The Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry has released a draft strategy for the forest sector in the province.

The draft was released last Wednesday. The MNRF says that they aim to protect existing jobs and create new ones while helping the industry innovate and attract new investments. All this they plan to do while ensuring forests are managed sustainably for future generations.

The MNRF says that Ontario wood products are known worldwide as responsibly and sustainably managed. As a result, they say that Ontario can use that customer preference for renewable and environmentally conscious forest products. They also plan to work with the Canadian Council of Forest Ministers, Forests Ontario, Indigenous groups and other third party organizations to make sure forests remain sustainable and that information reaches consumers.

In addition, the plan wishes to invest in technology like light detection and ranging to produce high-resolution aerial imagery of forests. The ministry says not only will this help with forest management but will also ensure that Ontario’s ecosystems are healthy and diverse.

The MNRF also will push to reduce red tape and regulatory burden by streamlining the process for permits and approvals, while modernizing the forest management planning process and the approach to independent forest audits. The plan also wishes to promote innovation by partnering with universities and colleges. They also hope to increase wood usage through house building and reaching new markets while addressing trade barriers.

The MNRF says that the next step is to consult with Indigenous partners and municipal leaders.

Written by Trevor Smith-Millar