An 18-month Atlantic Provinces Economic Council (APEC) study examined the current state of forestry in Atlantic Canada, the impact of global market changes on the industry and specific regional challenges facing the sector. A number of key recommendations have been made in the report, which was released on August 19th.
APEC believes its recommendations, when implemented, could improve the competitiveness of the industry.
Among the recommendations are an Atlantic value added wood initiative that would assist smaller firms in moving up the value chain, and the establishment of an Atlantic Forest Industry Task Force under the leadership of the forest industry and provincial governments.
The forest industry in Atlantic Canada is undergoing a period of fundamental change. Many of the factors affecting the forest industry are a result of wider changes in the global economy, such as the appreciation of the Canadian dollar, which has removed the currency-related pricing advantage that (Atlantic) Canadian producers enjoyed over the past 20 years in the U.S., their principal market.
New competitors have also entered the forestry sector in the region, bringing with them production scales and cost structures that Canadian producers can’t match.