AMHERST, NOVA SCOTIA -- The Government of Canada and the provinces of Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Newfoundland and Labrador today announced their support for Atlantic WoodWORKS!, a new regional initiative to promote and advance the economic and environmental benefits of wood construction. The initiative is led by the Maritime Lumber Bureau.

“Creating jobs and growing the economy remain our Government’s top priorities,” said the Honourable Bernard Valcourt, Minister of State for the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA) and La Francophonie. “We continue to invest in industry and initiatives that will make Canadian forest products even more attractive in the global marketplace. With this investment, we are helping the forestry industry in Atlantic Canada to meet its market challenges and pursue strategic opportunities for growth through training, education and innovation.”

“From the days of tall ships to modern building design and construction, we know the importance of making value-added products from wood,” said Charlie Parker, Nova Scotia's Minister of Natural Resources. “Nova Scotia strongly supports WoodWORKS! as a step toward a more innovative and sustainable forest industry.”

“This joint initiative is a wonderful opportunity to help promote our forest products industry to the rest of the world,” said New Brunswick Economic Development Minister Paul Robichaud. “The Atlantic WoodWORKS initiative will assist our producers and our wood sector.”

“This initiative complements many of the concepts our government is proposing to further the forest industry in Newfoundland and Labrador, including assisting in the development of niche markets and diversifying the solid wood products industry,” said the Honourable Jerome Kennedy, Minister of Natural Resources and Minister Responsible for the Forestry and Agrifoods Agency. “Our $50,000 commitment in this initiative enables us to work with municipalities and other stakeholders to further increase the understanding of the benefits of building with wood.”

Atlantic WoodWORKS! is an expansion of the Canadian Wood Council’s successful WoodWORKS! program into the Atlantic region. Its overarching objective is to encourage the expanded use and consumption of made-in-Atlantic Canada solid wood products in commercial and municipal construction projects. Various promotional activities will be carried out under the program, including technical support and seminars, the development of a newsletter and website, among other activities. The goal of this activity is to demonstrate to project decision-makers that wood, as a building material, is a renewable and responsible choice that meets their environmental objectives by lowering a project’s carbon footprint.

“The expansion of the national WoodWORKS! program to the Atlantic Region will build upon the wood culture that has existed in this area for generations,” said Diana Blenkhorn, President and CEO of the Maritime Lumber Bureau. “Our communities already know that building with wood is the right choice to meet their environmental objectives. Approaching our issues on a regional basis is an excellent opportunity to build upon past successes and secure the future of this important sector and economic contributor.”

The Maritime Lumber Bureau (MLB) based in Amherst, Nova Scotia is a federally incorporated not-for profit association. It is an internationally accredited quality control, certification and licensing body. Formed in 1938 the MLB has 73 years of experience in meeting the needs of the Atlantic region’s large and small primary and secondary producers of forest-based products. While membership is voluntary, the MLB provides services to over 100 members located in the four Atlantic provinces. Membership is made up of sawmills, secondary producers, wholesalers/brokers, equipment suppliers and others who are committed to the sustainability of one of the region’s most important natural and renewable resources, and maintaining the important historic economic contribution to the Atlantic provinces.

In 2010, the forestry sector contributed $1.9 billion to Atlantic Canada’s economy, employed close to 21,000 Atlantic Canadians, and exported $2.6 billion worth of products.

The Government of Canada, through ACOA, is contributing $500,000 over a two-year period to the project under the Business Development Program (BDP). The provinces of Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Newfoundland and Labrador are investing a combined total of $134,096. The Canadian Wood Council is investing $159,317.

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