As pointed out by the reporter Jean-Paul Gagné in an article published last Thursday in Les Affaires under the headline of "Le coût excessif du bois fait perdre beaucoup d'emplois et de taxes" (High cost of wood responsible for loss of many jobs, much tax revenue), the high cost of wood in Quebec has caused the provincial government to lose considerable tax revenue. The Quebec Forest Industry Council (QFIC) hails the accuracy of this article, which brings to light several critical issues, and also wishes to emphasize that the supply of wood constitutes a major factor in the competitiveness of an industry that aspires to play a more considerable role in Quebec's economy.
The QFIC is convinced that Quebec's economy stands to benefit from the numerous positive impacts of an innovative forest industry currently undergoing transformation. However, whereas the province's Chief Forester has identified major volumes available for harvesting, mills are suffering a shortage of wood at this time. It is urgent to implement the measures required for improving mill supply conditions, namely by maintaining and indeed increasing the annual allowable cut (i.e., the volume of timber that can be harvested on a sustainable basis). And, if it is not possible to improve supply, then the government of Quebec should facilitate consolidation in the industry so that the remaining outfits can be competitive and attractive for investors.
Furthermore, as was noted by Mr. Gagné, the high cost of fibre in Quebec has prompted several industry players to invest in the United States and Ontario rather than at home. As a result, Quebec has been deprived of major investments, local infrastructures and quality jobs in a sustainable sector that is the main livelihood of numerous communities.
"Demand is growing in North America, but the industry requires a stable, transparent and predictable environment in order to justify the investments that would enable it to more fully profit from this uptick in demand. The forest industry has a considerable potential for development that could generate major economic benefits across Quebec. The government of Quebec can count on our collaboration in efforts to strengthen the forest industry's role of economic driving force. Now, more than ever, is the time to take action," asserted Mr. André Tremblay, CEO of the QFIC.
The forest industry seeks to strengthen its dialogue with the government
Our forests and the forest industry are a part of the solution in efforts to achieve a Quebec that is green, prosperous and competitive in keeping with the principles of sustainable development. We are more than ready and willing to engage in a constructive dialogue with the government," 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.