Forestry Management
Jan. 12, 2018 - The Standing Committee on Finance and Economic Affairs is holding a hearing in Thunder Bay on Monday, January 15, 2018 regarding Pre-Budget Consultations.

The Ontario Forest Industries Association (OFIA) will be presenting to the Standing Committee and believes that by working with government, affected stakeholders, rightsholders, practitioners and professional foresters to strategically increase the sustainable use of our Crown forests will make Ontario a world leader in forestry. 

To maximize the full potential of Ontario’s renewable resource, create well-paying jobs and leave no worker, region or family behind, OFIA will be addressing five key competitive challenges.

“As a province, we need to acknowledge that trees are the answer. Our forests can support growth, sequester carbon through long-term wood products and allow Ontario’s northern and rural communities to thrive," OFIA’s president chief executive officer Jamie Lim stated.

For generations, Ontario’s forest products sector has been putting Ontario’s wood to work responsibly, growing local communities by harvesting and growing trees. Forestry connects and supports over 172,000 hardworking men and women directly and indirectly employed by the sector in every region across the province.

“It is our sector’s ability to adapt and innovate that has allowed us to thrive and remain a foundational pillar in Ontario’s economy for more than 150 years," Lim said. "This is our time to embrace and accept what forestry has to offer and acknowledge the vital and deeply rooted role of the forestry community in creating a prosperous, sustainable, low carbon economy for the wellbeing of all Ontarians.” 

“With today’s advanced manufacturing and innovative technologies further propelling the growth of forestry, more value is derived from every tree that is harvested. We believe that we can provide a path full of opportunities to grow the sector and build Ontario up for everyone," Lim said. "Together, we can work to make Ontario’s forest sector even stronger."

The OFIA submission outlines how Ontario harvests so little – less than 0.5 per cent - of its Crown forests, yet the benefits are so great. The sustainable use of a secure and affordable supply of renewable wood fibre, coupled with workable public policy, results in well-paying jobs and a wide range of social, environmental and economic benefits.

OFIA looks forward to hearing from the following at the consultation hearing in Thunder Bay:

• Rick Ksiezopolski, Norbord Inc.
• Matt Wilkie, Weyerhaeuser
• Mayor Dennis Brown, Town of Atikokan
• Roger Barber & Georjann Morriseau, Resolute Forest Products
• Mayor Dave Canfield, City of Kenora and past President of the Northwestern Ontario Municipal Association (NOMA)

For OFIA’s Pre-budget submission please call 416-368-6188 or visit our website:

Ontario’s renewable forest products sector supports over 172,000 direct and indirect jobs in 260 Ontario communities. Since 1943, the Ontario Forest Industries Association has represented forestry companies ranging from multinational corporations to family operated businesses producing advanced manufactured products and technologies. OFIA believes that by working with government to address key competitive issues, secure long-term access to affordable and accessible fibre and promote the province’s 21st century forest products sector, Ontario will be the number one jurisdiction in Canada for today’s green and growing renewable sector. To learn more about OFIA and its innovative forestry members, follow us on Twitter @OFIA_info, or visit 
Jan. 4, 2018 – As many still deal with hardships caused by the wildfires in British Columbia this past summer, the Government of Canada remains committed to support the recovery of the people of B.C.

The Government of Canada is providing an advance payment of $175 million through the Disaster Financial Assistance Arrangements (DFAA) to the province.

This money will help with the costs associated with long-term recovery and rebuilding in affected communities.

“Although the wildfires are extinguished, a long, hard recovery process continues for many as they struggle with lost homes and businesses,” Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness Ralph Goodale said.

“The funding and support announced today will help those affected by the wildfires rebuild their homes and communities and get their lives back to normal.

“The Government of Canada continues to stand with B.C. as it works to recover from the wildfires,” he said.

The Government of Canada also issued a payment of $38,595,900 to the Canadian Red Cross in October, delivering on its commitment to make a donation to the Red Cross in support of those affected by the B.C. wildfires.

In addition to assisting communities during evacuations, this funding is being used to support evacuees in the long process of recovery, such as to ease re-entry into their homes and communities and to re-establish their livelihoods.

The Government of Canada works closely with provinces, territories and Indigenous communities to assist Canadians when disasters strike.
Dec. 29, 2017 - The government has released a made-in-Alberta draft plan to help woodland caribou populations across the province recover.

Alberta’s Draft Provincial Woodland Caribou Range Plan is a working document that seeks to find a balance between achieving self-sustaining caribou populations, meeting federal requirements under the Species at Risk Act and addressing economic and environmental realities here at home.

Throughout the first half of 2017, the government held Phase 1 engagement, which involved First Nation and Métis information sessions, stakeholder meetings and an online public survey and open feedback form. Feedback received during the first phase of engagement informed the draft plan. Phase 2 of engagement on the draft plan itself begins today and ends in March 2018.

“This is an important step in building a made-in-Alberta plan that will protect caribou and jobs. We know that the environment and the economy go hand in hand and that doing nothing is not an option. That’s why we are taking a collaborative, balanced approach that will be good for the caribou and good for Albertans," said Minister of Environment and Parks Shannon Phillips.

In 2012, the federal government issued a requirement that provinces develop plans for caribou recovery by 2017. Failure to act could result in an environmental protection order from Ottawa, as was the case with the greater sage grouse in 2014 which affected energy development in the southern part of the province.

The Alberta government will spend more than $85 million over the next five years for habitat restoration, rearing facilities and other measures to improve caribou outcomes. This includes the $9.2 million already spent to date on caribou recovery.

Habitat restoration, in partnership with Indigenous peoples, industry and the federal government, will be an important part of caribou recovery planning and will help the province move toward the federal goal of 65 per cent undisturbed habitat within caribou ranges.

“We are proud to be working on forming partnerships with Indigenous peoples, industry and the federal government for habitat recovery work, which is a crucial part of our caribou recovery strategy and a great investment in Alberta’s future," Phillips said.

This fiscal year, the Alberta government allocated more than $5 million for habitat restoration efforts. Restoration work has begun in the Little Smoky and A La Peche ranges where, in partnership with industry, 70 kilometres of legacy seismic lines are being deactivated and 100,000 trees are being planted. The province hopes to replicate this approach across other caribou ranges.
In addition to restoration, the draft plan proposes a variety of tools, including:

  • Integrated Land Management: achieving a working landscape where carefully managed industrial activity can co-exist with caribou.
  • Habitat protection areas: establishing candidate areas that will support caribou recovery without affecting existing forestry or energy activities.
  • Rearing facilities: providing safe habitat for caribou population growth, as well as economic certainty and job opportunities for local communities.
Built on a foundation of science, the draft plan will be strengthened by social and economic studies the province is undertaking to shed light on how range plans fit within local and regional economies and communities.

The Alberta government encourages all interested parties to submit feedback online and participate in public information sessions held in communities throughout caribou ranges. These sessions are scheduled for:

  • Feb. 20, 2018 – Whitecourt
  • Feb. 22, 2018 – Edmonton
  • Feb. 27, 2018 – Cold Lake
  • March 1, 2018 – Fort McMurray
  • March 6, 2018 – High Level
Dec. 18, 2017 - Private timberland company TimberWest announced that it has both signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Pacheedaht First Nation, and renewed a MoU with the Malahat First Nation.

TimberWest said it wanted to formalize a long-term collaborative commitment in support of First Nation culture, environmental stewardship and restoration projects, and forestry education, mentorship and business opportunities with the Pacheedaht First Nation and reaffirm that commitment with the Malahat First Nation.

The company believes strongly in collaborative approaches with its neighbours, said TimberWest president and chief executive officer Jeff Zweig. 

Pacheedaht2 1080x675“The MoU with the Pacheedaht First Nation will strengthen our relationship, open dialogue between us, and foster genuine collaborative initiatives that benefit both parties. We look forward to the next several years working alongside the Pacheedaht First Nation,” Zweig said in a statement.

“The renewal of our MOU signifies the strength of our relationship and the good work we have accomplished. We look forward to deepening this relationship over the next several years,” Zweig said in a separate statement about the Malahat First Nation.

Pacheedaht First Nation territory includes the lands and waters along the southwest coast of Vancouver Island, while the Malahat Nation territory includes lands and waters along the southeast coast of Vancouver Island.  

TimberWest is certified to the Progressive Aboriginal Relations program of the Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business. The company is also third-party certified under the Sustainable Forestry Initiative and has been operating on the BC Coast for over 100 years.

Second photo: Jeff Zweig, President and CEO of TimberWest and Chief Jeff Jones of the Pacheedaht First Nation. Photo//TimberWest
Dec. 6, 2017 - It’s an exciting time for British Columbia’s steep-slope-harvesting forestry workers and employers. Approximately 25 new mechanized-harvesting machines equipped with winch-assist technology are operating in the province, and another 20 are anticipated to be put into use over the next two years on British Columbia’s rugged, often treacherous forested landscape.
Nov. 30, 2017 - Overshadowed by B.C.'s unprecedented wildfire season, the U.S. states of Washington, Oregon, Idaho, and Montana also experienced a significant and disruptive wildfire year. 

By early September, almost two million acres of forest and rangeland had burned in the U.S. Northwest. Harvest operations across the four states have been hampered by restrictions on operating hours, disruptions in transportation, and loggers diverted to fighting wildfires. In Montana, several sawmills had to close operations intermittently in the 3Q/17 due to the proximity of wildfires. Full harvest operations resumed after late September rains, though whether there was sufficient time to replenish sawlog and pulplog inventories before winter conditions set in remains the key question for many log procurement managers this fall. 

Unlike B.C. and its large provincially-owned commercial timber base, the loss of burnt timber on U.S. federal forests has had little impact on the availability of timber with the exception being Montana, where regular timber sales from federal lands have proven crucial to selected sawmills. In general, however, the U.S. Forest Service timber sale program provides minimal sawlog or pulplog volumes to the forest industry in Western U.S.

With lower harvest levels in the Northwest due to wildfire-risk constraints, local sawmills expanded their procurement into small-diameter chip-n-saw grades and higher quality pulplogs that typically would be used by the region's pulpmills. This less valuable log source, resulting in lower lumber yields, has still been profitable for many sawmills thanks to the high prices for softwood lumber during 2017.  

The increased competition for small-diameter logs has resulted in a dwindling supply of traditional pulplogs normally available for pulpmills and independent chipping operators, with pulplog inventories in August reaching their lowest level since the 2Q/14. The low level of pulplogs in the region's pulp industry this late in the season is a major concern among wood fiber managers in the U.S. Northwest as they seek to build adequate inventory levels of logs for the winter season when residual chip supply from the lumber industry typically declines. 

The North American Wood Fiber Review (NAWFR) has tracked wood fiber markets in the US and Canada for over 30 years and it is the only publicationthat includes prices for sawlogs, pulpwood, wood chips and biomass in North America. The 36-page quarterly report includes wood market updates for 15 regions on the continent in addition to the latest export statistics for sawlogs, lumber, wood pellets and wood chips.
Nov. 16, 2017 - With public consultations and testing completed, FSC Canada anticipates the final version of the standard to be ready for 2018.

Following the field testing of the National Forest Management Standard in spring 2017, the Standards Development Group has been working diligently to reach consensus on a final version of the standard. 

The new standard has several key elements that differentiate it from its predecessor such as Indicators that deal with free, prior and informed consent (FPIC) and managing species at risk. FSC Canada will be releasing a public summary of significant changes from Draft 2 to the pre-approved draft once the standard is finalized. 

Upon approval by the Standards Development Group, the Standard will be sent to the FSC Canada Board of Directors in December 2017 and then will be submitted to FSC International for final approval in January 2018. We anticipate approval from FSC international by spring 2018. 

Intact Forest Landscapes and Indigenous Cultural Landscapes
Indicators for intact forest landscapes and Indigenous cultural landscapes will continue to be developed until 2019. These requirements will be developed to be aligned with species at risk indicators; other landscape requirements; and Intact Forest Landscape approaches. 

Scale, intensity and risk
Scale, intensity and risk indicators specific to smallholders and community forests will not be included in the final draft of the standard. With FSC International’s ‘New Approaches’ program aiming to enable smallholders to design a certification system that works for them, FSC Canada will work with FSC International to develop a smallholder and community standard and will adapt requirements in the next revision of FSC’s forest management standard. Until the new scale, intensity and risk related standard is ready, smallholder and community forests in Canada will be able to continue using existing regional forest management standards (BC, Maritimes and draft Great Lakes St-Lawrence Standard).

What happens once the standard is approved?
As of the effective date, Certificate holders will have 1 year to transition to the new standard. Within the transition period, certificate holders can choose to be audited to the current forest management standards or the revised National Forest Management Standard. But all certificate holders will be evaluated against the revised National Forest Management Standard within 1 year.

FSC Canada will support certificate holders and certification bodies with the transition and implementation of the revised standard with training beginning in 2018. 

FSC Canada initiated the standard revision process in 2012 to align to the new international generic indicators and merge all four regional standards into a single National Forest Management Standard that properly reflects the realities of forestry in Canada in 2017. Draft 1 of the standard was released for public consultation in 2015 and a second draft was released in 2016 for a 60-day public consultation. The draft standard was then field/desk tested in spring 2017. FSC Canada plans to have the final version of the standard approved in 2018.
Nov. 16, 2017 - Tree seeds are of course critical to future forests. Management of high quality seed of known origin is crucial if our future forests are to withstand the impacts of climate change. Despite this, the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry (MNRF) has decided to close the Ontario Tree Seed Plant (OTSP) in less than a year.

Located in Angus (west of Barrie) since 1923, it is a unique facility that is home to expert processing and storage of billions of tree seed. The OTSP is the seed bank for future forests in southern and northern Ontario, managed by 6 expert staff with an annual budget less than $2 million. The shutdown decision came as a surprise - no analysis of other delivery or cost cutting options, and no consultation with clients, stakeholders and the community.

Historically, MNR Seed Program staff managed seed for government programs that annually planted over 100 million trees on Crown Land in Northern Ontario, and up to 20 million on private land in Southern Ontario. Those trees became the forests that surround us today.

In the mid-90’s, cutbacks saw the MNR reforestation program dismantled. Tree nurseries, established by pioneering foresters Drury and Zavitz in the 1920’s, were closed and sold, and plans made to privatize the Seed Plant. The Forest Gene Conservation Association (FGCA), working with stakeholders, helped MNR management understand that tree seed expertise was an irreplaceable ecological and social benefit. Even private nurseries advocated for keeping the Seed Plant in public hands.

In 1999, MNR leadership reconsidered, and recognized the value of the OTSP’s critically important role in providing genetically adapted native seeds for planting programs. Tree nurseries were able to increase the propagation of locally adapted trees for our cities and countryside. OTSP seed was the foundation for the 50 Million Tree Program in 2007, without it the program could not have been built.

The OTSP closure is a game changer - with the potential to be a game ender. The FGCA and Forest Ontario’s grower and planting partners are very concerned. Where will the millions of stored seeds go? Where will next year’s seed crops be processed? Who will monitor seed quality and track seed source? Who will invest in the expertise needed to establish and maintain a long-term seed bank - a critical weapon to fight the impacts of climate change?

Dianne Saxe, the Environmental Commissioner recently reported that Ontario’s forests are under increasing stress from climate change. Climate models show that southern Ontario’s trees, adapted to a warmer climate, will be the best source of seed for Northern Ontario before the 22nd century. But many southern forests have been lost to agriculture and development. The remainder face introduced exotic plants, insects and diseases that challenge native trees from regenerating. Given these serious threats, seed management and banking capacity needs to be increased, not stopped.

Premier Wynne has shown leadership on climate change - a tremendously complex challenge. And the FGCA knows the best way to manage complex challenges like forest restoration is to make it easier for people to do the right thing. But this short-sighted decision by the Minister of Natural Resources and Forestry, to abandon seed management and banking, will make it very difficult to ensure the resilience of Ontario’s forest under climate change.

There is no future without forests, and no forests without seed. The plan to close the OTSP must be reconsidered.

Barb Boysen is general manager of the Forest Gene Conservation Association based in Kemptville, Ont., and Melissa Spearing is the FGCA’s seed program coordinator.
Nov. 14, 2017 - A new report by Forest Economic Advisors (FEA), commissioned by the Softwood Lumber Board (SLB), highlights the importance of softwood lumber manufacturing to the U.S. economy and, in particular, the health of rural communities. Through both direct manufacture and via downstream industries that use softwood lumber as a primary input, FEA estimates that 775,674 jobs, with a total payroll of more than $46 billion, are tied to the softwood lumber manufacturing industry.

There are currently 509 sawmills operating in 464 mostly rural communities across 32 states.  Softwood lumber’s economic impact extends far beyond the direct sales, employment, and wages of the nation’s lumber mills. In many ways, mills formed microeconomic hubs that generated substantial indirect and induced employment and wages, in the form of the goods and services mills purchased for their operations, and the goods, materials, and services workers bought using their incomes, including through investment in housing. Because most mills are in rural areas with limited alternative employment opportunities, these jobs are of particular importance to state and regional economies.  When tabulating these, softwood lumber’s total direct impact in 2016 was 208,107 jobs and $11.35 billion in wages. Many would be surprised to learn that the softwood lumber industry employs more people than oil and gas extraction (181,430 jobs) or primary steel manufacturing (140,200 jobs).

FEA also assessed the economic impacts of seven downstream industries that rely heavily on lumber as a primary input in their operations, including the manufacture of trusses, windows, doors, millwork, wood containers, and pallets; wood preservation; wood remanufacturing; and the lumber wholesale trade. Together these industries accounted for 567,567 indirect &induced jobs, with annual wages of $34.93 billion.

The Softwood Lumber Board’s role is to strengthen and diversify the demand for softwood lumber.  Over the last five years the SLB has contributed to increasing demand by 2.59 billion board feet.  The SLB’s impact has grown each year, creating 906 million board feet of increased demand in 2016 alone.  The SLB supports the market by supporting strong and safe building codes for wood, inspiring and educating architects and engineers on the benefits of wood construction, promoting the benefits of softwood lumber products in and around the home, and pursuing new markets for softwood lumber such as mass timber, mid-rise and tall wood construction.

FEA’s findings confirm the importance of the SLB’s efforts to safeguard and increase softwood lumber’s market share, as literally tens of thousands of families in hundreds of different communities rely on a healthy, strong softwood lumber industry.
Oct. 30, 2017 - This month, the Ontario Forest Industries Association (OFIA) held their first annual Forestry Advocacy Day at Queen’s Park. OFIA staff and Board Directors met with several Ministers and Members of Provincial Parliament from the Liberal, Progressive Conservative (PC) and New Democratic Party (NDP) Caucuses. During these meetings, OFIA and its members, presented Provincial officials with their 2018 pre-budget submission. The OFIA submission outlines how Ontario can develop a Provincial forest strategy that accepts and embraces the sustainable use of Ontario’s forests. (To read OFIA’s 2018 Pre-Budget Submission, please visit: 

For generations, OFIA’s member companies have been putting Ontario’s wood to work responsibly, growing local economies by harvesting and growing trees. “On OFIA’s Forestry Advocacy Day, and every day, we want to acknowledge the vital role that forestry plays in our communities across every region of Ontario and for those 57,000 men and women directly employed by the sector,” OFIA president and chief executive officer Jamie Lim said. “We have presented the challenges in forestry in Ontario, provided a path full of opportunities to grow the sector, and now we look forward to working with all three parties to make Ontario’s forest sector stronger.”

During OFIA’s Forestry Advocacy Day, OFIA and its members spoke to the three provincial parties and encouraged the establishment of a provincial forest strategy for Ontario. All three parties acknowledged that Ontario harvests so little of its Crown forests – less than 0.5 per cent – and yet the benefits are so great in a sector that generates $15.5 billion of economic activity and provides well-paying jobs for 172,000 people in every region of the province.

Erik Holmstrom, chair of OFIA and Ontario timberlands manager for Weyerhaeuser noted, “Our businesses run and prosper on certainty, yet for Ontario’s forestry community, consistent access to affordable wood in Ontario continues to be uncertain. The sustainable use of our renewable Crown forests results in well-paying jobs and a wide range of social and economic benefits. As members of OFIA, we are grateful for the opportunity to be at Queen’s Park speaking to the people involved in making decisions that affect our livelihoods.”

OFIA believes that by working with government and affected stakeholders to address key competitive challenges, we can make Ontario’s forest sector stronger, maximizing the full potential of Ontario’s renewable resource, create good paying jobs and assist the province in transitioning to a low carbon economy that will support sustainable growth for future generations. 

Ontario’s renewable forest products sector supports over 172,000 direct and indirect jobs in 260 Ontario communities. Since 1943, the Ontario Forest Industries Association has represented forestry companies ranging from multinational corporations to family operated businesses producing advanced manufactured products and technologies. OFIA believes that by working with government to address key competitive issues, secure long-term access to affordable and accessible fibre and promote the province’s 21st century forest products sector, Ontario will be the number one jurisdiction in Canada for today’s green and growing renewable sector. To learn more about OFIA and its innovative forestry members, follow us on Twitter @OFIA_info, or visit 
Oct. 30, 2017 – Natural Resources Canada has released its 2017 State of Canada’s Forests report. This latest edition delves into forest fires by examining the Fort McMurray fire, and explaining why Canada’s forests need fires.

There is also a focus on the bioeconomy of Canada’s forest sector, and a look at Canada’s timber forest products.

“With the third-largest forested area on the planet, Canada boasts nearly 40 per cent of the world's certified forests, far more than any other country,” Minister of Natural Resources, Jim Carr said in a statement. “From Yukon to Newfoundland and Labrador, the forest sector is benefiting local communities, boosting our economy, helping to advance reconciliation with Indigenous peoples and showing us what we can accomplish when we work together.”

The largest portion of the 2017 report assesses sustainability indicators such as whether timber is being harvested sustainably, how disturbances like forest diseases and insects shape Canada’s forests, how Canadians benefit from forests through employment, and how the forest industry in turn benefits Canada’s economy.

In 2016, approximately 211,000 people were employed by the forest industry. The same year, the forest industry contributed $23 billion to Canada’s gross domestic product (GDP), according to the report.

“Our government believes in this industry and is excited about its future. As this year's chair of the CCFM [Canadian Council of Forest Ministers], Natural Resources Canada has worked with the provinces and territories to highlight forestry's central role in some of the most important issues of our time: combatting climate change, driving innovation and creating economic opportunities for rural and Indigenous communities,” Carr said.

“This edition of The State of Canada's Forests examines some of these exciting opportunities, from the emerging bioeconomy and new construction materials to innovative uses for forest products in auto parts, bioplastics, biochemicals and textiles.”
Oct. 26, 2017 - The Home Depot is increasing its protection of High Conservation Value Forests and tropical Intact Forest Landscapes (IFLs) by not accepting any wood products from The Amazon (South America) andCongo (Africa) Basins, unless Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified.

Although less than one per cent of the company's existing wood products come from the Amazon and Congo Basins, The Home Depot announced on Wednesday that it will require that any wood products coming from these areas be FSC certified. The company has given preference to FSC certified wood products since 1999. 

The company announced the updated policy in its 2017 Responsibility Report. The full report is located online.

The report also unveils newly strengthened chemical oversight practices in five product categories, including paint, carpet, vinyl and laminate flooring, and insulation. 

The chemical strategy includes commitments to increase the assortment of products that have transparency of product ingredients and third party certification of chemical ingredients. Additionally, the company is committed to working with suppliers to improve chemicals in categories with the greatest potential impact to indoor air quality, and will conduct annual reviews of product categories to track progress and drive innovation.  

The company partners with the Green Chemistry and Commerce Council, Healthy Building Network and Cradle to Cradle for guidance on priority chemicals and innovations.

"We recognize the role we play in the value chain for home improvement products, especially lumber and manufactured goods," said Ron Jarvis, vice-president of environmental innovation. "We believe that better transparency is the key to retailers and consumers making better purchasing decisions that will improve our industry's long-term environmental impact."
Oct. 23, 2017 - The last decade in British Columbia has seen an incredible increase in the number of First Nations actively participating and engaging in the forest industry, not only as licensees but often as business owners and contractors.
Oct. 20, 2017 - Caribou protection plans must factor in more comprehensive science or run the risk of being ineffectual and putting thousands of forest sector workers out of the job, warns the Forest Products Association of Canada.
Oct. 20, 2017 - The Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) Canada strongly endorses the call for a chapter to be added to the proposed renegotiated North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) that recognizes and calls for the rights of the Indigenous Peoples of North America to be respected, according to the terms of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP).

FSC is reacting to the announcement on Oct. 18, 2017, that the National Congress of American Indians had passed a resolution at its annual meeting, backed by the Assembly of First Nations (AFN) of Canada, to support the inclusion of a chapter in a renegotiated NAFTA that references UNDRIP and ensures a final new NAFTA deal doesn't negatively impact Indigenous rights.

UNDRIP was adopted by the United Nations in 2007 and all three countries in NAFTA – Canada, United States and Mexico – have ratified and support its terms. FSC Canada has taken a leading role in the whole natural resources sector by recognizing the key role Indigenous Peoples have to play in forestry activities on their territories. FSC is the only forest certification body to support the provisions of UNDRIP with regards to Free, Prior, Informed Consent.

Along with the Economic, Environmental and Social Chambers, FSC Canada also has an Aboriginal Peoples Chamber that deliberate on the elements of the standards required for forests to achieve FSC certification as being responsibly managed for sustainability.

"Having a chapter in NAFTA recognizing the pivotal role Indigenous Peoples should play in the economic development of North America would be an important step forward for all three countries to live up to their obligations under UNDRIP and assist in the protection of Canada's forests through responsible development," said François Dufresne, president of FSC Canada. "We fully support this effort of the AFN and its American counterpart."

Roughly 20 per cent – 55 million hectares – of the managed forest area in Canada is FSC certified. But irresponsible forestry can be a major threat to Indigenous Peoples and the environment. If all of that activity was required to meet FSC standards, that risk would be greatly mitigated, including protecting the rights of Aboriginal peoples as well as forest species at risk such as woodland caribou.

The FSC standard offers a solution for Canada to properly implement its commitments to both UNDRIP and the Nagoya convention for biodiversity protection.

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