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Government funding for wood mid-rises

Province opens window for applicants to mass timber program
Brock Commons tall-wood house, University of British Columbia

The Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources is taking applications for its Mass Timber Program to encourage the use of wood-framed mid-rise buildings of up to six storeys.

The province wants to see more construction projects that incorporate a full range of engineered wood products, such as wood panels and beams for floorings and tall structures.

Funding is available for potential pilot projects to showcase the commercial viability of innovative wood solutions in high-rises and other buildings.

It’s designed to appeal to developers, builders, researchers, educators, tradespeople, fire safety officials, and municipal building officials.

The program ties directly into a federal mass timber program launched by federal Natural Resources Minister Jim Carr in October.

Ottawa has put up $39.9 million through its Green Construction Through Wood (GCWood) program, which will be available next April.

For details on the program eligibility or to check on the status of applications, email

Applications are due December 6.

Queen’s Park says mass timber buildings reduce greenhouse gas emissions, store the wood’s carbon over a building’s lifespan, and generally mitigate climate change.

Two years ago, changes were made to the provincial building code to allow wood-framed buildings to reach the six-storey mark.

More than 35 such projects were constructed and the government said more are on the way.

The province is also talking about establishing a centre for mass timber innovation to do R & D through a partnership with a post-secondary institution by next April. There will also be a skills development and trades training component attached.

The federal mass timber funding follows the earlier federal Tall Wood Building Demonstration Initiative which resulted in the construction of the 18-storey Brock Commons at the University of British Columbia.

There will be changes coming to the National Building Code of Canada in 2020 and 2025 to allow tall buildings to go past six storeys to 12 and taller. Natural Resources Canada is taking direct expressions of interest program applications for wood-building projects of 10 storeys and above. The deadline is also Dec. 6.