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Ontario Protecting Local Jobs at Columbia Forest Products

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Ontario Protecting Local Jobs at Columbia Forest Products

Province Supporting Local Business and Economic Growth in Northern Ontario

HEARST - Today John Yakabuski, Minister of Natural Resources and Forestry, toured the Columbia Forest Products plywood mill in Hearst to see first-hand how the province's investment has helped protect local jobs and modernize operations.

Ontario is supporting the expansion of Columbia's plywood mill by investing $3.2 million over five years to help create and retain almost 350 good jobs and boost economic growth in the towns of Hearst and Rutherglen.

"Since we were elected, one of our top priorities has been to make Ontario open for business and open for jobs," said Yakabuski. "Our investment is helping the mill maximize production capacity, develop new products and secure its position as a leading hardwood plywood manufacturing plant in North America."

Columbia Forest Products operates 13 manufacturing facilities in North America and is an industry leader in hardwood plywood veneer, supplying wholesale distributors, large cabinet manufacturers and mass merchandisers.

"The continued support of the Ontario government, our local community, and our workers has enabled this mill to become a leading, top-quartile manufacturing facility," said Gilles Levesque, Director for Canadian Operations, Columbia Forest Products. "We are encouraged by the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry initiative to develop a forestry strategy with a goal to increase reliable, sustainable and economic wood supply."

"The modernization and enhancement of our Hearst production is progressing very well with the purchase and installation of state-of-the-art equipment, including a Meinan Composer and next generation Raute Patching Technology," Levesque said. "To date, the expansion project has created 30 new full-time positions at the Hearst and Rutherglen mills."

"We recognize how important the forestry sector is to dozens of communities across the province, especially in rural and Northern Ontario," said Yakabuski. "That is why we are developing a new forestry strategy to help the industry innovate and create jobs."

Ontario's forest industry is an important driver of the province's economy, generating more than $15 billion in revenues and supporting 150,000 direct and indirect jobs in 260 communities across the province.

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