The forestry sector is at the heart of the Canadian bioeconomy plan. While Donald Trump has announced the United States’ withdrawal from the Paris climate agreement, the Federal Government led by Justine Trudeau has announced its support to Canada’s forest sector for market and product diversification and forestry-based indigenous communities. The announcement, made by James Carr, Minister of Natural Resources, Chrystia Freeland, Minister of Foreign Affairs, and François-Philippe Champagne, Minister of International Trade, highlights the importance of the forest sector to the Canadian economy and the recognition of the important role Government plays in supporting innovative research and development and de-risking transformative bio-based technologies.
A total of $118 million over three years will be invested in the Investments in Forest Industry Transformation program (IFIT) and the Forest Innovation Program (FIP). An additional $10 million will be invested in the Indigenous Forestry Initiative.
In particular, Natural Resources Canada’s investments in Forest Industry Transformation and Forest Innovation Programs have been extended to continue supporting innovation in the emerging bioeconomy and reduce reliance on traditional products. Coupled with support for forest-based economic development of Indigenous communities across Canada, particularly in the areas of clean technology, environmental stewardship and management of forest resources, this Government’s multi-pronged approach aims at ensuring that the sector prepares for a sustainable bio-based future while creating economic opportunities and jobs today.
The forest sector is of vital importance to the Canadian economy, directly employing over 230,000 workers in all regions of the country, including in 200 communities that rely on the sector for at least 50 per cent of their economic base. Previous funding by the Federal Government has supported FPInnovations’ innovative research and the de-risking of pre-commercial technology for game-changing bioproducts such as building the world’s first nanocrystalline cellulose demonstration plant in partnership with Domtar, building the world’s first cellulose filament demonstration plant in collaboration with Kruger, and implementing a commercial-scale lignin recovery process at a West Fraser mill. FPInnovations is a not-for-profit world-leading R&D institute that specializes in the creation of scientific solutions in support of the Canadian forest sector’s global competitiveness and responds to the priority needs of its industry members and government partners.
“The Federal Government’s renewed support for innovation in the forest sector – Pierre Lapointe, President and CEO FPInnovations, states – will deliver tangible benefits in the emerging bio-based economy and to indigenous communities dependent on the sector. This announcement will further develop markets for wood construction and de-risk innovative research of the next generation of technologies, processes and products thereby assuring the economic future of hundreds of communities and an environmentally sustainable forest sector.”