Ontario forestry minister calls for Ottawa to support softwood producers
Feb. 17, 2017 - In the midst of the ongoing softwood lumber dispute between Canada and the United States, Ontario's minister of Natural Resources and Forestry has called upon the federal minister of Natural Resources to implement a federal loan guarantee program to help support the forestry industry and the communities that rely on it.
Minister Kathryn McGarry brought the proposal forward in a letter to Minister Jim Carr.
McGarry says the loan guarantee program "would also ensure that all affected producers are treated equally, as opposed to participating in a variety of provincially based programs."
She says that approximately $5 billion worth of duties were forcibly paid by Canadian softwood lumber producers in the last round of trade negotiations.
She says Ontario's goal is for Canada as a whole to maintain market access, and to minimalize the blow of impending duties as much as possible on softwood lumber producers.
McGarry says it is likely that Canadian softwood lumber producers will be paying taxes imposed by the U.S. government by May 2017.