Canada Grows On Trees – Celebrating Canada’s 150th

Richard Walker, Forest Products Association of Canada
May 01, 2017
By Richard Walker, Forest Products Association of Canada
May 1, 2017 - Canada grows on trees. As Canadians across the country gear up to celebrate the nation’s sesquicentennial on July 1st, the forest products industry is celebrating our storied past and bright future.

Since before Confederation, the forest sector has played a vital role in Canada’s history and is leading the way towards a prosperous future. Our industry has provided jobs to sustain our economy and has helped define Canadian culture. For example, did you know that in 1875, at the first organized indoor hockey game, not only were the sticks made of wood but they ditched the traditional ball and used a “flat round piece of wood” — the first iteration of the puck we know today?

Forestry was already in full bloom when our nation was just a seed. It fuelled the economy and provided the materials that our new homeland was built on. By transforming the physical terrain to get products to market, villages, roads and railways sprang up in its wake.

To this day, the forest products industry remains a vital part of the Canadian economy, providing direct jobs for 230,000 Canadians coast to coast and a million indirect jobs while operating in more than 200 communities, primarily in rural or northern parts of the country.

Our industry is recognized by the federal government and customers from around the world as an environmental leader for how sustainably we manage our forests. Canada has 166 million hectares of sustainably managed, third-party certified forests, representing 40 per cent of the world’s certified forests.

We are embracing new technologies to expand our markets and are developing innovative world-first products and many mills are now powering themselves through biomass.

New uses of wood are being discovered everyday — from cellulose being used in cosmetics, to lignin acting as a substrate for 3D printers, to rayon fabrics made from dissolving pulp that have a smaller environmental footprint than synthetics like polyester.

Canada’s forest products industry is clean, green and growing. We’ll be here for the next 150 years as Canada’s renewable industry provides jobs, products and prosperity for Canadian families.

Richard Walker is senior director, communications and public affairs, Forest Products Association of Canada

This column was originally published in the Spring 2017 issue of Pulp & Paper Canada.

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