HALIFAX, NS – September 7, 2018 – Federal, provincial, and territorial Forest Ministers concluded the 2018 meeting of the Canadian Council of Forest Ministers (CCFM) in Halifax today, and announced their commitment to renewing the CCFM’s Vision for Canada’s Forests. Renewing this Vision will ensure that Canada’s forests and forest sector continue to provide diverse environmental and social values while providing good jobs and sustainable economic growth. The Council’s annual meeting provides a venue for federal, provincial, and territorial forest ministers to discuss shared priorities, common challenges, and emerging themes affecting Canada’s forest sector.

Ministers also recognized the hard work and sustained efforts by personnel combatting this summer’s intense forest fires. Ministers reiterated their commitment to collaboratively accelerating implementation of the Canadian Wildland Fire Strategy, which outlines the partnerships and actions required to better prepare for and mitigate wildland fire risks across Canada. Ministers also noted the opportunity to inform the newly-established federal Ad Hoc Cabinet Committee on the 2018 BC Wildfires to help further advance partnerships at the federal level.

Competitiveness, innovation, and trade remain important forest sector priorities, and the Council devoted several sessions to these topics. The Council agreed to further collaboration on implementing the Forest Bioeconomy Framework for Canada and presented updates on how the Framework is promoting economic innovation and environmental goals. Ministers discussed natural resource competitiveness, including the importance of stable and predictable international trade agreements.

At the conclusion of the meeting, Nova Scotia transferred the role of Council Chair to Saskatchewan. The role of Council Chair rotates each year, and next year’s Council meeting will be hosted by Saskatchewan.

The Forum of Canadian Forests took place prior to the CCMF meeting. This year’s meeting focused on increasing diversity in the forest sector, supporting Indigenous partnerships, and enhancing competitiveness and innovation in Canada’s forest economy and bioeconomy.  During the Forum, the Ministers participated in a panel discussion on increasing diversity in the forest industry, which remains a priority across all orders of government. To better understand and address these issues, the Forum met with Indigenous and industry representatives to understand their concerns and discuss potential strategies.

The Forum of Canadian Forests was also an opportunity to discuss the importance of respectful collaboration with Indigenous communities. Participants discussed case studies including examples of successful partnerships to advance innovation and fight wildland fire. These case studies were used as the jumping-off point for a fruitful discussion on lessons learned, best practices, and opportunities for successful collaborations.

The Forum also afforded participants the chance to explore how governments and industry are delivering on the CCFM Forest Bioeconomy Framework by supporting the excellent work of Canadian industry leaders – such as the Canadian Wood Council and the WoodWORKS!/Cecobois offices in each region of the country – to advance and promote timber engineering and the increased use of wood in construction across Canada.

The Canadian Council of Forest Ministers was established in 1985 to provide a forum for federal, provincial and territorial governments to work cooperatively to address issues of common interest. The CCFM provides leadership on national and international issues and sets direction for the stewardship and sustainable management of Canada’s forests.

“I was pleased to welcome my colleagues to Nova Scotia and to have chaired this forum that will ensure our forest sector continues to provide good jobs for Canadians,” said Lands and Forestry Minister Iain Rankin. “Nova Scotia is committed to finding the right balance for the long-term environmental, social and economic interests of our forests and biodiversity resources.”

“We appreciate the opportunity to host the Canadian Council of Forest Ministers in Saskatchewan next year,” said the honourable Dustin Duncan, Saskatchewan Minister of Environment. “The forestry industry plays an important role in our provincial and national economies, and the CCFM provides a valuable forum to share our priorities and challenges, as well as other areas of common interest.”

Due to their respective election periods, New Brunswick and Quebec have not taken a position on the issues discussed during this meeting.