IPP&T Magazine Online

Indigenous participation in forest industry gets boost from feds

November 12, 2018  

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Ottawa announced a $330,000 investment for two forestry projects in Waswanipi, Que., that will create jobs and boost the local economy for First Nations people.

The first investment of $300,000 is for the Cree First Nation of Waswanipi to support business planning and equipment reconditioning for the Nabakatuk Forest Products facility. This funding will enable the reopening of the facility so that it can provide mill-finished lumber for retail markets. Support for this community-industry partnership is a promising model, which will foster stronger relationships with Indigenous peoples and competitiveness in Canada’s forest economy.

“This project will directly benefit the community through the creation of good jobs and is a great example of how we are working with Indigenous partners to create forest-based economic development opportunities,” says parliamentary secretary Paul Lefebvre. “Our government is proud to support these business efforts, and I congratulate both partners for leading the way in forest sustainability and providing eco-friendly development solutions.”

The second investment of $30,000 supports the acquisition and launch of Ungava Gourmande, an Indigenous-led business focused on non-timber forest products, such as wild food jellies derived from fruits and plants. The investment will support Ungava with its business planning, provide training to workers and lay the foundation for future economic development.

“Nabakatuk Forest Products is entering a new venture to finally produce a finished lumber product and become a new competitor in the regional lumber industry,” says Derrick Neeposh, director general, Nabakatuk Forest Products. “The Nabakatuk facility will play a vital role in the creation of meaningful employment for the community members of the Cree First Nation of Waswanipi. This project is made possible with the contribution of the Canadian government through the department of Natural Resources, and we are truly grateful for such support.”

Both opportunities are funded by Natural Resources Canada’s Indigenous Forestry Initiative (IFI), which offers opportunities to Indigenous communities that rely on forests and Canada’s emerging forest bioeconomy.

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