Ontario announces protective measures, funding for 2020 tree planting season
By PJ Boyd
The Ontario government has announced $3.5 million to help implement protective measures to stop the spread of COVID-19 and protect workers during the upcoming tree planting season.
“We are safeguarding the workers who regenerate our forests and the communities where they work during the COVID-19 outbreak,” said Ontario minister of natural resources and forestry, John Yakabuski, in a statement. “This will help the industry expand existing facilities and modify operations to ensure that those helping to renew Ontario’s forests can work in a safe environment. With these measures, we are also securing the planting of 70 million trees this year in Ontario’s forests.”
The $3.5 million will be used to support large camp facilities, as well as provide extra personal protective equipment (PPE), plastic partitions for transporting workers and more wash stations.
“It is so important to hear directly from forestry stakeholders on the economic impact of COVID-19 and listen to their needs and priorities,” said Yakabuski. “By working together with our partners in the forest sector, we can support a careful, stage-by-stage approach to loosening emergency measures and reopening Ontario’s economy.”
Ontario’s forest industry generates over $18 billion in revenue and supports approximately 155,000 direct and indirect jobs while being essential to the Ontario economy. The forest industry has been declared essential during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, as it produces essential forest products for hygiene, food and medical supplies, as well as packaging and shipping products.