National Forest WeekPublished on September 21, 2020
As we mark the 100th Anniversary of National Forest Week, it’s a time to celebrate Ontario’s forestry sector’s rich history and heritage. We also recognize the important role the sector has played in building this great province that we call home. Our renewable forests provide social, environmental and economic benefits to Ontarians, generating over $18 billion in revenue and supporting 147,000 direct and indirect jobs across the province.
We saw throughout COVID-19 how important the forestry sector and the products they help produce are to the lives of all Ontarians. Ontario was one of the first jurisdictions to declare forestry as essential, ensuring that we continue to have materials for much needed supplies from food and medical packaging to personal protective equipment, like surgical masks, gowns and hygiene products.
Last month, the government released the Sustainable Growth: Ontario’s Forest Sector Strategy, this government’s plan to help forest sector through the economic recovery ahead, especially in northern and rural Ontario. The plan will create more good-paying jobs and encourage economic growth while ensuring the province’s forests stay healthy and productive for generations to come.
Ontario is a world leader in sustainable forest management. We know that for the forest sector to remain strong and vibrant in the long term, we need to ensure that our Crown forests remain healthy, diverse, and productive. That is why the fundamental pillar of the strategy is promoting stewardship and sustainability. This new 10-year forestry strategy is deeply rooted in Ontario’s sustainable forest policy framework. Ontario’s forest sector plants approximately 73 million trees annually and drops an additional 365 million seeds aerially on harvested Crown lands to help regenerate our forests.
We should all recognize the industry’s important role in meeting a growing consumer preference for renewable and more environmentally friendly products, which can help mitigate climate change by reducing our reliance on materials like single-use plastics. Wood and its components are critical to our everyday lives for use in products like toothpaste, food thickeners, toiletries, diapers, sterilized medical and food packaging, adhesives, car parts, cosmetics, chemicals, advanced construction materials and even clothing.
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