Forest Products Group Says Canadian Government "Got it Right"

"The Canadian government found a considered way to support the transformation of the country's forest products industry." —David Lindsay, President and CEO of FPAC.

Sept. 24, 2012 (Press Release) - The Forest Products Association of Canada (FPAC) would like to congratulate the Government of Canada for the unprecedented success of its $1Billion Pulp and Paper Green Transformation Program (PPGTP) and for its continued commitment to the ongoing transformation of the forest products sector.

The "Report on Results" on this phase of the government's ongoing strategic support for the industry has just been released. It shows the 98 projects that received funds from PPGTP supported 14,000 jobs, improved air quality, lowered fossil fuel consumption and reduced greenhouse gas emissions with some mills adding sufficient renewable electrical capacity to export green power to the grid. About two thirds of the funding went to member companies of FPAC.

"The investments from this program truly improved the environmental performance of Canada's pulp and paper sector and had extraordinary social and economic benefits for forest communities as well," says David Lindsay the President and CEO of FPAC. "This was a shining example of smart government policy that continues to pay dividends today."

This made-in-Canada program was aimed at helping pulp and paper mills that agreed to use targeted capital investments to support Canadian jobs and improve their environmental performance and green technologies. It was in response to a multi-billion dollar subsidy enjoyed by pulp and paper mills in the United States under the black liquor tax credit — a handout widely decried as distorting world markets — that unfairly hit Canadian mills already reeling from the global recession and a high Canadian dollar.

"Canada got it right. Canada used a strategic approach. The Canadian government found a considered way to support the transformation of the country's forest products industry," says Lindsay. "The program has helped drive environmental improvements and allowed the Canadian industry to leverage its strong green credentials in the international marketplace."

FPAC is also grateful that in the report the Minister of Natural Resources Joe Oliver pledged to continue "to support innovation and renewal in the forest sector," demonstrated by the commitment of $105 million in the 2012 budget to help the industry further diversify and increase sales abroad. Oliver also acknowledged that the industry is "playing a key role in its own renewal" and he acknowledged Vision2020 — an ambitious plan for the industry to reach its full potential by focusing on product innovations, further improving its environmental footprint and revitalizing its workforce.

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.

SOURCE: Forest Products Association of Canada