For Immediate Release
Minister Rickford Celebrates National Forest Week
September 26, 2014 Ottawa, ON Natural Resources Canada
“National Forest Week is a celebration of our forests and trees — and their importance to the quality of life in cities, towns and villages across Canada.
Canada’s vast forests account for 10 percent of the world’s forest cover, and over 150 million of our nearly 400 million hectares of forests are internationally certified as sustainably managed—far more than in any other country in the world.
Our Government recognizes that the forest sector is an important economic driver, contributing close to $20 billion to our nation’s economy. Canada’s forest industries directly employ more than 200,000 workers across Canada—many in rural and First Nations communities that are dependent on the forest sector.
National Forest Week is also an opportunity for me to pay tribute to an icon of Canada’s forestry sector, the Member of Parliament for Cariboo-Prince George, Mr. Dick Harris. Dick has led the National Conservative Forestry Caucus for many years, but he has been a leader in the forestry sector for nearly twenty.
He was instrumental in the development of the $1 billion Pulp and Paper Green Transformation Program, which funded 98 projects in 38 communities across the country, supporting more than 14,000 jobs. The program helped improve the environmental performance of Canada’s pulp and paper mills and by doing so, helped lay the groundwork for a more sustainable and prosperous future for the sector.
Dick has been a mentor to me since I first arrived on Parliament Hill in 2008, providing indispensable knowledge and wisdom that has allowed us to better serve the hundreds of communities across Canada that rely on Canada’s forest products industries. As Canada’s Minister of Natural Resources, I am working with Dick and our caucus to support the forest sector by investing in world-class forest research, environmental improvements at mills, and technological and forest product innovation.
For example, through Economic Action Plan 2014, our Government is providing $24 million to FPInnovations, a key player in transforming Canada’s forest sector, to undertake research to develop new products and increase the value of products created from Canadian wood fibre.
Under the Markets and Innovation program, our Government has helped to open doors to new business opportunities and new markets for Canadian forest products. In fact, our efforts have been particularly successful in increasing sales of Canadian wood products to China, where exports have grown by more than 1000% between 2007 and 2013.
These investments are helping to grow markets for Canadian forest products, commercialize new products, and improve the industry’s environmental performance. Our government will continue to support the transformation of Canada’s forestry industry—to make the targeted investments that are driving innovation, while continuing to support responsible forest management.
“Canadians can be proud that our forest management practices are internationally recognized as among the most rigorous in the world, and that we are safeguarding the future of this incredible resource.”