Fostering Innovation and Diversification in Canada’s Forest Sector

News Release

Federal investment supports cutting edge research aimed at creating new business opportunities

January 22, 2018 – Thunder Bay, ON – Federal Economic Development Initiative for Northern Ontario - FedNor

Innovative research will lead to renewable, biodegradable and cost-effective alternatives to petroleum-based products thanks to a Government of Canada investment of more than $5.8 million. The new pilot project builds on Thunder Bay’s growing bioeconomy research cluster and will encourage sustainable forest management, create jobs and strengthen the region’s economy.

The Honourable Patty Hajdu, Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Labour, and Member of Parliament for Thunder Bay—Superior North, made the announcement today on behalf of the Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development and Minister responsible for FedNor, and the Honourable Jim Carr, Canada’s Minister of Natural Resources.

Of the total investment announced today, FedNor will provide $3 million to enable FPInnovations to build a world-class, thermo-mechanical-pulp bio-refinery (TMP-Bio) demonstration plant. The pilot plant is an important step in scaling up biorefinery in Canada – a promising technology which takes advantage of the growing demand for green bio-chemicals and bio-fuels provided by sustainably-sourced Canadian wood.

Natural Resources Canada (NRCan) is investing $2.8 million to help operate and support research at the new pilot facility, located at the Resolute Forest Products mill in Thunder Bay.


"The Government of Canada is proud to invest in strategic initiatives that promote public/private-sector partnerships in support of innovation and economic growth. Today’s announcement will help establish a fully functioning bio-refinery plant that will speed up the development, production and commercialization of green bio-chemicals derived from wood, helping companies diversifies and create jobs."

- The Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development and Minister responsible for FedNor

"Our Government values innovation and is committed to building collaborative working relationships to help support the forest sector. FPInnovations has shown leadership in transforming the industry, promoting a culture of collaboration, and demonstrating results by developing bio-products with a low carbon footprint."

- The Honourable Jim Carr, Minister of Natural Resources

"Northern Ontario has a wealth of innovative thinkers and leading researchers and this project helps to demonstrate how their ingenuity is creating business opportunities and growing the local economy.  By investing to capitalize on our inherent strengths, we are helping to strengthen the local economy and create meaningful middle-class employment here in Thunder Bay and across the region."

- The Honourable Patty Hajdu, Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Labour, and Member of Parliament for Thunder Bay—Superior North

"Innovation and clean technology are key priorities for the Government of Canada and we are proud to invest in projects, such as this state-of-the-art, bio-refinery demonstration plant in Thunder Bay, that enable industry to explore new opportunities, develop new value-added products, and help position the Thunder Bay region and all of Northern Ontario for sustainable economic growth and success."

- Don Rusnak, Member of Parliament for Thunder Bay—Rainy River

"This project highlights the importance of investing in de-risking new technologies and products, and points the way for developing and delivering a transformative technology that contributes to the Canadian bio-economy. This major initiative strengthens the industry’s position as a leader in the bio-refinery sector."

- Stéphane Renou, CEO, FPInnovations

"We are pleased to continue our strategic partnership with FPInnovations by providing both a host facility and financial support to this innovative venture. This project will help create opportunities to diversify the use of wood fibre into higher-value-added products."

- Richard Garneau, President and Chief Executive Officer, Resolute Forest Products

Quick Facts

  • This $21-million project builds on FPInnovations' existing and highly successful collaborative partnership with Resolute Forest Products and Lakehead University, and also includes participation by the Province of Ontario, the Municipality of Thunder Bay and several others.

  • FedNor’s investment is provided through its Northern Ontario Development Program which supports projects that promote sustainable community economic development, enhance business development and growth, and facilitate innovation throughout the region.

  • NRCan’s investment is provided through the Softwood Lumber Action Plan under the Forest Innovation Program (FIP) announced in Budget 2017, which supports the mass-development and mass-production of sophisticated green bio-chemicals derived from wood products.

Associated Links


Kim Fewchuk
Communications Officer

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