PRINCE GEORGE – The Government of British Columbia is investing $7.8 million to promote the use of B.C. wood overseas, advance wood building systems and products, and expand global markets.
Bruce Ralston, Minister of Jobs, Trade and Technology, made the announcement Thursday at the Council of Forest Industries’ annual convention in Prince George. Doug Donaldson, Minister of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development, was also on hand to support the annual forest industry event.
“Expanding our international markets, especially in Asia, is crucial to the long-term success of B.C.’s forest sector,” said Ralston. “This funding support opens the door to more trade opportunities for B.C. companies, and will lead to greater innovation in the industry.”
Through an annual, competitive call for proposals process, 13 industry trade associations and research institutes were selected to receive funding and deliver market development, or wood innovation programs, on behalf of government and industry. B.C.’s contribution is being managed through Forestry Innovation Investment, the Province’s market development agency for forest products. The Province will cost-share these activities, with additional funding provided by B.C. industry and the federal government, through Natural Resources Canada.
“Building with wood has many benefits: its lower carbon footprint, its cost-effectiveness and its versatility,” said Donaldson. “The funding announced today will help continue to position British Columbia as a preferred supplier of environmentally friendly forest products.”
Of the $7.8 million, $5.985 million will be made available for activities targeted at expanding markets for B.C.’s wood products, with investment priorities that reflect evolving market opportunities in Asia and North America. The remaining $1.852 million will be made available for activities delivered through the Wood First program, which fosters the innovative use of wood and wood building systems in B.C. through research, education, marketing and capacity building.
“The collaborative approach between industry and government toward market development ensures that our sector remains competitive and that we can continue to develop and diversify opportunities for the sector in targeted export markets,” said Susan Yurkovich, president and CEO, Council of Forest Industries.
The B.C. forest sector directly employs more than 57,000 British Columbians and supports over 7,000 businesses. Provincial revenue generated through forestry is key to providing essential public services such as education, health care and infrastructure.
* In 2017, B.C. exported $14.1 billion in forest products (lumber, pulp and paper and other wood products), which represented 32% of B.C.’s total exports.
* Wood from B.C.’s sustainably managed forests is a homegrown solution, contributing to livable communities and local jobs.
* B.C. communities are incorporating wood innovation into public buildings, helping lower society’s carbon footprint and deliver value for taxpayers.
* Wood products from the Province’s sustainably managed forests help tackle climate change by being a renewable building material and a means to store carbon.
* B.C. is internationally recognized as a centre of excellence for wood building and design expertise. B.C.’s architects and engineers are recognized as global experts in taller and larger wood construction.
* Wood is now reaching over 80% market share for five- and six-storey mid-rise residential buildings in B.C.
* Canada is the international leader in sustainable forest management certification, with B.C. contributing more than any other province.