Quebec’s Minister of Natural Resources, Claude Béchard, was in Saint-Augustin-de-Desmaures, a central Quebec city located on the St. Lawrence River, yesterday to announce measures part of the provincial budget aimed at helping the forestry industry’s future.
A $22-million program will help finance the planting of 35 million trees this year. Of that, $17 million will go towards planting trees in public forests, while the remaining $5 million will go towards private forests.
According to the ministry, an additional $26 million will be spent on preparing seedlings to be planted in 2010. Over the next two years, $2 million will go towards upgrading forestry roads in controlled hunting and fishing zones. The province will also invest $15 million in the development of value-added forestry products over the next two years, $10 million of which will be invested in 2009-2010. An additional $1 million will go towards a program for private forest owners to help them certify their products.
Béchard also noted the provincial government’s Société générale de financement du Québec and the Quebec Federation of Labour Solidarity Fund are co-sponsoring a $500-million emergency financing fund available to the forestry sector. Additionally, under the Quebec employment pact, the forestry industry also has access to $518 million – funded by both the Quebec and federal governments – to protect jobs, Béchard said.