Government of Canada Supports Innovation in the Forest Sector and Collaboration with Indigenous Communities

Backgrounder

Canada’s Minister of Natural Resources, the Honourable Jim Carr, announced funding of $6.45 million for six projects in British Columbia under the Investments in Forest Industry Transformation program and the Indigenous Forestry Initiative through the Strategic Partnerships Initiative for Indigenous Economic Development.

The funding will serve to promote innovation and diversification in forestry, as well as support collaboration with Indigenous communities.

Below is additional information for each funded project.

Investments in Forest Industry Transformation Program Funding

In 2010, Natural Resources Canada’s Canadian Forest Service created the Investments in Forest Industry Transformation (IFIT) program to help Canadian companies develop and grow markets for new and innovative high-value products using Canada’s forest resources.

In June 2017, when the Government of Canada announced $867 million in measures through the Softwood Lumber Action Plan, it announced that it would also extend the IFIT program with $55 million in funding over three years (starting 2017–2018) in order to support workers and diversify the uses and markets for Canadian wood and wood products.

Click here for more information about the IFIT program.

1. StructureCraft Builders Inc. — $1,930,000

StructureCraft will be the first company in North America to develop and automate production of dowel-laminated timber (DLT) for green construction projects.

DLT is made by mechanically fixing laminations of dimensional lumber to each other by a series of hardwood dowels creating a high-quality all-wood product made without nails or glue. An automated production system will produce a higher-quality product than is achievable with the existing manual processes.

Harvesting dimensional lumber from western Canadian forests, including pine beetle affected forests, and using innovative wood technologies will result in more cost-effective processes by using 10 to 15 percent less material. Innovating with wood will become a valid substitute for concrete slabs and steel decking, with an appearance-grade finish for ceilings and soffits.

This project will result in 10 new jobs in the forest sector.

Click here for more information on this project.

2. Pacific Bioenergy Prince George Limited Partnership — $3,190,000

Pacific Bioenergy Prince George Limited Partnership is the first company in North America to design and install a system of clean forest residues, making a viable feedstock for its pellet plant in Prince George.

Wood pellets are an efficient, cost-effective alternative source of energy that can be used in power and heat applications. They are a renewable, solid fuel consisting of dried, compressed wood fibres. Innovating with wood in that way increases clean energy production by displacing fossil fuels and reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

This new cleaning system for raw materials removes debris such as dirt and rocks. Integrating it into the existing system will allow the use of a more accessible and diverse fibre supply at costs that are more competitive.

Forest biomass and unused wood, including material left in the forest following conventional logging operations, become a new, low-cost feedstock for the pellet production process. The process also reduces the potential of wildland fires by removing forest biomass otherwise left in the forest to decompose.

This project will result in enhanced job security for 52 employees at the facility and up to 14 new jobs created in the Prince George area.

Click here for more information on this project.

Indigenous Forestry Initiative Program Funding

The Indigenous Forestry Initiative (IFI) is a program that provides funding to support the economic development of Indigenous peoples in Canada. The activities funded promote greater participation by Indigenous communities in all natural resource sectors, especially the forest sector.

In June 2017, when the Government of Canada announced $867 million in measures through the Softwood Action plan, declared that it would also expand the IFI program with $10 million in funding over three years starting 2017–2018 in order to support workers and diversify the uses and markets for Canadian wood and wood products.

The Strategic Partnerships Initiative (SPI) for Indigenous Economic Development, led by Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada, supports Indigenous participation in the economy, with a particular focus on the forestry, fisheries, mining, energy and agriculture sectors.

Click here for more information about the IFI program and here for more information about SPI.

3. Tsay Keh Dene CHP Biomass Energy — $25,000

The Tsay Keh Dene CHP Biomass Energy project will assess the feasibility of using bioenergy to reduce the reliance of the Tsay Keh Dene community on diesel fuel. The biomass plant will employ Organic Rankin Cycle (ORC) technology, as this technology is able to use a variety of fuels. The fuel will come from nearby forest tenures and excess debris from the Williston Reservoir.

The funding will serve to support analysis of energy consumption and financial viability that will allow the community to develop a request for proposals to various clean energy consulting companies.

4. Gitxsan Development — $1,165,000


The Gitxsan Development Corporation (GDC) has received funding to implement a series of scans and activities to lay the foundation for the Gitxsan people to participate in and benefit from major resource projects occurring within, and near, their territory.

During this project, the GDC created Gitxsan Safety Services, which with additional funding from Western Economic Diversification, netted $7.9 million in sales last year, created employment for 120 people and won the BC Business Achievement Award for 2016. In addition, the GDC won the BC Business of the Year Award for 2017.

The GDC are also scoping a proposed bioheat demonstration project that would service a hospital in Haida Gwaii, with local Indigenous partners, BC Hydro and BC Northern Health.

5. Kwadacha First Nation — $143,000

2016–2017 Bioenergy Project – $98,000

Kwadacha Nation has relied on diesel generators to produce electricity and propane to provide heat. Over the past six years, Kwadacha Nation has been working on an energy conservation and green heat strategy, which includes development of a renewable bioenergy system.

Kwadacha Nation has now installed a Combined Heat and Power (CHP) bioenergy system in the community to be fueled using local biomass. Heat from the combined heat and power bioenergy plant will be used for a District Energy System connected to the community school and residences.

In 2016–17, IFI provided funding to investigate the fuel supply and storage required for feedstock to power the community bioenergy system. Activities were:

  • Short-term timber supply and permit identification
  • Complete harvesting and silviculture plans
  • Examine and recommend long-term timber supply
  • Analyze chip feedstock supply
  • Chip storage and handling Procedure Manual and Storage Design
  • Create designs for log yard, chip production and storage area layout

2017–2018 Bioenergy Review and Feasibility Studies — $45,000

Kwadacha has successfully activated a green-energy initiative in the community that uses local beetle-killed timber to fuel a bioenergy plant for the generation of electricity and heat. This bioenergy plant, being the first of its kind in operation in North America, has provided a wealth of information that would be useful for other remote and rural communities looking to further their own green-energy alternatives.

The funding to Kwadacha will serve to undertake a review and prepare a report of their experiences and lessons learned.

Kwadacha has discovered one challenge of heating with bioenergy — finding ways to dispose of the piles of residual fine wood waste. They will also complete a feasibility study to investigate solutions to utilize the wood waste that is a byproduct of the bioenergy plant.


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