Opportunities in the forest sector
July 2, 2014, Calgary - Forest ministers from across Canada concluded a one day meeting during which they agreed to work together on key opportunities and challenges for Canada's forest sector, including innovation and supporting Aboriginal participation.
Ministers renewed their commitment to inter-governmental cooperation and engagement on improving the competitiveness of Canada's forest sector and the sustainability of the communities that rely on a vibrant industry. The Council agreed to continue to support innovation as a critical means of strengthening and transforming the sector, helping companies move to higher-value products and capture emerging opportunities in the bioeconomy. The involvement of all orders of government was recognized as being critical to maximizing the success of activities moving forward.
"Supporting innovation and Aboriginal participation is critical to a thriving forest industry," said the Honourable Greg Rickford, Canada's Minister of Natural Resources and Minister for the Federal Economic Development Initiative for Northern Ontario. "Investments by our government are creating jobs and promoting economic growth by helping Canada's forest industry diversify markets and bring innovative, high-value products to the marketplace."
Increasing the participation of Aboriginal workers in the forest sector was also identified as a key initiative. "Alberta and our partners recognize there is a significant opportunity for Aboriginal Peoples to help address localized labour shortages while also supporting rural economic development and rural communities," said the Honourable Kyle Fawcett, Alberta Minister of Jobs, Skills, Training and Labour.
Ministers reported that the CCFM's Climate Change Task Force has now completed its multi-year project of creating a game-changing body of science-based advice for forest managers on adapting to climate change. The CCFM has now produced ten reports that take a detailed look at the impact of these changes on Canada's forests and provide practical risk-mitigating options for sector stakeholders.
"The work of the Climate Change Task Force has given us all the tools to design adaptation strategies that recognize both regional differences and national interests," said Steve Thomson, British Columbia's Minister of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations. The final Task Force product, a climate change adaptation Guidebook, is currently in publication and will be released in 2014.
The Canadian Council of Forest Ministers was established in 1985 to provide a forum for federal, provincial and territorial governments to work cooperatively to address issues of common interest. The CCFM provides leadership on national and international issues and sets direction for the stewardship and sustainable management of Canada's forests.
In the absence of the Quebec Minister of Forests, Wildlife and Parks, Quebec has not taken a position on the issues that were discussed during the meeting.