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Ontario seeks to grow forest biomass sector

Province posts draft forest biomass action plan
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All the challenges and opportunities surrounding forestry biomass in Ontario are laid out in a draft action plan now available for public consumption and feedback.

The Forest Biomass Action Plan is one component of the provincial government's forestry strategy rolled out last August.

With mill by-products and forest biofibre, the government wants to generate more investment, encourage more innovation, create jobs and make Ontario's $17.6-billion forest sector more sustainable.

These by-products are often used in heat and power generation application and low-carbon consumer products.

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The Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry said the objections of this draft plan were developed based on discussions with a working group of people involved in the forest biomass supply chain.

The draft action plan outlines five objectives:

  •  identifying pathways to markets for forest biomass
  • supporting demand for forest bioenergy and bioproducts
  • improving the business and regulatory environments for the use of forest biomass
  • supporting holistic, culturally relevant pathways for Indigenous community involvement in forest biomass value chains to support reconciliation between Indigenous communities and the Crown
  • communicating, collaborating and informing on forest biomass opportunities.

“In our forest sector strategy, our government committed to helping Ontario’s forest industry reach its full potential, through recovery and into the future,” said Natural Resources and Forestry Minister John Yakabuski.

“Expanding the use of forest biomass is essential to the competitiveness of the forest industry and will further assist in meeting an increased demand for dimensional lumber and other wood products,” said Ontario Forest Industries Association CEO Ian Dunn.

“This plan will create jobs and promote sustainable economic development, which OFIA and its member companies are deeply committed to. OFIA is pleased to see the government continue to make progress on the goals set out in the Forest Sector Strategy.”

Consultation on the draft Forest Biomass Action Plan through the Environmental Registry will close June 21. Additional comments received will be considered as the government completes further consultations with Indigenous partners.