OFIA’s first annual Forestry Advocacy Day at Queen’s Park
By Ontario Forest Industries Association
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: www.ofia.com).
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 www.ofia.com