Edmonton – (October 12) marks one year since the expiration of the 2006 Softwood Lumber Agreement between Canada and the United States. With this anniversary, the one year “standstill period” during which both sides committed to refrain from taking unilateral action has also expired.
“We are encouraged that, even though the standstill period has expired, negotiations continue,” said Paul Whittaker, Chair of the Alberta Softwood Lumber Trade Council. “We would like to recognize the hard work of negotiation teams on both sides, and the dedication of both the Governments of Canada and Alberta to this important file. Of particular note, the leadership of the Prime Minister and Minister Chrystia Freeland at the federal level and Ministers Deron Bilous and Oneil Carlier at the provincial level have been essential in the mission to achieve a solution that is fair and equitable for the thousands of Albertans who work in the province’s sustainable forestry sector. ”
Forestry is a major contributor to 70 communities in Alberta and creates thousands of direct and spin-off jobs. The value of the forest sector to Alberta’s economy is approximately $5 billion. As an export-focused sector, access to important markets like the United States is critical for the survival of forestry in Alberta.