The Forest Products Association of Canada (FPAC) has shared with the federal government its recommendations to enhance Canadian competitiveness, accelerate innovation, and ensure future forests remain healthy in its 2019 pre-budget submission to the House of Commons Standing Committee on Finance.
To support family-supporting jobs in rural and northern Canada, and to ensure a vibrant Canadian forest products sector for tomorrow, the FPAC is calling on the federal government to support key investments in research and development and the commercialization of new technologies, continue with its aggressive trade diversification agenda, and to consider reforms to secure a healthy forest for future generations.
The FPAC is calling on the federal government to:
- build on the momentum of successful innovation programs and initiatives like those through FPInnovations and the Investment in Forest Industry Transformation (IFIT) Fund;
- continue its aggressive promotion of the use of Canadian wood, pulp, and paper, and emerging bio-products through long-term programs such as Expanded Market Opportunities (EMO) Fund;
- support the further engagement of our indigenous partners in forestry operations through programs such as the Indigenous Forestry Initiative;
- establish an industry-government working group on regulatory competitiveness to address cumulative regulatory burden facing Canada's forest sector in the face of increasing competition from markets like Brazil, Russia, Scandinavia, and the United States;
- alleviate infrastructure bottlenecks and address increasingly frequent transportation service interruptions through the implementation of the Transportation Modernization Act;
- address the overall tax burden, including investment depreciation treatments;
- ensure that during the renegotiation of NAFTA, that enhanced trade facilitation and trade remedies are key objectives;
- ratify the Comprehensive and Progressive Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement, ensuring further access to the Asian market for the industry;
- guarantee greater market access for the Canadian forest products, through the broad network of Canada's trade offices and promoting “Brand Canada” around the world; and
- in the face of growing fires, pests, and other disturbances, to support a detailed vision and action plan that will help us secure healthy forests for future generations.
Currently, while enjoying strong world markets in most product areas, the competitiveness of Canada's forest products sector against its global competitors is being challenged because of trade disputes, lack of reliable transportation infrastructure, and policy and regulatory uncertainty related to carbon and forest operations.
Maintaining our industry's strong Canadian brand in the world is essential in order to maximize sector contributions to economic growth for Canadian workers, businesses, and communities.
“We have a working forest in Canada—one that provides real economic, environmental, and social benefits to our Canadians,” said FPAC CEO Derek Nighbor.
“Our 2019 budget recommendations are rooted in supporting our sector and its workers so we can achieve our shared goals of advancing innovation, enabling business expansion, and supporting win-wins for our environment and the economy,” he added.