The forest industry is one of Canada's largest industrial employers, supporting about a million direct and indirect jobs nationwide and over 200,000 direct and indirect jobs in Ontario.
On average, our employees wage, salary and benefit package is well above the Canadian average per year. These are skilled individuals, many of whom use highly sophisticated technology. For example, complex computer modeling and global positioning systems are staples in modern forestry. Today's pulp and paper mills make use of EDI, robotics and lasers and are, in fact, some of the most highly automated, fully computerized environments in manufacturing.
But there are many reasons to consider a career in forest products.
• We offer a wide range of opportunities—whether you're interested in becoming a forester, a wildlife biologist, an environmental engineer or a mill manager. Check out our career profiles for a look at some of the people who work in the industry.
• We're geographically dispersed, with much of the industry located in small to medium-sized communities. Although some companies do have offices or mills in large urban centers, most are located close to the forest resource. People attracted to the industry are often those who want to raise their families in a smaller town setting, surrounded—literally—by opportunities to camp, fish, ski, hike, snowmobile, etc.
• Our employees have a lot to be proud of:
We understand that our future success is dependent on the health of the forest resource and have made tremendous achievements in sustainable forest management. Thanks to the dedication of researchers, foresters and others, Ontario's forest practices are among the world's best.
We're committed to pollution prevention and to making the best possible use of the forest resource. Whole logs are used to make lumber, while wood chips (left over from lumber-making) become the raw material for pulp and particleboard. Hog fuel (which contains bark and other wood waste) is burned for energy. Biosolids (which include wood fibres, the organic byproducts of effluent treatment and mineral matter such as clay and lime) are used as soil conditioners on agricultural lands—but only where they meet strict environmental standards. And we're strong supporters of recycling. Between 1980 and 1998, Ontario's consumption of waste paper increased 260%—to more than 2 million tonnes a year.
We're major contributors to the economy. The forest products sector remains one of Canada's largest exporters, which means that we have a huge impact on the country's balance of trade and standard of living. For every dollar generated by the industry, approximately 16 cents is paid to government.
In short, the forest industry is helping to meet the economic, environmental and social needs of Canadians without jeopardizing the ability of future generations to do the same thing.
If you'd like to know more, this website has links to OFIA member companies, governments, other associations and universities.