This Report Card discusses current trends in Atlantic Canada’s forest industry, the competitive pressures facing the industry, and how to respond to the productivity challenge.
Atlantic Canada’s forest industry is contracting as a result of intense global market pressures. Between 2004 and 2006 the number of firms in Atlantic Canada’s forest industry dropped by 11% while the industry shed more than 8,000 jobs. This 24% decline in employment is more than double the 11% drop nationally. Despite these losses, the forest industry remains a crucial part of Atlantic Canada’s economy, currently accounting for about 15% of international merchandise exports and contributing 4.5% of total GDP in 2005. Atlantic Canada’s forest industry also faces several domestic challenges including some of the highest wood fibre costs in the world, a shrinking wood supply, increased competition for woodlands for environmental purposes, an aging workforce and labour shortages. Improving productivity, developing new products and markets, adopting new technologies and strengthening skill levels will play a key role in the industry’s response to these challenges.