By: The Working Forest Staff
Forest Products Association of Canada (FPAC) will appear before the Finance Committee of the House of Commons tomorrow (Tuesday), as part of pre-budget consultations. In doing so, the Association representing 230,000 forest sector workers will seek investments to accelerate innovation, commitments to improve competiveness and increase trade, and support for a vision to secure healthy forests for future generations.
“As we move collectively to a greener economy, the industry has positioned itself as a forestry innovation hotbed and we want to accelerate that momentum through targeted investments that support new innovation, diversify markets and sustain and grow jobs in rural and northern communities across Canada,” says Derek Nighbor, FPAC CEO. “Another critical aspect of our submission is in response to pest outbreaks that are worsening, fire seasons that are getting longer and becoming more devastating, and the need for a partnership that tackles these complex challenges in a thoughtful and collaborative manner.”
In its pre-budget submission, FPAC is calling on the federal government to:
- Build on the momentum of successful innovation programs and initiatives like those through FPInnovations, and the Investment in Forest Industry Transformation (IFIT) Fund.
- Continue its aggressive promotion of the use of Canadian wood, pulp and paper, and emerging bioproducts through long-term programs such as the Expanding Market Opportunities (EMO) program.
- Guarantee greater market access for Canadian forest products, through the broad network of Canada’s trade offices and promoting “Brand Canada” around the world.
- Support the further engagement of our Indigenous partners in forestry operations through programs such as the Indigenous Forestry Initiative.
- Establish an industry-government working group on regulatory competitiveness to address cumulative regulatory burden facing Canada’s forest sector in the face of increasing competition from markets like Brazil, Russia, Scandinavia, and the United States.
- In the face of growing fires, pests, and other disturbances, to support development of a detailed vision and action plan that will help us secure healthy forests for future generations.
- Eliminate infrastructure bottlenecks and address increasingly frequent transportation service interruptions.
- Address the overall tax burden, including investment depreciation treatments.
- Ensure that during the renegotiation of NAFTA, that enhanced trade facilitation and robust trade remedies are key objectives.
- Ratify the Comprehensive and Progressive Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) trade agreement, ensuring further access to the Asian market for the industry.
“The forest products sector is a key driver for the Canadian economy, and it is imperative that the government prioritize action to assist in its continuing growth and strength,” says Joel Neuheimer, FPAC’s vice president, International Trade, Transportation, Corporate Secretary. “Our 2019 Budget recommendations will help ensure that businesses in our industry are reaching goals for expansion, innovation and prosperity to better contribute to the success of the over 230,000 workers directly employed in our sector.”
FPAC will make its submission to the House Finance Committee at approximately 10:15am (EST).