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TORONTO — Today, Greg Rickford, Minister of Northern Development, Mines, Natural Resources and Forestry, and Vic Fedeli, Minister of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade, issued the following statement:

“The forest industry is a key driver of Ontario’s economy, and vital to the economic recovery of both Canada and Ontario. We must continue to voice the importance of free trade and defend our forest industry.

Ontario is profoundly disappointed by the US Department of Commerce’s recent decision to increase duties on Canadian softwood lumber. This decision hurts consumers on both sides of the border, and unfairly burdens the workers, families and communities of Ontario’s forest sector. All duty rates on Canadian lumber exports are unjustified and should be removed immediately.

Ontario has joined with others around the globe in responding to the unique challenges of COVID-19, and we recognize these duties have created added hardship during a time of great uncertainty.

Throughout the pandemic, trade duties on lumber have compounded historic high prices, placing unnecessary costs on home buyers and consumers.

Ontario calls on the US to uphold its commitment to free trade by eliminating duties on Ontario’s softwood lumber exports.

We will continue to challenge these unjustified duties with our partners in industry, other provinces and the federal government, to support the Canadian forest industry and advocate for free trade.”