Can Forestry Be Ontario's Greatest Opportunity?
In a sector older than Canada, OFIA’s member companies have been growing local communities for over 150 years. The Ontario Chamber of Commerce 2016 Economic Update recognized that foundational sectors like forestry would provide the main support for economic growth in the North and reported “a strengthening U.S. economy and a rebound in housing markets bode well...Ontario forest products producers have boosted exports in response to rising demand south of the border with overall forest products shipments climbing 12 percent in the first nine months of 2015 compared to the same period last year.” But the report also cautioned that “to capitalize on increasing demand, forestry products firms, along with the provincial government, must continue to address the competitiveness challenges.”
While our sector’s recovery is real and “forestry students have a 100% employment rate, higher than that of computer science, math and physical science specialists” (Globe and Mail, Sept 2014), the future growth of the forestry community relies on government supporting workable public policy that philosophically supports and understands that you can grow an economy and practice sustainability at the same time.
For generations, OFIA's members have been growing local economies by harvesting and growing trees. The forestry community has been putting Ontario's wood to work responsibly.
Value of the forestry sector (total revenue and exports, respectively) - $18.0 billion (2018) and $6.5 billion (2019)
pulp and paper - $8.3 billion (2015)
sawmill, engineered wood and other wood product - $4 billion (2015)
furniture/kitchen cabinet manufacturing - $1.8 billion (2015)
Industry employees: 48, 900 (2019); approximately 172,000 direct and indirect jobs (2017)
Forest product exports: >$6 billion (2015)
Crown charge payments by the forest industry (2016): $97.7 million (includes $64.6 million in forestry trust fund payments)
Forest Resource or Sustainable Forest Licences issued to harvest forest resources for the 2014-15 fiscal year: 3,588