Modernizing Ontario's Forestry Sector
McGuinty Government Making Forest Industry More Competitive, Creating Jobs
Ontario intends to re-energize the forest sector to create new jobs and attract investment while ensuring forests continue to be managed sustainably.
The proposed Ontario Forest Tenure Modernization Act was introduced today. If passed, the act would change the forest tenure system and allow for greater market forces in the allocation and pricing of Crown timber. The proposed legislation would maintain the government's existing authority to manage this critical public resource, while bringing more competition and opportunity to the forest sector. This includes providing support for two new forest management models:
- Local Forest Management Corporations would be government agencies that manage Crown forests and oversee the competitive sale of the timber in a given area
- Enhanced Shareholder Sustainable Forest Licences would consist of a group of mills and/or harvesters that collectively form a new company to manage Crown forests under the Sustainable Forest Licence that is issued to them.
These two new models would help make Ontario's timber supply and prices more responsive to market demand, create new business opportunities for entrepreneurs, and facilitate greater local and Aboriginal participation in the sector.
Helping build a stronger forest industry is an important part of the Open Ontario plan to create jobs and opportunities in Northern Ontario.
- The Ontario Forest Tenure Modernization Act, 2011 would also amend the Crown Forest Sustainability Act, 1994 to support forest tenure and pricing modernization.
- The province released a proposed framework in April 2010 and consulted widely to develop the proposed legislation.
- Crown timber is currently harvested from nearly 40 Sustainable Forest Licences spread across northern and eastern Ontario.
- Since 2004, the McGuinty government has committed to the largest-ever provincial investment in the forest industry by making $1.1 billion available through various past and present programs to assist the forest sector.
“Today's proposed legislation aims to re-energize how Ontario's forest sector does business in the coming decades, so that this very important industry continues to create jobs and benefits for communities across our province.”
“A strong forest industry contributes to the sustainable management of forests. This proposed legislation would offer increased economic opportunities in Northern Ontario, which is a great thing for all Ontarians. I am pleased that our government is moving forward on tenure reform.”
“Tenure reform offers enormous potential and more meaningful participation by Ontario First Nations. Economic and employment ventures will create ownership and true partnerships from Ontario forests in traditional territories across the province.”
Roy Michano, Chief
“St. Marys Paper Corp. applauds the foresight of the Ontario government to modernize Ontario's forest tenure and pricing system. We believe this process would be good for our business as it would allow us improved access to resources and benefit our cost structure as we transition the business into the bio-economy marketplace.”
Dennis Bunnell, CEO