Minister Gravelle Adds Details on Forestry Tenure

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Michael GravelleTHUNDER BAY – Minister of Northern Development, Mines and Forestry Michael Gravelle had the opportunity to add more information to the announcement on the proposed changes to the forest tenure that his ministry have proposed.

From the Hansard from Queen’s Park:

Thank you Mr. Speaker, my question is to the Minister of Northern Development, Mines and Forestry regarding the recently announced proposed new approach to forest tenure and pricing in our province.

Minister, we are all too familiar with the struggles of rural and northern communities that rely on the resources of our Crown forests and I believe that proposing a new approach to tenure and pricing, will help revitalize the industry.

The current forest tenure system was designed years ago to give primary consuming mills responsibility to manage Ontario’s forests in exchange for long term wood supply. This has made it difficult for new players to enter the market and has left communities vulnerable during economic downturns.

Mr. Speaker, through you to the Minister, could you please tell the house how the proposed approach to tenure and pricing will help revitalize the forest industry?

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the Honorable member for the question.

There is no doubt we face some daunting challenges in the forest industry, but I believe we can revitalize our industry and our communities by restoring prosperity through a new forest economy based on new products, new markets, and new processes.

For these reasons last Friday, my Ministry proposed a preferred framework to modernize Ontario’s tenure and pricing system, which is a critical step for transforming the forest economy and putting Ontario’s wood to work.

The proposed framework seeks to establish a system that is more responsive to market forces by generating greater competition in pricing and allocation of Crown timber.

The proposed changes will give Ontarians a more active role in the management of their Crown forests and provides local and Aboriginal communities more involvement in how those forests are managed, and how the wood is sold.

This bold initiative is an important part of the government’s five-year Open Ontario plan to create jobs and economic opportunities in northern Ontario. I look forward to the prosperous results of increased competition.

Minister, thank you for informing the House about the proposed preferred framework for modernizing   Ontario’s tenure and pricing system.

It is certainly reassuring that there has been movement towards a modernized and improved system for administering our timber resources for long-term prosperity.

This is very important news for all residents in Ontario, as this new framework will create opportunities that would generate the right level of investment to ensure that the Crown forest continues to be renewed and enhanced. Putting wood to work will create additional jobs and economic prosperity for Ontarians.

While I believe this proposed framework is the right direction to go in, I would like further clarity on it.

Mr. Speaker through you to the Minister could you please tell the house how our government is planning to implement this proposed framework and what are the major differences between the old system and the new modernized system?

Thank you Mr. Speaker, I am again pleased to take the question from the Honorable Member.

This bold proposal is the most comprehensive overhaul of the Ontario’s wood allocation system in decades and it fits with our government’s plan to position Ontario’s forestry sector as an innovative, global player in the 21st century.

The implementation of this proposed system would follow a series of consultations with industry and environmental groups, community leaders, forestry stakeholders, forest management workers, Aboriginal communities, organizations, labour, business and the public across Ontario.

Unlike the current system, the modernized and improved framework proposes to:

  • Establish new Local Forest Management Corporations across the province;
  • Introduce more competitive markets to improve the access to Crown lumber; and,
  • Implement a new revenue model that would ensure stability throughout various economic cycles

With input from Ontarians, I believe this new system will help to restore the competitiveness of Ontario’s forest sector, because a strong forest sector fosters a strong economy province-wide.

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