OTTAWA/CNW/ – The Forest Products Association of Canada (FPAC) appreciates the additional support for innovation and sector transformation in the new federal budget as a way to create jobs and solidify Canada’s reputation as a world leader in developing cutting-edge products from wood fibre.
The “Creating Jobs and Opportunities” budget from the federal Minister of Finance, Jim Flaherty, includes an additional $90.4 million over four years for the Investments in Forest Industry Transformation (IFIT) program that has already helped Canadian forest product companies develop world-first innovations.
“We welcome this renewal of the IFIT program as a way to spur jobs and create economic growth especially in rural Canada.” says the president and CEO of FPAC, David Lindsay. “This is a strategic, future-oriented decision that demonstrates the federal government’s ongoing commitment to the transformation of the forest industry.”
FPAC has unveiled Vision2020, an ambitious plan to propel the sector forward in the areas of products, environmental performance and people. The support for innovation will help the industry reach its goal of producing another $20 billion in economic activity in new markets and innovative new products by the end of the decade.
“Our industry vision calls for not only investment in innovation, but a focus on skilled workers and international trade,” says Lindsay. “This budget reflects those priorities.”
Lindsay notes that the government referred to the Vision2020 goal of recruiting an additional 60,000 workers by the end of the decade.
FPAC also welcomes the budget measure that allocates $18 million over four years for early intervention to prevent the spread of spruce budworm in Atlantic Canada and Quebec.
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 two per cent 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.