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Forest industry welcomes immigration changes aimed at skilled workers

OTTAWA, Dec. 10, 2012 /CNW/ - The Forest Products Association of Canada (FPAC) is pleased about today's announcement by the Minister of Citizen, Immigration and Multiculturalism, Jason Kenney, concerning a new Federal Skilled Trades Program to help address labour shortages in skilled trades.

The forest products sector in Canada has been struggling to find skilled workers including millwrights, engineers, pipe fitters, truck drivers, heavy equipment operators, technologists and more.

To address this shortage, FPAC has set an ambitious goal under Vision2020 to recruit an additional 60,000 workers by the end of the decade with the emphasis on women, Aboriginals and new Canadians.

"This is excellent news for our sector considering the shortage of qualified labour in many parts of Canada that is expected to only get worse," says the President and CEO of FPAC, David Lindsay. "The changes announced today may help many of our member companies fill critical job openings so that their mills can operate at an optimum level and contribute to further job creation and economic growth for Canada."

Lindsay says that the forest products industry will be launching a new human resources campaign in 2013 called "the Greenest Workforce" to try to attract more skilled workers to the sector. FPAC is also working with Aboriginal groups to increase their participation in the industry.

"Right now we are competing with other industries, especially in the resource sector, to fill essential positions.  We need to work together with other industries and governments on a comprehensive national strategy to address the acute labour and skills shortage," says Lindsay.  "The dedicated program announced today is one step in that direction."

FPAC also believes today's announcement builds on the work being done by governments on foreign credential recognition. That includes the need to ensure foreign trade worker skills are assessed in a timely fashion.

FPAC provides a voice for Canada's wood, pulp, and paper producers nationally and internationally in government, trade, and environmental affairs. The $57-billion-a-year forest products industry represents 2% of Canada's GDP and is one of Canada's largest employers operating in hundreds of communities and providing 230,000 direct jobs across the country.

SOURCE FOREST PRODUCTS ASSOCIATION OF CANADA

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