$ 50 million requested for the forest industry

daniel-leblond-unifor-eric-rousseauA little less than a year after the holding of the event, the Forest Working Group proposed to the Advisory Committee of the Regional Economic Summit the creation of a development capital fund of $ 50 million to help the diversification forest industry.

The intention is to build on the model favored by Quebec Mauricie intervention to help get through the closure of the Gentilly or the Eastern Townships to diminish the effects of the closure of the Jeffrey mine.

The committee also proposes that the industry make more efforts to structure its sector, which would facilitate the progress of projects of secondary and tertiary processing, and with the help of the creation of a fund ideation capitalized up to $ 1.5 million per year for five years.

The regionalization of the management of the Fund Valorisation Bois and its adaptation to project financing needs from $ 200,000 among the six recommendations proposed by stakeholders.

In an interview, Eric Rousseau, Director of the Forestry Cooperative Ferland-Boilleau and co-chair of the working committee with Daniel Leblond of Unifor mentions that, for ten years, the regional forest industry lost 3,500 jobs in a context of decreasing the demand for newsprint, the revision of the forest regime, the establishment of new forest protected areas, etc. “We see that the industry is struggling to finance itself and to move towards diversification.”

Mr. Rousseau added that during the six working sessions attended by representatives of Alliance Wood, forest industry and Aboriginal, there was a stowage despite different interests. “We see from that forest companies are not very well organized when it comes time to develop an industry,” says Rousseau. “The actors are difficult to mobilize. The consensus is difficult to achieve and the commitment on joint projects is rare. It is not surprising that a strong vision of the sector around common development objectives and exceeding each organization still does not exist, “reads the report.

Therefore, after the establishment of a compensation scheme – which aims to support the value of supply guarantees – the Committee hopes that all industry players will mobilize their strength , strengths and potential to find innovative projects.

The creation of a fund ideation, according to Rousseau, could serve as a mobilizing tool to help industry to turn to products of the future. “If we have a fund, we will talk about a body that will be mandated to finance pilot projects which will be joined entrepreneurs. Often, entrepreneurs full of ideas, but do not have time to work on their development. It is believed that together, entrepreneurs could work to develop new projects. ”

Asked about what will happen to that report, Mr Rousseau precise after analysis by the Advisory Committee recommendations to the Prime Minister’s office, he expects the shares. “It requires good cooperation of all stakeholders and to have a strong signal from our MRC. The MRC must be involved in such projects with the presence of companies. ”

Mr. Rousseau is expected that announcements are made next fall. “I have made a firm commitment to make it happen. It must lead to something, and for that, it takes money, “he concludes.

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