The federal and provincial governments announced a major investment in the forestry sector Tuesday morning.
Both levels of government are giving $1.1 million to the forestry sector to assist with product diversification and job training.
Federal Minister of Western Economic Diversification Michelle Rempel says the investment is all about keeping the province’s forestry industry vibrant not only now but into the future.
“That’s really what this project is about is saying, ‘Where’s the forestry sector going to be in 10 years from now and let’s make sure we’re coordinating the industry to get there,’” she says.
Saskatchewan Party MLA Fred Bradshaw, who was there representing the province, says the money will also be used to provide valuable job training with the objective of getting more Aboriginal people working in the forestry sector.
“We have a large population of Aboriginal and Métis and so consequently we want to see them enjoy in the prosperity of Saskatchewan,” he says.
The federal government says First Nations and Métis people currently make up about 15 per cent of the forestry sector workforce in Saskatchewan.
Mark Johnston of the Prince Albert Model Forest Association says his organization will head up the project and try to provide job training in the most needed areas.
“One of the things that is happening in the forest sector, like every other sector, is increasing use of new technology,” he says. “So we need to make sure that the workforce is trained to take advantage of those new approaches. And, as I mentioned, I think youth training is also very important to prepare people for careers in the forest sector.”
FP Innovations will assist the PA Model Forest Association in delivering the program.