Ontario Standing Up for Forestry Sector and Northern Communities
Province Introducing New Measures to Protect Good Jobs
Premier Kathleen Wynne is standing with Ontario's forest products workers and the communities that rely on this important sector. The Premier, along with Minister of Natural Resources and Forestry Kathryn McGarry, is taking action to support communities in light of the uncertainty created by the latest unfair actions in the softwood lumber dispute between the U.S. and Canada.
To support workers during this period, Ontario is increasing this year's funding for the construction and maintenance of forest access roads by $20 million.
The tariffs announced Tuesday unfairly target Ontario's forest industry, putting it, and the workers and communities who rely on the sector, at risk. Ontario stands firmly with its forest products workers and will continue to work hard in advocating for their interests.
In addition to the funding announced today, the province has named Jim Peterson as Ontario's chief negotiator to represent the province's interests in the ongoing softwood lumber dispute. Mr. Peterson will play a key role in ongoing discussions with the U.S., the Government of Canadaand other provincial governments.
Ontario is also calling on the federal government to establish a loan guarantee program as well as community and individual supports for people who depend on Canadian companies that are being negatively impacted by the U.S.-Canada softwood lumber dispute. The province believes that this is a national issue that requires a national solution.
The provincial government will continue to work with the federal government and the forestry sector to protect this important part of Ontario's economy and minimize the impact of these export duties. The Premier and Minister of Natural Resources and Forestry will continue to meet with workers and businesses, and will ensure their concerns are brought to the federal government.
Protecting forestry jobs in Ontario is part of the government's plan to grow our economy and help people in their everyday lives.
- On April 24, the U.S. Department of Commerce announced the introduction of up to 24 per cent countervailing duties on imports of softwood lumber from Canada.
- Ontario’s forestry sector contributes $15.5 billion to the province’s economy and supports an estimated 172,000 direct and indirect jobs in 260 communities across the province.
- The U.S. National Association of Home Builders estimated a US$1,300 increase in the cost of a single-family home in the U.S. based on anticipated duties on Canadian softwood lumber.
- Currently, the U.S. can only support about two-thirds of its demand for lumber. Much of the remaining one-third is from Canada.
- Since 1996, the Forestry Futures Trust has invested more than $200 million in projects to sustain Ontario’s forests.
- Jim Peterson, a lawyer and former federal Minister of International Trade, was part of the negotiations on the previous Softwood IV lumber agreement.
“Fair and open trade benefits people and business on both sides of the Canada-U.S. border. In light of the unfair and unreasonable duties being imposed by the U.S. on our softwood lumber industry, our government is taking action. We will not allow this U.S. decision to threaten the livelihoods of people in Ontario. Our government is committed to protecting jobs in this important sector and the communities that forestry supports.”
“Ontario is standing alongside our forest sector to protect the well-paying jobs and important economic benefits that this sector provides for communities and families across Ontario. Our government listened to the sector’s concerns, and through this funding we will help support this important part of Ontario’s economy in the face of these unreasonable duties. We cannot let the unpredictability of our southern neighbour affect the jobs and well-being of people here in Ontario.”