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Last updated on April 23, 2014 at 16:13 EDT

Forest sector requests ongoing support for industry on the move

November 7, 2012

OTTAWA, Nov. 7, 2012 /CNW/ – The Forest Products Association of Canada
(FPAC) is asking the federal government to use Budget 2013 to continue
to build on the existing momentum of innovation and transformation in
the job-rich forest sector. This should include replenishment of the
successful Investments in Forest Industry Transformation (IFIT)
program.

The original $100 million IFIT program generated 107 applications and
was over-subscribed by a factor of five, demonstrating the significant
appetite by the Canadian forestry sector to develop and commercialize
new innovative technologies in the areas of bio-energy, bio-chemicals
and new solid wood projects. About a third of these project
applications were for world-first innovations. By investing $300
million over the next three years in IFIT, the government will continue
to support the ambitious Vision2020 agenda of the Canadian forest
sector.

“We know the government is facing an era of fiscal restraint,” says the
President and CEO of FPAC, David Lindsay. “However by continuing to
demonstrate support for our transformation agenda the government will
maximize the return on its significant investment in industry
transformation to date, help the Canadian sector lead the world in
innovative products and unleash the potential of Canada’s vast forest
resource.”

FPAC is also asking the government to improve innovation, productivity
and competiveness by:

        --  Use the purchasing power of Public Works and Government
            Services Canada to kick start demand for existing and emerging
            forest products - from building materials to biofuels to
            pharmaceuticals- all products that have graduated from the
            innovation development process.
        --  Take action to increase the number of skilled tradespeople,
            particularly through immigration reform and efforts to engage
            Aboriginals and women in non-traditional roles. This will help
            the forest products sector reach its goal of recruiting 60,000
            new employees by 2020.
        --  Permanently extend the Accelerated Capital Coast Allowance
            provisions for manufacturing equipment to help attract capital
            and encourage first-of-kind commercial applications of
            technology.
        --  Broaden access to the Scientific Research and Experimental
            Development tax credit program
        --  Continue to adequately fund Canada's research agencies such as
            FPInnovations.
        --  Take action to fix a monopolistic rail system that is resulting
            in high rates and poor service and impacting our ability to be
            competitive and service emerging markets.

“We truly appreciate how the government has been there to help Canadian
forest companies develop a dynamic future-oriented industry that is
creating jobs and supporting rural communities,” says Lindsay. ”We need
continuing smart and strategic support so the sector can reach the
ambitious goals of our Vision2020 and become a world leader in
supplying new innovative products to global markets.”

FPAC provides a voice for Canada’s wood, pulp, and paper producers
nationally and internationally in government, trade, and environmental
affairs. The $57-billion-a-year forest products industry represents 2%
of Canada’s GDP and is one of Canada’s largest employers operating in
hundreds of communities and providing 230,000 direct jobs across the
country.

For more information, go to: http://www.fpac.ca/Budget2013/

SOURCE FOREST PRODUCTS ASSOCIATION OF CANADA


Source: PR Newswire