In recognition of the annual International Day of Forests, Mar. 21, the Honourable Greg Rickford, Canada's Minister of Natural Resources issued a statement describing the current state of Canada’s forest industry.
Minister Rickford noted that in 2013, the value of Canadian forest products exports totaled $28.4 billion, supporting 600,000 jobs in regions all across the country.
“We are now capitalizing on the tremendous trade opportunities emerging in the Asia-Pacific area. In fact, growing shipments of wood products to China and Japan, combined with rebounding shipments to the U.S.A., increased total Canadian softwood lumber exports by $1.7 billion in 2013 —an increase of 30% compared to 2012.”
He continues: “From an innovation perspective, Canadian forestry companies are now leading the world in demonstrating the viability of advanced new technologies aimed at improving efficiencies, reducing environmental impacts and creating higher-value products from Canada’s enviable forest resources.”
The Minister also encouraged young people to join the industry. “The growth and expansion in Canada’s wood products sector means that the industry is now focused on finding enough skilled millwrights, engineers, pipe fitters, truck drivers, heavy equipment operators, technologists and more. This represents a tremendous opportunity for young Canadians — particularly for Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal youth in rural communities — to obtain work in high-paying jobs in an industry globally recognized as innovative and responsible.”
Minister Rickford replaced Joe Oliver as the federal minister of natural resources earlier this month.