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2010/89 (b)

Backgrounder

Federal Assistance for Canada’s Forest Sector and Communities


The Government of Canada recognizes that a prosperous forest sector brings many benefits to Canadians. Through the Government of Canada’s Economic Action Plan (EAP), we are delivering unprecedented support to forest workers and forest-dependent communities while securing a sustainable forest sector for the future.

Canada’s forest sector is undergoing an important restructuring due to a number of competitive challenges. However, new technologies and new markets offer a promising future for Canada’s forest sector.

Over the last two years, Canada’s Economic Action Plan has been delivering numerous measures to address the challenges facing our forest sector and the workers and communities that depend on it. This year, the Government is delivering:

  • $100 million, over four years, in the Investments in Forest Industry Transformation program to support the development, commercialization and implementation of advanced technologies in the forest sector;
  • Key measures that encourage additional investments in renewable energy projects, including the expansion of the Accelerated Capital Cost Allowance for clean energy machinery and equipment; the elimination of tariffs on imports of machinery and equipment; and the continuation of the Business Credit; Availability Program to extend access to financing so businesses can preserve jobs and find growth opportunities while the economy recovers;
  • $38 million, over two years, for Canada’s Invasive Alien Species Strategy to reduce the risk of introduction of invasive animal and plant species into Canada; and,
  • An extension of existing or terminated work-sharing agreements by 26 weeks, to a maximum of 78 weeks.

Many of these measures build on the success of initiatives introduced under the first year of the EAP, including:

  • $1 billion, over two years, for a Community Adjustment Fund to help mitigate the short-term impacts of restructuring in resource-dependent communities;
  • $170 million, over two years, for Forest Sector Innovation and Expanding Markets Initiative, including:
    • $120 million to support the development of breakthrough technologies and develop pilot-scale demonstration projects for use in commercial applications; and,
    • $50 million to expand domestic and international markets for Canadian forest products and to support large-scale demonstrations of the use of Canadian wood in construction domestically and internationally.
  • An extension to 2011 of the Accelerated Capital Cost Allowance (ACCA) to provide an incentive for companies to make new investments in machinery and equipment;
  • Enhanced the capacity of Export Development Canada (EDC) and the Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC) to improve access to credit on commercial terms. Included $5 billion in new financing to be delivered under the new Business Credit Availability Program;
    • In 2009, EDC provided $16 billion in commercial solutions to Canada’s forest sector including 538 forest companies.
    • Between April 1, 2009 and March 31, 2010, the BDC provided $179 million in commercial solutions to Canada’s forest sector.
  • Implementation of the Canada Skills and Transition Strategy, through which the Government helped workers directly affected by the economic downturn with:
    • Enhancements under Canada’s Economic Action Plan, to the Employment Insurance (EI) program, including five extra weeks of EI regular benefits nationally and an increase in the maximum duration of benefits from 45 to 50 weeks in regions of high unemployment;
    • Extended EI income support for long-tenured workers who are participating in longer-term training through the Career Transition Assistance Initiative. In addition, earlier access was provided to EI regular benefits for long-tenured workers who use some or all of their severance package to invest in skills upgrading or training;
    • An additional $1 billion over two years for provinces and territories to deliver skills training support for EI-eligible workers hit hardest by the economic downturn;
    • $500 million, over two years, in a new Strategic Training and Transition Fund to support workers facing training and adjustment needs, whether or not they qualify for EI;
    • Increased funding under Canada’s Economic Action Plan for the Targeted Initiative for Older Workers of $60 million over three years to help more older workers get the specialized support they need while they transition to new jobs and to expand the scope of the initiative to help up to 250 more communities across Canada; and
    • The extension of Work-Sharing agreements for a full 52 weeks and increased access to Work-Sharing through greater flexibility in the qualifying criteria. Furthermore, Budget 2010 made available an additional 26 weeks to employers with active or recently terminated agreements.

In addition to actions taken through the Economic Action Plan, the Government is temporarily providing additional EI regular benefits to unemployed long-tenured workers. Long-tenured workers are individuals who have worked and paid EI premiums for a significant period of time and have previously made limited use of EI regular benefits. The legislation provides from five to 20 weeks of additional benefits (in addition to the extra five weeks), depending on how long an eligible individual has been working and paying into the EI program.

EI beneficiaries whose claim is established between January 4, 2009, and September 11, 2010, and who meet the eligibility criteria for this measure have their benefit entitlement automatically adjusted. Approximately 190,000 Canadians will receive this extra support.


Richard Walker
Director of Communications
Office of the Minister
Natural Resources Canada
Ottawa
613-996-2007

Media Relations
Natural Resources Canada
Ottawa
613-992-4447

NRCan's news releases and backgrounders are available at www.nrcan.gc.ca/media/index-eng.php.