QUEBEC CITY -- The forest industry in Quebec is siphoning public funds and is doomed to decline, according to a new study from the Institute for Socioeconomic Research and Information (IRIS).

In 2020, aid to the industry is expected to reach no less than $485 million. For every dollar paid by the Ministry of Forests to companies, the state collected half as much in forest royalties in 2013 compared to 2004, or $0.41 compared to $0.82 in 2004.

Likewise, while the industry employed nearly 100,000 people in 2001, there were only 59,000 workers left in 2018.

According to one of the two researchers responsible for this study, Bertrand Schepper, the status quo can no longer last.

"We must question the methods of subsidies and invest in the conversion of workers and the economic diversification of regions," he said.

-- this report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 15, 2020.