-fuels and bio-materials while helping to reduce carbon in the atmosphere;
• $40 million over four years — starting next year — to support projects to increase the use of wood in buildings and infrastructure. This is an important program to support the use of sustainably sourced Canadian wood and since wood stores carbon, this a great way to further address climate change, the association explains;
• $5 billion from the Canadian Infrastructure Bank to support improved trade and transportation corridors. This is important as the sector is heavily dependent on reliable transportation infrastructure and a strong export sector; and
• $1.8 billion for programs to support youth employment, post-secondary education placements and indigenous skills training and also includes measures to support skills upgrading.
"Today's budget made significant commitments to innovation. We now must work with the federal government on specifics to ensure that our sector is able to capitalize on these investments," said Derek Nighbor, FPAC CEO, in a statement. "We must be clear. Like many other business sectors in Canada, we are not immune to the potential negative economic impacts of trade uncertainty south of the border. We need a strong continued partnership with the federal government to ensure we can remain competitive and continue to employ over 230,000 Canadians living in over 200 rural and northern communities across the country."