Expanding Market Opportunities Program


In June 2017, the Government of Canada announced it would extend the Expanding Market Opportunities program with $45 million in funding over three years (starting in 2017-2018). For more information, please visit the softwood lumber backgrounder.

This new funding extends and builds on $240 million in federal investments for wood products market development made since 2012.

The Expanding Market Opportunities Program (EMO) has two components:

  • an Offshore Markets component, the goal of which is to maintain and grow international forest product markets while promoting Canadian forest products as an environmentally responsible choice;
  • a North American component, the goal of which is to expand wood use in the North American non-residential and mid-rise construction market and position Canada as a world leader in sustainable forest management and a preferred source of sustainable forest products.

Most projects funded under EMO are cost-shared with industry and other partners, with Natural Resources Canada (NRCan) providing up to 50% of eligible project costs.

EMO combines activities previously delivered under three separate forest sector–related programs that no longer exist as stand-alone programs: the Canada Wood Export Program (first established in 2002 and focused on offshore markets), North American Wood First Initiative (first established in 2007, focused on North American markets) and Leadership in Environmental Advantage in Forestry (first established in 2007, focused on highlighting the environmental credentials of Canadian forest products for buyers in Asia, Europe and North America).

Offshore Markets component

This component of EMO funds activities that help Canadian wood producers diversify and expand export opportunities for their products in traditional and emerging overseas markets, including Europe, Japan, China, South Korea and India.

Nature and type of initiatives or projects funded

This component will focus on three elements:

  • Infrastructure – Expanding industry presence in international markets (existing offices in Shanghai, Beijing, Tokyo, Seoul, London and Toulouse will be maintained, and new offices may be opened as dictated by market demand). While the majority of these funds will be delivered under contribution agreements, NRCan will pursue collaboration with other federal departments and provinces (through such mechanisms as letters of agreements, interdepartmental transfers using operating funds) to establish a presence in new and emerging markets, such as India and the Middle East.
  • Branding – Increasing wood product knowledge of consumers, builders, architects and so on in international markets through market development projects (e.g., educational and promotional missions, trade fairs, market opportunity studies, seminars, wood demonstration projects and related activities, generic promotional brochures, technical literature).
  • Market access – Broadening technical support to address market access and regulatory issues in offshore markets that limit trade of Canadian forest products. These activities include developing technical information pertaining to international product standards and building code regulations for the recognition of Canada’s wood products and wood-frame building systems; addressing phytosanitary issues; providing technical support and training; and developing information supporting and promoting the environmental reputation of Canada’s sustainable forest management practices and policies.

North American Market component

This component of EMO is aimed at raising awareness among designers, architects, builders, code officials and various levels of government of the opportunities to use wood products and technologies in non-residential applications (e.g., schools, shopping centres and hospitals) in North American markets.

It also provides the forest industry with the capacity to act on increasing the use of wood in non-residential and mid-rise construction in Canada through the funding of activities in support of building code changes to increase wood market opportunities.

Nature and type of initiatives or projects funded

This component will focus on two elements:

  • Non-residential aspect – EMO will work in collaboration with North American wood products associations to support projects to increase the use of wood products in North American non-residential (e.g., schools, shopping centres, hospitals) and mid-rise construction. An integrated program, including technical, educational, information and wood demonstration elements and related activities featuring new and innovative concepts, will be conducted and will be targeted at educating designers, specifiers and architects, code officials and various levels of government on opportunities for use of wood in non-residential and mid-rise applications. Funding will support projects on a national and regional basis within North America.

    In addition, support will be focused on technical research to address barriers to the use of wood in non-residential and mid-rise construction in the next edition of the National Building Code of Canada, as well as follow-up technical tools to facilitate its implementation.

  • Environmental reputation – Under this component, EMO will work in collaboration with forest sector stakeholders to advance sustainable development and position Canada as a world leader in sustainable forest management and a preferred global source of sustainable forest products.

    Activities supported include the development of science and outreach products related to forest management in Canada’s boreal forest.

Who is eligible?

Eligible recipients under EMO include not-for-profit forest products associations, manufactured housing associations, provinces, provincial Crown corporations, and not-for-profit organizations engaged in forest product research.

How it works

Under EMO, a public call for proposals is issued once a year at the beginning of November, and applicants have until approximately the end of December to submit funding proposals for the following fiscal year (April through March). Separate calls for proposals will be issued at different times of the year for demonstration projects.

Proposals are evaluated against specific criteria by a panel of independent experts from the federal and provincial governments. The Annual Work Plan will be considered and approved by NRCan senior management. Natural Resources Canada staff then work with successful recipients to draw up contribution agreements and initiate projects.

To find out more

For more information, please contact NRCan’s Wood Markets Secretariat by phone at 343-292-8515.

You require a user account to submit a funding request under EMO and to access the electronic library which includes market development strategies.