04/26/2017 05:55 EDT | Updated 04/26/2017 06:00 EDT

Ontario boosts forestry road funding by $20M in response to softwood tariffs

TORONTO — Ontario is increasing funding for forest access roads by $20 million in response to the softwood lumber dispute between Canada and the U.S.

The roads run through Crown land and are used by the forestry industry and local communities.

The provincial government says forestry communities need support after the U.S. slapped duties of up to 24 per cent on softwood lumber entering the U.S. from Canada.

U.S. President Donald Trump has recently criticized Canada's lumber and dairy policies and threatened to scrap the North American Free Trade Agreement.

Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne has been actively lobbying U.S. leaders to support unfettered cross-border trade, fearing the effect increased protectionism in the U.S. will have on Ontario's economy.

The province has also a chief negotiator to represent the province in the softwood lumber dispute, former federal cabinet minister Jim Peterson.