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Saint Andrews, New Brunswick, May 10, 2023 – Federal, Provincial and Territorial forest ministers returned to meeting in person for the first time in three years by gathering in Saint Andrews, New Brunswick, to discuss shared priorities, common challenges, and emerging opportunities in Canada’s forest sector.1 Ministers were hosted by the current Chair of the Canadian Council of Forest Ministers, the Honourable Mike Holland, Minister of Natural Resources and Energy Development, Government of New Brunswick.
The CCFM continues to take action to make communities and infrastructure more resilient to the threat and impacts of wildland fire, as outlined in the Action Plan 2021-2026. Ministers expressed support for the continued shift towards a ‘whole-of-society-approach’ as wildland fire becomes more frequent and more severe. To take action in advancing this priority, Ministers supported the development of a Wildland Fire Prevention and Mitigation Strategy that respects federal, provincial and territorial jurisdictions, based on the diverse and inclusive perspectives garnered from wildland fire stakeholders across the country during the Canadian Dialogues.
As the 2023 wildland fire season starts, Ministers were provided an early outlook for the fire season to support their preparation and response activities as well as collaboration and coordination of resources to help protect people, property and critical infrastructure.
Ministers agreed to continue the work to better understand the extent of the changes affecting Canada’s forests and the impact of those changes on the benefits forests provide. Ministers agreed to continue work defining and reporting on forest degradation, including through continued engagement with Indigenous groups and other key partners.
“It was clear during our meeting that we are all facing change at an unprecedented rate,” said New Brunswick’s Minister of Natural Resources and Energy Development, Mike Holland. “We had productive discussions on how to address this change, largely related to fire prevention and mitigation, ensuring Canada’s environmental reputation remains strong globally, and that we continue to adapt and improve our sustainable forest management. I look forward to continuing this work with my colleagues from across Canada.”
As the meeting’s last order of business, Minister Holland turned the CCFM Chair over to British Columbia, who assumed the Chair role for 2023-24 and will host the Council’s 2024 gathering.
“British Columbia is honoured to assume the role of Chair of the Canadian Council of Forestry Ministers,” said British Columbia’s Forests Minister Bruce Ralston. “The CCFM is a valuable forum for collaboration on forest sector priorities. We look forward to finalizing the Wildland Fire Prevention and Mitigation strategy in the fall, and to its implementation going forward. We are also looking forward to collaborating on strategies to ensure Canada’s sustainable forest management practices maintain resilient, healthy forests that support vibrant communities, stronger collaborations with Indigenous peoples, and competitive economies. Canadians’ expectations for our forests and our forest industries are changing throughout the country. From north to south and east to west, how we collectively manage our forests for ecological, economic and community values is a public discussion.”
The Ministers’ meeting was preceded by the separate Forum on Forests on May 9, 2023, which was attended by leaders of National Indigenous Organizations and regional Indigenous leaders, experts and industry partners. Under the theme of changing forests, attendees discussed a range of advancements and opportunities, including building successful relationships between Indigenous people, industry, and governments; enhancing value chains for ecological goods and services and the bioeconomy; and bolstering forest sector resilience in a changing world.
About the CCFM
The CCFM was established in 1985 to provide a platform for federal, provincial and territorial governments to work together on common concerns relating the forests. The CCFM provides leadership on national and international issues and sets direction for the stewardship and sustainable management of forests across Canada (www.ccfm.org).
For more information, media please contact:
Director of Communications
Natural Resources and Energy Development
Senior Public Affairs Officer
Government Communications and Public Engagement
Ministry of Forests
1 Alberta is operating in a caretaker period due to a provincial election; officials from Alberta participated as observers.