Government of Canada invests in clean technology and Indigenous economic growth in British Columbia

News release

April 18, 2019 – Vancouver, British Columbia – Western Economic Diversification Canada
The forestry sector is an important part of Western Canada’s economy and creates jobs, business, and export opportunities, especially in rural and Indigenous communities.

Today, the Honourable Joyce Murray, President of the Treasury Board and Minister of Digital Government, on behalf of the Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development and Minister responsible for Western Economic Diversification Canada (WD), announced a combined total of more than $4 million towards two projects that will stimulate economic growth and is expected to create more than 300 jobs through innovations in the forestry sector.

The University of British Columbia (UBC) will receive $2.38 million towards the research and testing of clean technologies that generate renewable natural gas (RNG) from forest residues. This project will use clean technology to produce affordable fuel that can be used to power pulp mills or sold to export markets. The project is expected to create 238 jobs as mills adopt innovative RNG technology.

FPInnovations’ Indigenous Forest Technical Support Program will receive $1.65 million to improve the competitiveness of Indigenous businesses in the forestry sector. Funding will help Indigenous forestry companies facing technical, human or financial resource challenges to gain expertise and knowledge through practical plant visits and workshops. The project aims to enhance their opportunities for success, and is expected to create 100 new jobs and maintain 300 existing jobs.

These and other emerging technologies and business processes offer new ways of generating social, economic, and environmental value for Canadians from our forest resources. Canada’s Innovation and Skills Plan aims to build an economy in which Canadians have access to high-quality jobs and Canadian businesses are well-placed to participate in a rapidly evolving and competitive global marketplace.


“The Government of Canada is laying the foundation for Canadians to become more competitive and succeed in the global economy. Today’s investments in the University of British Columbia and FPInnovations build on our competitive advantages and will result in a more robust forestry sector, boosting economic growth, and creating good, middle-class jobs for Canadians.”

- The Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development and Minister responsible for Western Economic Diversification Canada

“British Columbia’s forestry sector is one of our economic strengths and supports middle class jobs across the province. We’re investing to support the sector through clean technology initiatives, Indigenous inclusion and sector sustainability will help ensure that the industry continues to thrive and prosper for generations to come.”

- The Honourable Joyce Murray, President of the Treasury Board and Minister of Digital Government

“B.C.’s forests have tremendous potential as a source of clean, renewable materials and energy as well as jobs, and UBC is supporting the BC Pulp and Paper Bio-Alliance to achieve that vision. This new investment will accelerate the research and testing that is bringing that vision to life – and ultimately help achieve carbon reduction targets for B.C. and Canada.”

- Professor Santa J. Ono, UBC President and Vice-Chancellor

“FPInnovations welcomes the commitment of Western Economic Diversification Canada and the Province of B.C. in supporting the sustainable growth of Indigenous forest sector businesses by co-funding FPInnovations’ Indigenous Forest Sector Technical Support Program. Furthermore, FPInnovations is proud to contribute toward solving environmental challenges through the development of new clean technologies.”

- Stéphane Renou, President and Chief Executive Officer, FPInnovations

Quick facts

  • In 2016, the forestry sector exported $13.7 billion worth of products, accounting for 34 per cent of all provincial exports.

  • Over 80 per cent of Indigenous communities are in forested areas.

  • UBC anticipates that the sector will benefit from $84 million in additional revenue as pulp mills retrofit operations to adopt RNG production.

  • FPInnovations anticipates that the project will attract $10 million in new capital investment for manufacturing capacity. 

Associated links


Ben Stanford
Regional Communications Manager
Western Economic Diversification Canada

Lou Bosshart
Media Relations Specialist
UBC Media Relations
The University of British Columbia

Severine Lavoie
Team Leader, Communications

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