By: The Working Forest Staff
Just as farming feeds cities, forestry builds communities. Ontario’s forestry community is deeply rooted in every region of the province. Today, Ontario’s forest products sector provides well-paying jobs for 57,000 hard-working men and women in over 260 communities across the province.
Other progressive and competitive jurisdictions around the world, such as Finland, embrace the sustainable use of their forests and are realizing the emerging opportunities of the bio-economy, the growing demand for new and existing solid wood products, and the positive role the sector can play in mitigating and adapting to the effects of climate change. With workable public policy that fundamentally supports this renewable sector, Ontario can lead the way in forestry.
President of NOMA and Mayor of Shuniah, Wendy Landry, stated, “We need government to acknowledge the vital role that forestry plays in our communities across Ontario and for those hardworking families that are directly impacted by the sector.” Landry continued, “We are the ones that depend on the long-term health and sustainability of our Crown forests as an important source of ecological, recreational, cultural and spiritual values. We look forward to receiving meaningful responses from the parties on how they will help make Ontario’s forest sector stronger.”
Chief Ed Wawia of Red Rock Indian Band said, “The recent investments our community has made in the forest sector has created significant opportunities and hundreds of new jobs for First Nations. Our forest operations generate wealth for our community that offsets the costs for social and economic development, so our community can be self-sustainable. Our future includes forestry and we hope that the next government will support our shared forestry interests.”
“The United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People states that Indigenous peoples have the right to determine and develop priorities and strategies for the development and use of their lands, territories and other resources. It is imperative that the next government fulfill this right and provide adequate information and meaningful consultation with First Nations communities when developing policy that impacts our communities,” said Chief Joe Ladouceur of Bingwi Neyaashi Anishinaabek First Nation.
“The Alliance is an extensive and diverse group of people that have been working together to advocate for the importance of the forest sector across every region of the province,” said Mayor Al Spacek of Kapuskasing and President of FONOM. “Now, we want to know how the next government will ensure that we, as northern and rural communities, will be proactively consulted with regards to policy and legislation that has a direct impact on us, and not have to continue to fight to have our voices heard.”
Jamie Lim, President and CEO of the Ontario Forest Industries Association (OFIA), concluded saying, “As thriving as Ontario’s forest sector is today, we can make it even stronger. By maximizing the full potential of Ontario’s renewable resource, we can create good-paying jobs, assist the province in transitioning to a low carbon economy, and support sustainable growth for future generations. We believe that we can provide a path full of opportunities to grow the sector and build Ontario up for everyone.”
Key issues are outlined in The Alliance’s 2018 election commitment letters to all three parties. These issues need to be addressed by the next government of Ontario, as elected on June 7, 2018. The letter outlines how Ontario can develop a Provincial Forest Strategy that accepts and embraces the sustainable use of Ontario’s forests. The Alliance is asking for the following commitments:
- Develop a Provincial Strategy that makes Ontario’s forest sector stronger
- Develop a long-term, workable solution that demonstrates equivalency between the Crown Forest Sustainability Act (CFSA) and the Endangered Species Act (ESA)
- Restore and maintain competitive restoration measures
- Create competitive energy use measures that will support forestry’s role in mitigating climate change
- Address market development challenges and enhance promotion of forest products
Visit www.ofia.com to read The Alliance’s election commitment letters and for more 2018 Ontario election news and information.