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Ontario Makes Historic Investment to Expand Forest Sector Innovation

March 7, 2024

Ontario Makes Historic Investment to Expand Forest Sector Innovation

Province committing an additional $60 million to Forest Biomass Program

The Government of Ontario is delivering on its commitment to build a stronger forest sector by making an historic investment of $60 million in the Forest Biomass Program. Over the next three years, the program will make targeted investments in forest sector initiatives to develop the economic potential and environmental benefits of underutilized wood and mill by-products, known as forest biomass.

“This new Forest Biomass Program funding will grow businesses, strengthen communities and put workers to work,” said Graydon Smith, Minister of Natural Resources and Forestry. “We are investing in the technology, the people and the expertise that drive our forest sector into the future – and together, we are achieving our government’s plan for forest sector prosperity.”

The announcement of additional funding follows the Forest Biomass Program’s third phase of investment, which committed more than $6.1 million to 12 research, innovation and modernization initiatives. A full list of the projects is available here. It includes:

  • Millson Forestry Service – $500,600 to support forest sector integration by acquiring equipment to convert wood residues into mulch, fulfilling local demand for mulch and compost and providing an on-site heating source for the facility’s greenhouse.
  • Apitipi Anicinapek Nation – $250,000 to build community readiness and capacity to participate in forest biomass opportunities that will deliver economic, social and environmental benefits to Indigenous communities and local municipalities.
  • Wikwemikong Unceded Indian Reserve – $250,000 to pursue local community energy production by examining the feasibility of an advanced biochar/biocoal product that would be developed at a proposed pellet plant facility.
  • Walker Environmental Group – $100,000 to advance forest biomass innovation and pursue environmental benefits by exploring cost-effective options to use biomass as a source of renewable natural gas and other low-carbon energy products.

Since its launch in May 2023, the Forest Biomass Program has committed over $17 million to 41 projects, including recent announcements in January 2024 and December 2023.

In Spring 2024, the Forest Biomass Program will be open to applications for businesses, municipalities, Indigenous communities and not-for-profit organizations in Ontario that have a project to expand the use of forest biomass and enhance the forest biomass supply chain.

To learn more about the program, visit: https://ontario.ca/page/forest-biomass-program

Quick Facts

  • Forest biomass includes mill by-products from manufacturing, bark, shavings and sawdust, as well as trees or above-ground tree parts unsuited in the production of other forest products.
  • Forest biomass is a versatile material, already used in everything from food additives to building products. It also has several new and emerging uses, including as a source of responsible alternatives to carbon-intensive products, like renewable natural gas, bioplastics and hydrogen.
  • The Forest Biomass Action Plan is a five-year plan that encourages the use of forest biomass resources to secure jobs, support economic development and encourage sustainability in Ontario’s forest sector.
  • Ontario’s Forest Biomass Action Plan is part of the broader Forest Sector Strategy launched in 2020. The strategy sets out the province’s plan to create jobs and encourage economic growth in the forestry industry, supporting the Indigenous, northern and rural communities that depend on the sector while ensuring forests are managed sustainably for generations to come.
  • The forest sector generated $20.9 billion in revenue from the sale of manufactured goods and services in 2021 and supported more than 142,000 direct and indirect jobs in 2022.

Quotes

“We are sincerely grateful for the support extended to Millson Forestry Service by the Forest Biomass Program. This collaboration marks a significant step towards our shared commitment to maximizing utilization from sustainable forestry practices. We eagerly anticipate the launch of our upcoming project, focused on optimizing biomass utilization. Together, we are poised to make a positive impact on environmental conservation and resource efficiency.”

– Jenny Millson
President, Millson Forestry Service

“Minister Graydon Smith and Premier Ford have a vision for the future of Ontario’s forest sector and circular bioeconomy. The Ontario Forest Industries Association (OFIA) fully supports today’s historic announcement, and we look forward to seeing the immense untapped potential of Ontario’s forest biomass resource fully utilized. As a result of today’s announcement, the OFIA anticipates further growth in low-carbon and renewable heat, electrical generation, energy, and advanced materials sectors. This is good news for Ontario’s forests and for the communities that depend on our industry.”

– Ian Dunn, R.P.F.
President & CEO, Ontario Forest Industries Association

“By expanding the Forest Biomass Program, our government is protecting and creating jobs in Ontario’s forest sector. The forest sector has provided meaningful employment for Northerners for decades and remains one of the largest employers for First Nations community members. Our government will continue to make targeted investments across the forestry supply chain and we are confident that the Forest Biomass Action Plan will continue to enhance the sector.”

– Greg Rickford
Minister of Northern Development and Minister of Indigenous Affairs

“The forestry sector has always been a major part of our economy in Northern Ontario, especially here in Timmins. That’s why our government is making a historic $60 million investment in the Forest Biomass Program that is incentivizing modern innovations in the forestry sector. Thanks to this investment, Millson Forestry Service can purchase new equipment that will turn wood residues into useful products for our local economy and generate heat for the company’s greenhouse. Our government will always support the sectors that bring jobs and prosperity to the north.”

– George Pirie
MPP for Timmins

Additional Resources

Source

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