Renewal of Federal Funding
Finance Minister Jim Flaherty’s budget on March 29th included a welcome renewal of $105 million over two years for programs related to expanding market opportunities. The new Expanding Market Opportunities Program (EMOP) rolls up several initiatives which were previously stand-alone. These include the Canada Wood Export Program (CWEP), NA Wood First, LEAF (environmental reputation) and funding for FPInnovations. The new budget provides $55M for 2012-13 and $50M for 2013-14. Offshore CWEP-funded programs will be funded at the same level as 2011-12; at $8.5M with industry cost-shares remaining the same. In addition the federal government will provide $2M for its contribution to the industry’s Japan reconstruction initiative from sources other than CWEP. This is a major relief as sourcing from within CWEP would have required significant cuts to our current level of overseas programming.
Going forward there are expectations within the federal government that industry will be expected to play a progressively greater contributory role starting in 2013-14 as evidenced by the following in the budget speech – “The Government will continue to engage with the forestry industry to identify opportunities for the private sector to increase its investment in innovation and develop new markets for Canadian forestry products.”