You are here

Softwood Lumber Campaign

softwood-banner

Forestry is a true champion in Canada’s economy. As a high value-added sector based on a renewable resource, forestry is one of our top-performing industries and a global leader.

Following expiration of the Canada-U.S. Softwood Lumber Agreement, recent efforts to impose new tariffs on exports to the U.S. would have a dramatic impact across Canada’s highly-integrated forestry sector, including placing tens of thousands of jobs at risk. 
 

Municipal Resolution

Submit this motion of support for Canada's softwood lumber communities to your municipal government. Download the motion (pdf)

Forestry strengthens our economy

  • Canada’s forestry sector produces $60 billion worth of products a year including lumber, paper, advanced building materials, and increasingly new products such as energy, fuel, pharmaceuticals, chemicals and advanced cellulose fibres. 
  • More than half of our forestry production is exported, it is Canada’s 3rd most valuable export sector and accounts for fully 10% of the country’s total exports.
  • With the world’s largest forest products trade balance, no nation gets more   benefit from forestry trade than Canada. Forestry’s $24 billion positive trade balance represents a quarter of Canada’s total trade surplus.  
  • As a leading innovator, forestry is also one of the nation’s top sources of private investment spending of $5.3 billion on new equipment and repair in 2015. $240 million more was spent on research and development activities, employing more than 1,000 scientists and research personnel.
  • The industry’s direct payroll injects $11.7 billion per year into the wider economy. Of that, forestry workers pay more than $4 billion per year in income, payroll, sales and property taxes which support our vital public services like health care and education. 

An essential source of good jobs 

  • Canada’s forestry sector directly employs 202,000 people, in every region of the country. 
  • Forestry supply and transport companies create thousands more jobs; and the economic activity generated by the spending of forestry workers creates even more. For every forestry job, 1.5 jobs are created elsewhere in the economy. In total, forestry is responsible for more than half a million Canadian jobs.
  • Forestry is a champion job-creator among Canada’s most valuable export industries. Forestry creates 60% more direct jobs than auto; double the jobs of the oil and gas sector; three times more than mining; three-and half times more than primary metals; and four times more than aerospace.   
  • In many communities forestry jobs are the heart of the economy. More than 650 communities are reliant on the sector, and more than 300 are highly-dependent with forestry accounting for more than half the total household income. 
  • The sector is also an important source of employment for aboriginal and indigenous workers, with 9,500 forestry jobs in indigenous communities.
  • These are good community- and family-sustaining jobs with average weekly wages of $1,112 last year, 17% above the national average. 
  • The industry in the midst of a generational change and expects to fill 60,000 jobs by the end of the decade; which, if uninterrupted, will provide essential opportunities for young workers and young families.

A green and renewable resource

  • Canada has the 3rd largest forest area in the world, which plays a major role in combating climate change by storing carbon dioxide and reducing greenhouse gases, and are key to a green future. Our forests remove one quarter of our fossil fuel emissions, and the industry has cut its own carbon emissions by 44% since 2000.  
  • Less than half of one percent (0.3%) of Canada’s forests are harvested annually. The industry operates to the highest environmental standards in the world, and we have the world’s most third-party independently certified forests.
  • Further environmental benefits are ahead as innovative new technologies allow expanded use of wood in commercial, mid- and high-rise buildings, replacing carbon-intensive concrete and steel. 

Impact of a new softwood lumber dispute

  • Canada’s forestry sector is highly integrated, operating in three broad inter-connected segments: in-forest activity, wood products, and pulp and paper. Many firms operate across all three segments, and the broader forestry sector depends on the successful operation of each segment to sustain the others.  
  • A sudden disruption to lumber production would result in a dramatic decline in the ability of sawmills to send by-product to the pulp and paper sector, and dramatically curtail all logging and in-forest activities. All three segments operate together, and a disruption to lumber production would have immediate and far-reaching ripple effects. 
  • Canada exports $6 billion worth of softwood per year to the United States. Whether new tariffs will be put onto Canadian exports to the U.S., the scope of their application and amount of tariff remain unknown. However, as the destination of 70% of our softwood exports, a sudden and major price increase will result in dramatically reduced Canadian production and mill closures. Past experiences demonstrate how quickly the impact would be felt. In the early 2000s, for example, the U.S. imposed a combined duty of 27% and within months 15,000 workers were laid off. 
  • The tariffs under consideration by the U.S. just in the immediate phase of any dispute range above 25%, which means that tens of thousands of Canadian jobs are at stake.