Sustainable Growth: Ontario’s Forest Sector Strategy
A Strategy for Ontario’s Forest Sector
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For centuries now, residents of Ontario have used wood for building homes, furniture, making paper and packaging, and as an energy source. This reliance on forests has been critical for Indigenous communities who hold a significant connection to the land, some of whom derive their livelihoods, values and medicines from these forests. In modern times, we have been using wood and its components in products like toothpaste, food thickeners, toiletries, diapers, sterilized medical and food packaging, adhesives, car parts, cosmetics, chemicals, advanced construction materials and even clothing.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, the forest sector was recognized as essential in order to produce and deliver products that are needed – from building materials to hygiene, food and medical supplies, as well as packaging and shipping products and paper towels, sanitary needs and toilet paper. It has also provided raw materials needed for manufacturing personal protective equipment such as masks, gowns, filters, and bio-active packaging.
Globally and locally, we are seeing a definite movement in consumer preference towards using renewable, more environmentally conscious and sustainably sourced products. Wood is now seen as a viable replacement for single-use plastics. Ontario’s forest sector has been providing such products for generations, and the opportunities are growing.
Yet since 2000, Ontario’s forest sector has struggled with the loss of more than 35,000 jobs and real employment income has declined by $1.9 billion over that same period. The current volume of timber harvested is less than 60% of what it was in 2000. That’s why in the 2018 Ontario Economic Outlook and Fiscal Review, the government committed to developing a forest sector strategy that will encourage economic growth and send a strong signal that Ontario is open for business. The goal of the strategy is to sustainably grow the forest sector so that it will create opportunity and prosperity for thousands of Ontario families, while also encouraging innovation and investment in the industry.
This strategy is part of the government’s plan to create jobs, reduce administrative burden, and promote economic growth and prosperity across the province, while ensuring responsible stewardship of our natural resources for future generations. The strategy also works in conjunction with several other strategies of the government including the Made-In-Ontario Environment Plan and Ontario’s Housing Supply Action Plan to help Ontario achieve its objectives to responsibly grow the forest sector while creating opportunity and prosperity for the many people who depend on it.
Together, the Ontario government and the forest industry, along with partners in the research and education sector, Indigenous communities and other levels of government, will create a business climate that fosters growth, promotes innovation, and helps the industry adapt to an ever-changing business climate.
Citation: Government of Ontario. (2020). Sustainable Growth: Ontario’s Forest Sector Strategy