Forestry in Quebec: By the Numbers

forestry in quebec la roche observation point

Did you know that about half of Quebec is covered in forests? It’s no wonder Quebec’s forestry sector is one of the three largest provincial sectors of its kind (by total jobs) in Canada, along with those found in British Columbia and Ontario.

Forestry in Quebec is an important sector not only for workers and communities, but also for various governments because of generated tax revenues – despite employment falling significantly over the last 20 years. Regardless, the sector is especially important for rural municipalities found across Canada’s second largest province while also being a major source of raw forestry materials for the region.

Here’s several facts and statistics showing just how important this industry is to Quebec (QC).

15+ Facts on Quebec’s Forest Industry

Vegetation in Quebec - Government of Quebec

Map of Vegetation in Quebec - Government of Quebec

More than half of Quebec (nearly 900,000 km2) is covered in forests, a size nearly twice that of Sweden

20% of Canada’s total forested area is found in Quebec, which equates to about 2% of the world’s forests

92% of forests in the province is owned by the government

• The remaining 8% is divided between 130,000 small and large woodlot owners

31% of Canada’s total forest industry employment is concentrated in Quebec

• Approximately 60,000 direct jobs are sustained annually within the province for Québecers

• Approximately 28% of Canada’s real gross domestic product (GDP) generated by the forestry sector was done so in Quebec in 2017

• Direct employment by forestry in Quebec accounted for nearly 2% of the province’s total workforce in 2017

• Quebec’s forestry sector exports nearly $12 billion of forest products each year, the second largest amount of any province

• Forest management workers in Quebec earn an average of $68,000 a year, compared to the provincial average income of $43,900 per annum

• More than 140 forest-based and urban municipalities depend principally on forests for their economic survival

• Over 3,000 mills and plants produce a wide range of forest products all over Quebec

72% of businesses in the provincial forest industry are considered “small,” while around 90% are found outside of Quebec City and Montreal

• Quebec is considered an expert in sustainable forest management; 80% of all harvested areas regenerate naturally, while reforestation techniques are used to regenerate vegetation on 20% of remaining areas

• Since 1998, the workforce in Quebec’s forestry and logging sector has shrunk by more than 60%

Sources: Government of Quebec, Government of Canada, Montreal Economic Institute, Natural Resources Canada

Stand Up for Forestry Workers in Quebec

The issue of less job opportunities and tax revenues for those involved in Quebec’s forest industry is currently being exacerbated by opposition from special interest groups who claim the provincial government is destroying these forests in an irreversible fashion.

While these groups often use misinformation to accomplish their alarmist agenda, other organizations are taking on a much more realist approach and debunking such claims. It's a pattern of misinformation we are seeing throughout Canada from special interest groups who typically only oppose national resource industries and turn a blind-eye to raw resource imports from elsewhere – often from nations with less environmental regulations and protections in place.

The Montreal Economic Institute (MEI), a non-profit research organization based in Montreal, recently reported that hundreds of millions of dollars in potential revenues are being lost every year by communities due to unharvested wood from public forests within the province.

Montreal Economic Institute - Quebec Forests - Rural Regions Lose Hundreds of Millions of Dollars a Year

Source: Montreal Economic Institute - Quebec Forests: Rural Regions Lose Hundreds of Millions of Dollars a Year

Released in October of 2020, Quebec Forests: Rural Regions Lose Hundreds of Millions of Dollars a Year highlights how these economic benefits can be reaped without undermining the health of provincial forests.

Those benefits include $330 million in economic stimulus and $455 million in uncollected taxes - or hundreds of millions in lost revenues at a time where a majority of Canadians believe the natural resource industry should lead in the economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.

This report goes on to discuss how responsible the provincial government is when it comes to sustainable forest management while also presenting concrete evidence showing how much of a boon increased harvesting could be for communities, especially in rural regions of Quebec.

According to MEI, increasing the amount of wood harvested could also help decrease the amount of carbon dioxide being released into the atmosphere, while also displacing higher emitting forms of construction materials like steel and cement.

The author points towards the fact that the rate of allowable harvest collected in other provinces like British Columbia and New Brunswick is much higher – at 96% and 90%, respectively – with Quebec averaging just 72% over the past decade. Keep in mind that each year the provincial government allows less than 1% of it’s total forested area to be harvested.

I Love Canadian Forestry

i love Canadian forestry

Quebec’s forest industry is an integral piece of the economic puzzle for several rural municipalities within the province, as are regionalized forestry sectors in other parts of Canada. As the world’s second largest country, we’ve been blessed with a vast wealth of forests from coast-to-coast and should put our full support behind the Indigenous and Non-Indigenous workers who rely on these resources to provide for their families.

In 2017, roughly 49% of Canada’s forests were certified to third-party standards of sustainable forest management. Between 2005-2015, Canada’s forestry sector as a whole reduced its total greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 49%. We are global leaders in sustainable forest management and emission reductions.

We are also global leaders in environmental, social, and governance (ESG) metrics, and should be proud of our forestry sector in Quebec, British Columbia, Ontario, New Brunswick, or any other province for that matter!

We invite you to join us online to learn more about Canada’s world-class natural resource sectors – we hope to see you there! Back to Canada Action - Forestry.

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