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VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(Jan. 17, 2017) - The First Nation Forestry Council (FNFC) and four B.C. pulp and paper companies are pleased to announce they have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to promote and support the growing role and influence of First Nations in the B.C. forest sector. The four companies include: Catalyst Paper, Nanaimo Forest Products (Harmac), Paper Excellence Canada and Zellstoff Celgar Limited Partnership.

The MOU encourages the development of shared information on industry activity and First Nation participation in the industry. It also commits the parties to work together to promote projects, policies and regulations to benefit of First Nations and the participating companies.

"This agreement underscores our commitment to work closely with First Nations to develop strong relationships and create mutually beneficial economic opportunities," says Joe Nemeth, President & Chief Executive Officer, Catalyst Paper.

The MOU has an initial term of 12 months with a provision to extend and calls for the creation of a Working Group to identify areas of mutual concern and a mandate to work together to advance solutions. In addition, the MOU anticipates additional agreements with individual participating companies and groups in specific regions of the province. This MOU is linked to the FNFC Compliance Management System which sets a new standard of relationship between industry and the FNFC by facilitating the sharing of information.

"The relationship between First Nations and the forest industry in British Columbia has been challenging as we seek recognition of our Aboriginal Title and Rights and Treaty rights in the region," says Chief Bill Williams. "This new direction is an effort to build stronger relationships and we are very grateful to see this industry leadership starting with an MOU and a commitment to our FNFC-Compliance Management System."

About the First Nations Forestry Council
The FNFC is now in its tenth year working as a non-profit society supporting all First Nations in their forestry activities. The Council has a board of directors appointed by the First Nations Summit, the Union of BC Indian Chiefs, and the BC Assembly of First Nations. The board governs the FNFC based on direction from communities. The FNFC is politically accountable to the First Nations Leadership Council and the First Nations of BC. The FNFC is guided and mandated by the BC First Nations Forestry & Land Stewardship Action Plan created in 2008 by our First Nation leadership. The Action Plan identifies the FNFCs key areas of service which include: Policy Development; Research and Education; Relationships; Support of Aboriginal Communities; Recognition and New Relationship; Economic Development; and Healthy Ecosystems.

About the Participating Pulp and Paper Companies

Catalyst Paper
Catalyst Paper manufactures diverse papers such as coated freesheet, coated one side (C1S), flexible and industrial packaging, coated and uncoated groundwood, newsprint, directory, as well as market pulp. Customers include retailers, publishers, commercial printers, and converters of specialty applications in North America, Latin America, the Pacific Rim and Europe. With five mills across North America, Catalyst has annual production capacity of 2.3 million tonnes. Catalyst is headquartered in Richmond, British Columbia, Canada, and has been ranked by Corporate Knights magazine for the 10th consecutive year as one of the 50 Best Corporate Citizens in Canada.

Nanaimo Forest Products (Harmac)
Nanaimo Forest Products Ltd. is a private company owned by its employees and other local British Columbia based investors. The company operates the Harmac Pacific 380,000 tonne per year Northern Bleached Softwood Kraft (NBSK) pulp mill and green power generation operation in Nanaimo, B.C. The NBSK market pulp is exported throughout the world with major markets in Asia, USA, Australia and Europe. The green power produced at the operation is sold to BC Hydro under a long-term contract. Nanaimo Forest Products Ltd. is headquartered in Nanaimo, B.C.

Paper Excellence Canada
Paper Excellence is a privately-owned group of companies in the pulp and paper industry headquartered in Richmond, BC Canada. In Canada, Paper Excellence has approximately 2,600 employees close to 1.2 million tonnes of pulp production capacity. In all our operations, Paper Excellence ensures strong relationships with governments, local communities, unions, non-government agencies and other stakeholders.

Zellstoff Celgar Limited Partnership
Zellstoff Celgar Limited Partnership operates one of Canada's most modern Northern Bleached Softwood Pulp mills; employing approximately 400 people in Castlegar, British Columbia. Celgar is a member of the Mercer International group; one of the world's largest producers of NBSK and black liquor-based green electricity. Further information about Celgar and the Mercer International group can be found on the company's website at www.mercerint.com.

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