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Government invests in forestry

July 29, 2014, Prince Albert, Sask. – Today, the Honourable Michelle Rempel, Minister of State for Western Economic Diversification, and Fred Bradshaw, Legislative Secretary to the Minister of Environment for Forest Management, on behalf of the Honourable Bill Boyd, Minister of the Economy announced a combined investment of $1.1 million to the Prince Albert Model Forest Association (PAMF).

With the assistance of its delivery partner, FPInnovations, PAMF will provide guidance to Northern Saskatchewan forestry companies, particularly First Nations- and Métis-owned companies, to improve management and business practices, revise their product lines and increase marketing activities to be ready to enter new international export markets.

"Forestry is a key contributor to this province's economy and to First Nations and Métis employment and entrepreneurship. With seven mills now online in Saskatchewan, the time is right for the industry to start diversifying to meet global demand for new forestry products. This investment will help our northern businesses tap into emerging markets, create jobs and promote sustainable economic growth," said Fred Bradshaw, Legislative Secretary to the Minister of Environment for Forest Management, on behalf of the Honourable Bill Boyd, Minister of the Economy, Government of Saskatchewan.

Northern Saskatchewan's forestry companies will also receive customized technical support to produce higher-value products that will result in increased domestic and international sales. FPInnovations will also provide support to companies to professionally market their products at international tradeshows.

"Our Government is committed to expanding export markets for Saskatchewan and Canadian forestry products. This project will help achieve that goal, while strengthening the competitiveness of Saskatchewan SMEs, as well as creating long-term employment and economic development opportunities for First Nations and Métis peoples," said Michelle Rempel, Minister of State for Western Economic Diversification.

This investment will help build capacity and productivity in the Northern Saskatchewan forestry sector to help companies take advantage of strong export markets.

· 23% of Saskatchewan's land mass is covered by commercial forest.
· Saskatchewan's forest sector generates more than $1 billion in sales annually and creates approximately 5,000 direct jobs, in normal market conditions.
· Forestry is Northern Saskatchewan's second largest economic driver. First Nations and Métis people comprise over 15% of the workforce – the largest percentage of Aboriginal forestry employees in Canada.

"The Prince Albert Model Forest is all about helping communities build sustainability through programs such as this and as a non-profit partnership association we absolutely depend on external funding to achieve that. We are pleased that Western Economic Diversification Canada has provided this opportunity for us to work together with FPInnovations and other partners to support this initiative," said Mark Johnston, President of the Prince Albert Model Forest Association.