Coalition for Putting Ontario’s Wood
Back to Work
July 6, 2010
Government Experimenting with 60,000 Forestry Jobs
Big, Small, Traditional, New All Agree that Tenure Proposal is Unnecessary
A coalition of northern and rural businesses, municipal leaders, unions and citizens is voicing their overwhelming support for Minister Gravelle’s two forest sector initiatives – the Provincial Wood Supply Competitive Process, which makes available approximately 30% of the province’s industrial fibre supply to existing facilities and new entrants, and the move to Co-operative Sustainable Forest Licences (SFLs).
Over the past two weeks, approximately
“We see both of these initiatives as very progressive” says
At the same time, the numerous Chambers of Commerce, northern and rural municipalities, public citizens and unions representing thousands more hard working Ontarians who signed on to the Open Letter, are also clear in their message that the most recent MNDMF tenure proposal is unnecessary and goes too far.
“From a city perspective, we know we need jobs, and we know the importance of the forest industry,” said Tom Laughren, Mayor of the City of
Jeff Muzzi, Manager of Forestry for the
This sentiment was echoed in a recent Joint Statement by the Timmins Economic Development Corporation, The Corporation of the City of Timmins and the Timmins Chamber of Commerce requesting that the government defer any further action on the modernization of Ontario’s forest tenure and pricing for at least three years while the Provincial Wood Supply Competitive Process and the move to Co-operative/Shareholder SFLs are completed.
John Kapel of Littlejohn Enterprises, a family run company that has been operating in
One of the key concerns with the MNDMF proposed model is that it will arbitrarily remove any existing fibre supply commitments or agreements held by forest companies – commitments that have given companies the security and certainty needed to invest in their mills. Instead, the government is proposing to hand over decision making authority to Crown Corporations or Agencies run by well intended individuals who are appointed by government, but have no experience or understanding of the forest sector and no vested interest.
“The MNDMF proposal threatens to undermine the progress of our family run business by destabilizing the foundation upon which our company has been built. We’re not afraid of change - if we were we would not be in the forest sector. Our family run operation has had to be flexible and embrace change on a daily basis, however, the change being proposed by the government’s new tenure model goes too far” says
The Northwestern Ontario Associated Chambers of Commerce and the Thunder Bay Chamber of Commerce, who represent over 2,000 and 1,070 members respectively, share these concerns and both organizations signed the Open Letter.
“The bottom line is that if you cannot get a guaranteed fibre supply, long-term, from the government, how can you get financing?” asks Harold Wilson, President of the Thunder Bay Chamber of Commerce. “
The coalition’s position is that the proposed MNDMF model will result in increased costs and reduced efficiencies, a reduction in wood supply both at the provincial and local level, and increased uncertainty for
“We urge the government to defer action on their proposed tenure reform” concluded Lim. “Instead, MNDMF should finish their Wood Supply Competitive Process, and continue to move to Co-operative SFL’s. Both of these progressive government initiatives will help put wood back to work in
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For further information, media representatives may contact:
Jamie Lim, President & CEO - OFIA Phone: 416-368-6188
Tom Laughren, Mayor of
John Kapel, Littlejohn Enterprises Phone: 705-268-2888
Harold Wilson, President,
Scott Jackson, Manager,