The Forest Products Association of Canada (FPAC) has said that it appreciates the additional support for innovation and sector transformation in the latest federal budget. The association sees the support as a way to create jobs and solidify Canada’s reputation as a world leader in developing cutting-edge products from wood fibre.
The budget includes an additional $90.4 million over four years for the Investments in Forest Industry Transformation (IFIT) program that has already helped Canadian forest product companies develop world-first innovations, according to FPAC.
“We welcome this renewal of the IFIT program as a way to spur jobs and create economic growth especially in rural Canada.” says the president and CEO of FPAC, David Lindsay. “This is a strategic, future-oriented decision that demonstrates the federal government’s ongoing commitment to the transformation of the forest industry.”
FPAC has unveiled Vision2020, a plan to propel the sector forward in the areas of products, environmental performance and people. The support for innovation will help the industry reach its goal of producing another $20 billion in economic activity in new markets and innovative new products by the end of the decade, the association predicts.
“Our industry Vision calls for not only investment in innovation, but a focus on skilled workers and international trade,” says Lindsay. “This budget reflects those priorities.”
FPAC also welcomed the budget measure that allocates $18 million over four years for early intervention to prevent the spread of spruce budworm in Atlantic Canada and Quebec.
FPAC represents 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.