OFIA’s 76th Annual Meeting Highlights Need for Public Education, Consultation

What does forestry mean for the Ontario Forest Industries Association (OFIA)? For OFIA, forestry is business, people and science. That was the theme of the association’s 76th annual meeting and convention, held Wednesday in Toronto.

In her opening remarks, Jamie Lim, president and CEO of OFIA, touched upon a few key issues for the Ontario forest industry, including sustainability and the Endangered Species Act (ESA) review.

For Lim, sustainability is not just a buzz word. “Our future viability, from both a business and a lifestyle perspective, depends on a healthy forest,” she said. She emphasized the need for continued government support in order to correct public misconceptions about the industry.

Speaking of support from the provincial government, Ontario Minister of Natural Resources and Forestry John Yakabuski addressed the crowd in the morning, encouraging attendees to participate in the ESA review. He said the government’s goal is a positive outcome for species at risk while reducing burden for businesses.

The minister also announced the forest access roads program will receive $54 million in funding this year, reassuring industry members, particularly in northern Ontario, about the government’s commitment to the sector.