Forestry workers and communities in Northern Ontario will lose out if the recommendatins of a new report are followed, says a union representing more than 50,000 forestry workers across Canada.

The United Steelworkers union claims the final report of the Forest Sector Competitiveness Council, released by Ontario natural resources minister David Ramsay, is more beneficial to forestry companies who will be able to send wood fibre out of the region for processing.

The union, which hopes to discuss the report’s impact with provincial premier Dalton McGuinty, says C$350m in proposed loan guarantees need to be tied into a commitment to keeping value-added manufacturing within northern communities. Otherwise, it claims jobs will be lost and the regional economy will suffer.

A draft resolution by the union is currently being looked at by northern communities. It calls on the provincial government to implement an investment strategy for Northern Ontario, assist companies by reducing electricity rates and closely monitor forest products to ensure firms process wood in the surrounding communities.