Canada’s federal and provincial forestry ministers gathered virtually this week at their annual Canadian Council of Forest Ministers (CCFM) meeting which was hosted by the Government of Manitoba. The meeting concluded just as a federal delegation headed to Washington, D.C. to convene important meetings with congressional leaders and stakeholders. The delegation, led by the Honourable Mary Ng, Federal Minister of International Trade, Export Promotion, Small Business and Economic Development, is advocating for Canadian workers on a host of challenging Canada-US trade issues, including unfair softwood lumber duties.
In response to this week’s CCFM meeting outcomes and renewed diplomatic efforts to address trade challenges with the United States government, FPAC President and CEO Derek Nighbor issued the following statement:
“There is no path to a net-zero carbon economy without sustainable forest management and climate positive forest products from Canada. Canadian forest sector jobs are absolutely critical to post-pandemic recovery in rural and northern communities.
This week’s CCFM meetings closed with a clear commitment from federal and provincial governments to seize the sector’s environmental and economic benefits, grow the forest bioeconomy, and develop a comprehensive approach to addressing worsening trade and market access issues with the United States.
On behalf of Canada’s forest sector, its workers, and our over 600 forestry-dependent communities, we cannot express enough how urgent the need for action is.
While the softwood lumber dispute is rightfully top of mind, we are also very concerned by increased anti-Canadian trade actions through legislative and regulatory measures in the US Congress, as well as at the state level in California and New York.
Canada is home to 36% of the world’s independently certified forests, making us a world leader in sustainable forest management and forest renewal. We are also looked to as global leaders because of the high quality, climate-friendly wood and wood-fibre based products we make – and the potential of Canada’s forest bioeconomy to do even more for our environment and economy is the envy of countries around the world.
FPAC is calling on the Canadian government to take leadership on a clear action plan to enable sector growth and opportunity for Canadian forestry workers and their families. This must start with a coordinated, Team Canada market access action plan to deal with growing trade risks with federal and state governments in the United States.
Trade protectionism needs to be countered with a robust federal government-led effort, with the support of the provinces, to promote and defend Canadian forestry through our consular, industry, and labour networks on both sides of the border – not only in Washington, D.C., but also in a number of state capitols across the US.
FPAC stands ready to bring our broad coalition of rightsholders and stakeholders to support the federal government in making this action plan a top priority.”
FPAC provides a voice for Canada’s wood, pulp, and paper producers nationally and internationally in government, trade, and environmental affairs. As an industry with annual revenues exceeding $75B, Canada’s forest products sector is one of the country’s largest employers operating in over 600 communities, providing 225,000 direct jobs, and over 600,000 indirect jobs across the country.