QUEEN’S PARK – Ontario’s newly redesigned Forest Sector Investment and Innovation Program will benefit the forestry sector, which is important in both Norfolk and Haldimand Counties.

Barrett’s question about the program, during Question Period at Queen’s Park recently, came on the heels of the recent announcement of its redesign. 

“Can the minister inform this House on how this announcement will benefit the sector and the hard-working men and women who are employed by it right across the province of Ontario,” Barrett asked, noting the industry generates $16 billion annually and supports 155,000 direct and indirect jobs. 

“The Forest Sector Investment and Innovation Program (FSIIP) will emphasize the impact a project can have on a region and Ontario’s forest sector as a whole while considering key outcomes such as jobs, innovation and productivity or product enhancements,” Minister of Natural Resources and Forestry John Yakabuski answered. “This program helps address the economic development challenges of doing business in the province’s rural and northern regions and is part of our government’s plan for building Ontario together.”

Through Barrett’s supplementary question, Yakabuski revealed the ministry will soon launch a draft sector strategic plan and provided more details about FSIIP.

“FSIIP will make it easier for forestry businesses to gain access and apply for funding,” Yakabuski said. “The new program is focused on streamlining the process and will put greater emphasis on the impact a project will have on its given region.”

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For more information, contact MPP Toby Barrett at 519-428-0446 or toby.barrett@pc.ola.org

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ONTARIO LEGISLATIVE ASSEMBLY

Official Hansard

Monday, December 2, 2019

Forest industry

Mr. Toby Barrett: My question is for the Minister of Natural Resources and Forestry. Last week, he was in North Bay to announce the redesigned Forest Sector Investment and Innovation Program. Ontario’s forestry sector generates over $16 billion in annual revenues and supports 155,000 direct and indirect jobs, primarily in rural and northern Ontario. It’s easy to see how much passion the minister has for the sector, and I’m confident that with his hard work, the industry will finally be back on the right track.

Can the minister inform this House on how this announcement will benefit the sector and the hard-working men and women who are employed by it right across the province of Ontario?

Hon. John Yakabuski: I want to thank the great member from Haldimand–Norfolk for that question.

Speaker, as you know, Ontario wood products are globally recognized as coming from forests that are responsibly and sustainably managed. We have a plan to create the right conditions to help the forest industry innovate, attract investment and create jobs for communities all across the province.

The Forest Sector Investment and Innovation Program will emphasize the impact a project can have on a region and Ontario’s forest sector as a whole while considering key outcomes such as jobs, innovation and productivity or product enhancements. This program helps address the economic development challenges of doing business in the province’s rural and northern regions and is part of our government’s plan for building Ontario together.

I’ll have more to say in the supplementary.

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): The supplementary question?

Mr. Toby Barrett: Thank you to the minister for that answer. I’m heartened to see that our government recognizes the benefits of having a strong forestry industry in Ontario, and I’m glad to see how committed the minister is to creating an environment that will help the forestry sector succeed within the province of Ontario. By growing our forestry sector, we can help communities across the province thrive, building a future with a better quality of life and a higher standard of living.

Through you, Speaker: Would the minister please explain how this redesigned program will make it easier for those who work in the forest industry to do business in Ontario?

Hon. John Yakabuski: Thank you to the member for that question. I was pleased to meet with the Minister of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade last week to make that announcement, along with its new name. FSIIP will make it easier for forestry businesses to gain access and apply for funding. The new program is focused on streamlining the process and will put greater emphasis on the impact a project will have on its given region.

I’m looking forward soon to launching a draft forest sector strategy that will help industry innovate, attract new investment, and protect and create jobs, securing a future for the communities and families who depend on the industry.

These initiatives will offer better support for the industry, help us promote a stronger and more dynamic forest sector, and enable us to make Ontario the most attractive place in North America to invest, grow a business and create jobs. We’re open for jobs. We’re open for business.