Canada Fails to Respond to Japan’s Request That It Rejoin the International Tropical Timber Organization

According to reporting by The Canadian Press, an access-to-information request shows that in July 2022, Japan asked the Canadian federal government to rejoin the International Tropical Timber Organization (ITTO). To date, the current Liberal government of Justin Trudeau has failed to respond to the months-old invitation from Japan.

The ITTO group works with producers and consumer countries to share knowledge about conservation practices and to promote sales of sustainable timber. The ITTO currently includes 37 exporters of timber and 38 countries that import it, including all other G7 states, with Canada being the only exception.

Canada was among the original signatories to the 1983 treaty that originally created the organization. In 2013, the Conservative government headed by Stephen Harper pulled out of the ITTO organization, in part because Canada does not have tropical forests, despite 38 other non-tropical countries being current members of the organization.

Commenting on the six-month delay, Natural Resources Canada told The Canadian Press it “continues to actively consider whether to rejoin the treaty,” but it did not elaborate on what that process might be. Michael MacDonald, a spokesperson for the NRC, added, “The government strongly supports global efforts to promote sustainable forest management and halt deforestation.” MacDonald also noted that Canada has signed onto similar agreements, such as the Glasgow Leader’s Declaration on Forests and Land Use.

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