Same chips, different pile? Forest tenure reform in Ontario
By Julee Boan, President of Environment North
Originally published in the Chronicle Journal on Tuesday September 29, 2009.
It has become increasingly common to open the newspaper these days and read a story of further forestry-related job layoffs in our region. By 2007, the Ontario Federation of Labour estimated a loss of 32,000 direct and indirect jobs. Approximately 260 communities have been impacted by the declining forestry sector, 28 of which were dependent almost entirely on the forest industry for their existence. Many think that the current downturn is not merely a valley in a boom and bust economy, but rather that a fundamental shift has occurred in the forestry sector. As such, even a so-called economic recovery in the province will not bring back the industry to its former standing. It seems increasingly unlikely that we will be able to simply blow the dust off idle mills to rebuild northern communities.