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2010/41 (a)

Backgrounder

Canada Establishes Itself as a Global Leader in Wood Construction and Technology


The Government of Canada’s Economic Action Plan (EAP) has taken unprecedented steps to support Canada’s forest and wood product sectors.

Factors such as weak markets and increased competition from offshore producers have created severe competitive pressures on Canada’s forest industry. These challenges have been compounded by the global economic downturn and the resulting tightening of credit markets. However, emerging products, technologies and markets are creating new possibilities for Canada’s forest communities.

Among emerging markets for Canadian wood products, few hold greater promise than China, where exports have increased twenty-fold over the past decade. To help develop the market for Canadian wood products in China, Natural Resources Canada is providing $5.7 million toward large-scale demonstration projects there. This investment is part of a $10-million funding package provided under the Economic Action Plan in support of domestic and offshore wood demonstration projects.

The projects include:

Vancouver Pavilion
The Vancouver Pavilion, located in the Urban Best Practices theme area of Shanghai’s Expo 2010, provides a unique opportunity to showcase Canadian wood products and wood construction techniques to an international audience.
Espace Montréal
Espace Montréal is also part of the exposition’s Urban Best Practices Area. The exhibit features Montreal’s Saint-Michel Environmental complex, a former landfill site that is now a large award-winning urban park. Espace Montréal showcases eastern Canadian wood products, including panels, beams and flooring.
The Shanghai Affordable Housing Program
China’s $141-billion National Affordable Housing Initiative will account for 20 percent of all new urban housing construction until 2011. Shanghai and Canadian officials signed an MOU last fall endorsing wood-frame construction as part of the Shanghai Affordable Housing Program. This project will feature wood-frame systems (roof trusses, partition walls and infill walls) in mid- and high-rise buildings.
Memorandum of Understanding (MOU)
In March 2010, the governments of Canada, British Columbia and China signed an MOU to promote wood-frame construction as a means of improving energy efficiency in China’s construction sector.

NRCan is supporting collaborative research and the development and adaptation of wood-frame building systems as China works toward implementing energy-efficient construction with a low-carbon footprint.
Canada–British Columbia Wenchuan Earthquake Reconstruction Project
In addition to the demonstration projects, Canada has invested $3 million in the $8-million Canada–British Columbia Wenchuan Earthquake Reconstruction Project to help rebuild public buildings in Sichuan province, which was devastated by the May 2008 earthquake. Key projects include the Xiang’e Primary School in Dijiangyan, which opened last September; the Mianyang Rehabilitation Centre and School for the Disabled, to be completed summer 2010) the Beichuan Elderly Care Centre, to be completed in 2011; and an in-fill wall project in Chengdu.
Economic Action Plan
The Economic Action Plan includes $170 million, invested over two years, to help Canadian companies develop new products and processes and capitalize on new market opportunities, including:
  • $40 million to expand domestic and international markets for Canadian forest product
  • $80 million to support the development of next-generation forest products and another $40 million to develop pilot-scale demonstrations of these products, leading to commercial applications.

Three programs received renewed federal funding under the EAP’s Expanding Market Opportunities initiative: the Canada Wood Export Program (Canada Wood); the North American Wood First Initiative (Wood First); and the Value to Wood Program.

For further information on the Government of Canada’s work in support of Canada’s forest sector, visit www.canadaforests.nrcan.gc.ca.

Media may contact:

Richard Walker
Office of the Minister
Natural Resources Canada
Ottawa
613-996-2007

or

Media Relations
Natural Resources Canada
Ottawa
613-992-4447

NRCan's news releases and backgrounders are available at www.nrcan.gc.ca/media/index-eng.php.