The Toronto-based organization couldn’t be more off base.
While the OFIA has plenty of good ideas, and is certainly looking out for its members, by coming out against forest tenure reform the organization is effectively saying it’s OK to stomp all over the little guy.
Lakehead forestry professor Mathew Leitch says while it’s important to revitalize the traditional forestry industries, ignoring smaller companies, including value-added firms, is not a good thing. Nor does he think the smaller companies should have to shoulder huge forest management costs.
The little companies may not bring hundreds of jobs with them, but unlike traditional mills that have been shuttered in the wake of a rising Canadian dollar, global competition and high energy costs in Northern Ontario, they do provide sustainable employment in an area hard-hit by the forestry collapse.
They need access to wood, and they need it locally. The province is on track by offering to put 25 per cent of crown timber up to the highest bidder. It opens the door for local companies to buy raw materials generated in Ontario. And the big players aren’t using it these days anyway.