OTTAWA, O.N. — The federal government is offering a package of loans and loan guarantees to forestry companies to help cushion the blow of U-S tariffs imposed on softwood lumber imports.
Natural Resources Minister Jim Carr, Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland, and International Trade Minister Francois-Philippe Champagne are promising $867 million in financial support for softwood producers and the communities where they are based. The package includes loans and loan guarantees to help cushion the blow for forestry companies and to help them exploring new markets and innovations.
The help includes $260 million to help diversify the market base for Canadian lumber products, improve the efficiency of indigenous forestry initiatives and extend work-sharing agreement limits to minimize layoffs. The money also includes measures to support workers who want to upgrade their skills and transition to a different industry.
The forestry sector employs over 60,000 people in B.C., and roughly 250 forest products mills will be affected by tariffs implemented by the United States on Canadian softwood lumber imports.
Canada has vowed to fight the tariffs but it took fours years to reach a negotiated settlement the last time they were imposed.