OTTAWA, ON - Canada will target $105 million in funding to help its forest sector strengthen its competitiveness and increase its marketing of products abroad, said Joe Oliver, Canada's minister of natural resources, in a recent report to the House of Commons.

Canada Pledges $105M for Wood Export Promotions"This phase of our support has provided funding for 98 projects in 38 communities across the country and supported more than 14,000 jobs," Oliver said.

Oliver said the forest sector was able to weather the U.S. housing downturn by increasing the value of softwood exports to China by 1,000 percent between 2007 and 2011. He added that in British Columbia, the output of softwood lumber destined for China was equivalent to 20 mills worth of production and that the great growth in business with China has helped create 5,000 forest sector jobs across Canada over the past five years.

"The fact that Canada's forest product exports have almost regained the peak value recorded in 2008 is a tribute to the creativity of the 234,000 Canadians who work in our forest industries," Oliver said. "Their capacity to find new opportunities in the global marketplace through innovations and market diversification is driving renewal in Canada's forest sector."

Oliver's press release did not address the sawmill tragedies occurred in January and April in British Columbia nor the continuing investigation by WorkSafeBC.

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