Forestry leaders will meet this Friday in Fredericton at a summit called by Premier David Alward. More that 75 forest sector stakeholders will engage in discussion on many of the issues, challenges and opportunities for a main contributor to our economy. Mark Arsenault, President and CEO of the New Brunswick Forest Products Association welcomes this initiative and is eager to participate. Mark said; “Forestry touches all New Brunswickers directly and indirectly. We are the most export-dependent province in Canada. New Brunswick’s forest products industry is more important to our province than car manufacturing is to Ontario. Forestry contributes 5% of our province’s GDP. More than 16,000 families in 40 communities are dependent on forestry jobs”
Jobs created by the forestry sector pay significantly higher wages above the provincial average. 85% of these jobs are in rural areas, contributing to the economic vitality of our smaller communities. They stimulate a $2 Billion sector and generate $175 million in direct taxes. No matter how you look at it, even in the most challenging of economic times, forestry plays a key role on the world stage and will continue to be the main driver of our export economy.
Mr Kevin Jewett, NBFPA, Chairman of the Board said; “We all know that this recession has hit companies in our forest products industry hard. Half of all forest industry manufacturers have closed down or left New Brunswick along with more than 8,000 high-paying jobs. The good news is that our remaining forest products companies are committed to our province and have been working hard to find competitive ways to manufacture quality products for New Brunswickers and international markets.”
The future is bright for forestry. Our companies have improved their operations as they seek efficiencies and better, more cost-effective ways of doing business. We have added more value to our products and diversified. Forestry is the best economic development tool for our rural communities it creates high paying jobs for New Brunswickers. This Forestry Summit should be the opportune time for our government and forestry stakeholders to identify the challenges and cooperatively seek policy changes that will foster growth. We hope our leaders agree with us and this Summit outcomes will include recommends that :
1. Continue to grow our wood supply through investments in silviculture and planting more trees.
2. A commitment to secure an increasing wood supply objective.
3. A balanced scorecard that holds government and industry to account for strong environmental and economic performance.
4. An energy policy that allows New Brunswick to compete by providing a lower energy rate for all.
5. Create an environment that promotes investment in NB.
Background Attachments included: Informational video demonstrating the integrated forestry value chain and the importance to workers and local communities’ economies.
For more information Contact:
President and CEO