A long-anticipated forestry plan for New Brunswick, followed the next day by an announcement by JD Irving of a $513 million investment, should be an example to industry and governments across Canada, Unifor National President Jerry Dias says.
"We are very happy to see this new plan," said Dias, who attended the Irving announcement. "This is a perfect example of government, companies and organized labour working together for the betterment of our economy."
The provincial plan is a much-needed step before any potential industry investment can take place, said Rino Ouellet, Atlantic area director for Unifor.
"It is important that we see investment and commitment to our forestry industry," said Ouellet. "Companies were unable to make those investments without knowing what their resource forecasts would look like, but with this plan, we expect those investments to happen."
Unifor, which has lobbied the province for years for a stable forestry plan, represents more 2,550 workers in the forestry sector in New Brunswick and more than 25,000 across Canada.
The forestry sector has changed dramatically in the last decade due to shifting global demand, and was among the hardest hit in manufacturing during the recent recession, with a nearly 50 per cent loss in jobs in the Atlantic region.
The plan promises more Crown land and greater protection for wildlife zones – merging the interests of industry, Aboriginal communities and environmental groups.