Ontario Creating New Program to Support Forestry Innovation and Job Creation
ATIKOKAN – The Government of Ontario is strengthening the economy and promoting innovation in the forest sector with the creation of a new, $19.6 million Forest Biomass Program. This application-based program will help develop untapped economic potential and environmental benefits offered by new and emerging uses of underutilized wood and mill by-products, known as forest biomass.
“This is good news for Ontario’s forestry industry, workers, communities and the environment,” said Graydon Smith, Minister of Natural Resources and Forestry. “Our government’s Forest Biomass Program will help create jobs, build local prosperity and enhance the sustainable practices essential to forest product operations.”
The program has been created based on feedback from the public, Indigenous communities and industry stakeholders, who all indicated the need for targeted support to further develop Ontario’s forest bioeconomy.
“The Forest Biomass Program will result in a stronger forestry sector,” said Kevin Holland, MPP for Thunder Bay – Atikokan. “The forestry industry is a major driver of the economy in Northwestern Ontario and plays a critical role in building Ontario. I am confident this program will enhance existing use of resources, promote research, and increase Indigenous economic prosperity across the region.”
The Forest Biomass Program will support projects to harvest more wood from Crown forests, increase forest sector job creation and regional economic growth and find new uses for wood in collaboration with stakeholders, industry and Indigenous communities. It includes four streams designed to position Ontario as a leader in innovative uses of forest biomass:
Indigenous Bioeconomy Partnerships, to increase Indigenous participation in forest biomass opportunities and their economic benefits.
Exploring Biomass Pathways, to help the public and private sector research technical, financial and scientific aspects of using forest biomass.
Innovative Bioproduct Manufacturing, to increase the use of forest biomass in manufacturing, infrastructure, energy services and resource extraction.
Modernization, to support forest sector transformation, competitiveness and participation through use of forest biomass.
Early this summer, the program will be open to applications for businesses, municipalities, Indigenous communities and not-for-profit organizations located in Ontario that have a project to expand the use of forest biomass and enhance the forest biomass supply chain. The Forest Biomass Program will further the government’s Forest Sector Strategy and Forest Biomass Action Plan goals to build a strong forest sector via technological innovation and greater use of forest biomass.
To learn more about the program, visit: https://ontario.ca/page/forest-biomass-program
On average, Ontario’s forest industry has consumed less than half of the total wood supply available for sustainable harvest each year since 2007.
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. Forest biomass has many current and emerging uses, including as a source of low-carbon consumer products and renewable energy.
Wood produced from Ontario’s Crown forests is sustainably sourced and renewable. Wood is a renewable resource, a clean energy source, and a sustainable and biodegradable alternative to single-use plastics.
"Ontario’s forestry industry is only made stronger through the Forest Biomass Program. I have seen firsthand the prosperity that comes with a robust forestry sector, as many Northern communities are centred around this vibrant industry. With sustainability and job creation top of mind, our government is building a resilient and cutting-edge sector where hardworking men and women can find meaningful employment."
- Greg Rickford Minister of Northern Development
"The new Forest Biomass Program will help to strengthen Ontario’s regional forest economy and continue to put our forests to work. This funding stream will help our industry continue to grow and position Ontario as a leading jurisdiction in the forest biomass sector."
- Mark Guillemette CEO of BioPower Sustainable Energy Corporation
"Increased utilization of biomass will assist Ontario’s transition to a net-zero economy, reduce unnecessary pressures on landfills, support the sustainable management of Ontario’s public forests, and strengthen the circular bioeconomy. We applaud today’s announcement and look forward to continued implementation of Ontario’s Forest Sector Strategy and Forest Biomass Action Plan in partnership with the Ontario government."
- Ian Dunn President and CEO of Ontario Forest Industries Association
"OPG’s biomass facility at Atikokan has long proven it can be called upon to reliably power the region’s homes and businesses when Ontario’s electricity demand is greatest. Through expanded use of this renewable energy source, Ontario will create jobs and produce electricity in areas where they are most needed."
- Ken Hartwick President and CEO of Ontario Power Generation