November 28, 2014 - Press release

Forest sector actors mobilize

The Forest Sector Mobilizes, Urges Action

Québec City, November 28, 2014 – During the last several weeks, Québec has been witness to numerous demonstrations aimed at drawing the attention of elected representatives to the precarious situations currently experienced in certain forest regions. The Quebec Forest Industry Council (QFIC) is preoccupied by the closing of lumber and pulp and paper mills resulting, in particular, from a shortage of wood at competitive prices at a time when the resource is plentiful and forest ecosystems are in excellent health.

As Mr. André Tremblay, QFIC’s Chief Executive Office, noted, “The Council is concerned by the shutdowns occurring at several mills. These stoppages have an impact on thousands of works and the economy of regions. We stand shoulder to shoulder with the many mobilizations taking place regionally, and we hail the initiatives of associations of merchants, unions, forest workers groups, loggers and municipal representatives, who are all aware of the urgent need to implement permanent measures to improve the competitive environment of Quebec companies.”

The QFIC has been informed that Mr. Laurent Lessard, Quebec’s Mister of Forests, Wildlife and Parks, in awareness of these concerns, has mobilized the energies of his ministry in order to make available for harvesting purposes volumes of wood that were unharvested during the 2008-2013 period. “The QFIC can but congratulate the Minister for taking the forest sector’s concerns to heart through his efforts to spur his ministry to speed up the identification of areas available for harvesting – all in keeping with the principles of sustainable forest management,” declared Mr. André Tremblay, QFIC’s CEO.

“That being said, the Minister’s determination to offer mills additional volumes of wood, however beneficial the short term impacts, will not settle the problems associated with the workings of the new forest regime, where it is also urgent to take action,” continued Mr. Tremblay. Indeed, several aspects of Quebec’s new forest regime require improvements. Such is the case, in particular, of the operational planning of harvesting activities and certain operational procedures of the Bureau de mise en marché des bois (Quebec wood marketing board), which detract from the competitiveness of companies.

“Quebec continues, today, to be the place in North American where the cost of wood is highest. It is urgent that the Government of Quebec adopt permanent, structuring measures that will foster a more competitive environment for Quebec companies,” added Mr. André Tremblay.

“Such measures are vital for the economy of Quebec and its forest regions, since for every m3 of wood harvested and processed in Quebec, the provincial government garners $60 in royalties and taxes. During these times of tight government budgets, shouldn’t we be promoting solutions liable to create wealth for Quebec’s citizens?” emphasized Mr. Tremblay.

“The CIFQ offers Minister Lessard and the provincial government its collaboration for developing the necessary consensus over conditions serving to permanently improve the competitive environment of Quebec forest companies and thereby enable them to step up their business activities, consolidate and create new jobs, and generate revenue for the government – in full respect of our forests,” concluded Mr. Tremblay.

About the QFIC
The QFIC is the voice of Québec's forest industry. The QFIC numbers more than 160 regular members operating in the softwood and hardwood lumber, veneer, pulp, paper, cardboard and panel sectors of Quebec, as well as 180 associate members. Each year, these companies generate $15.9 billion in business and close to $4 billion in wages and benefits, of which nearly $1.5 billion is returned to governments in the form of taxes paid by companies and workers.

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