Wood Tenure Reforms Welcomed

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Minister Gravelle
Minister of Northern Development, Mines and Forestry Michael Gravelle

THUNDER BAY – Revisions to the Ministry of Northern Development, Mines and Forestry (MNDMF) proposed tenure reforms, announced earlier today by Minister Gravelle in Thunder Bay, are being met with support from the members of the Ontario Forest Industries Association (OFIA).

“We want to thank Minister Gravelle for carefully considering our concerns regarding tenure and pricing reform.  The proposed path forward is a positive development and provides much needed certainty for operating mills, while creating opportunities for new investment in the sector.  We look forward to working constructively with the Ontario government to implement and evaluate the various tenure systems that will evolve across the province over the next several years” stated Jamie Lim, President and CEO of the OFIA.

“This comprehensive overhaul of Ontario’s wood allocation system would help build a strong forest industry in today’s global economy. It would help create investment opportunities and opportunities for jobs and economic prosperity,” states Minister Michael Gravelle.

Key elements of the revised MNDMF proposal, as outlined by Gravelle, include:

  • Government recognition and support for a move to enhanced Co-operative SFLs over the next 5-7 years as a viable and appropriate tenure reform
  • Government’s commitment to limited implementation of two Local Forest Management Corporations (LFMCs), which will be evaluated against predefined criteria prior to potentially broader application
  • Government’s proposal to maintain wood supply commitments to companies that have consistently utilized their allocated fibre

“We are very pleased with the recognition that enhanced Co-operatives can provide effective, efficient and reliable access to Crown fibre under an inclusive and transparent governance model” says Scott Jackson, Manager of Forest Policy at the OFIA, adding that “OFIA members have witnessed first hand the benefits of the enhanced Co-op model like the recently developed Abitibi-River Forest in Northeastern Ontario.”

Thunder Bay Atikokan MPP Bill Mauro said, “It was important to me that we find an appropriate balance on tenure.  We had to ensure that our long-standing large traditional employers had certainty of supply, while allowing for new markets to be created and new investment to occur.”

“In addition to a measured approach to tenure reform, our members continue to stress the need to permanently protect 26 million cubic metres of industrial wood supply on an annual basis, and the need to complete the Wood Supply Competitive Process in a timely manner – these initiatives are critical to keeping hard working Ontarians employed” added Lim, concluding that “We look forward to discussing tenure and pricing implementation further with government, to ensure business and community interests are addressed. Minister Gravelle should be commended for listening and responding positively to stakeholders.”

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