The Forest Products Association of Canada is calling on the Harper government to set business conditions in the next federal budget that would help the industry become greener, more competitive and a contributor to the bio-economy.
OTTAWA: The Forest Products Association of Canada (FPAC) is calling on the Harper government to set business conditions in the next federal budget that would help the industry become greener, more competitive and a contributor to the bio-economy.
Avrim Lazar, president and CEO of FPAC, told the House of Commons Finance Committee Oct. 25 that during a fragile economic recovery, it’s also essential to renew and refocus initiatives already helping to transform the industry.
“The government took necessary and often difficult decisions to ensure that Canada would emerge from the recent recession with as little damage as possible,” said Lazar in a release. “We should now take advantage of this position to accelerate improvements to our industrial competitiveness, to further leverage our environmental credentials into market advantage, and to help pursue opportunities in the bio-economy.”
FPAC wants the federal government to support the industry’s green transformation by enhancing access to capital and mitigating some of the risks associated with the adoption of new technologies. It’s asking for an additional $300-million for the Investment in Forest Industry Transformation program and making the untapped $500 million in the SDTC NextGen BioFuels fund available to all bio-energy and biotechnologies to advance shovel-ready projects in rural areas.
It’s also recommending renewed funding and a refined focus for programs such as the Canada Wood Export Program, the Wood First Initiative, Value to Wood, Leadership for Environmental Advantage in Forestry and FPInnovation’s Transformative Technologies Program. FPAC suggests making their scope product and region neutral.
“The economic promise of new technologies and products is truly immense,” said Lazar. “We are working hard today to secure the jobs of tomorrow but to succeed we need the government to get it right.”
The $54-billion-a-year forest products industry represents almost 2% of Canada’s GDP. FPAC is aiming to double the industry’s revenue over the next 10 years and be a $100 billion contributor to the Canadian economy by 2020.
Click here for details of the FPAC submission to the Finance Committee.