Investments in Forest Industry Transformation (IFIT)

What is IFIT?

The Investments in Forest Industry Transformation (IFIT) program offers non-repayable contributions to successful applicants in the Canadian forestry industry to implement innovative, first-in-kind technologies in their facilities. The goal of the program is to provide funding for projects at the pilot to commercialization phase, with the intent of helping these technologies get to market.

Since 2010, the Program has issued three separate calls for proposals. This has resulted in funding being provided to 28 projects to date with 80% of them creating new products or diversifying product offerings at Canadian companies. These projects include bioenergy, biomaterials, biochemicals and next generation building products. They are true Canadian innovation success stories.

In June 2017, the Government of Canada announced it would extend the IFIT program with $55 million in funding over three years (starting in 2017-2018). For more information about the announcement, please visit the softwood lumber backgrounder. This continued commitment will help bring the next wave of innovation to market and will solidify Canada’s position as a leader in forest industry transformation.

Call for proposals #4 is now closed

We appreciate your interest in the Investments in Forest Industry Transformation program. Our 4th Call for Proposals is now closed. If you have any questions, please contact the IFIT team.

Benefits of IFIT funded-projects

Infographic: IFIT projects - 2010-2016 programs success. Text version follows.

Download the graphic (PDF)

Text version

Graphic of a cityscape with smoke stacks and cars and a bus on the street with text indicating 3 calls for proposal for IFIT and the 186 applications the program received valued at $3.9 billion.

Graphic of a man in overalls holding a shovel and planting a tree indicating that 28 projects were selected for IFIT in 7 provinces.

Graphic of trees, plus pots of flowers with money symbols ($) indicating the average IFIT project cost of $19 million, the average IFIT contribution of 24% of project costs, the average payback period of 5.4 years, the average new revenues per year of $14.2 million and the average project return on investment of 22.7%.

Graphic of a green cityscape with buildings that have solar panels along with windmills and fuel-efficient cars with text indicating the economic impact of IFIT including 4900 jobs in the forest sector, 280 new jobs, 1,000,000 hours of temporary construction employment, 13 world-first technologies commercialized and 74% of projects that developed new or diversified products.

Graphic of a green cityscape in the future indicating the environmental impact of IFIT including reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 150 kilotonnes per year and increasing Canada’s green electricity by 40 gigawatt-hours per year.

Graphic of hands holding the earth with houses, solar panels, a gas pump, windmill and trees on top and two arrows beside the earth going in opposite directions to indicate that IFIT is forward thinking and that its projects have demonstrated positive economic and environmental impacts and that the program has helped push projects to the commercialization phase and has brought new technologies to market.

Funded projects benefit the environment by:

  • Reducing greenhouse gas emissions
  • Increasing Canada’s green electricity production
  • Creating advanced energy efficient building materials
  • Generating renewable alternatives to fossil fuel-based products
  • Producing renewable fuels, such as biogas
  • Commercializing innovative products made from renewable resources
  • Reducing water and waste and creating effluent treatment efficiency

Funded projects benefit communities by:

  • Creating new jobs and development opportunities
  • Securing jobs in forest resource-dependent communities

Funded projects benefit companies in ways such as:

  • Generating new revenues
  • Reducing internal costs
  • Commercializing Canadian and world-first technologies in Canada
  • Developing new or diversified products
  • Allowing them to generate new patents

History of the IFIT program

IFIT was launched in 2010 to address a critical need for capital investment in new technologies by providing non-repayable contributions of up to 50% of a project’s costs for the demonstration of innovative technologies at the pilot to commercial scale in the Canadian forest industry.

The program focuses on this stage of a project because public funds are often available to support research and development as a given technology matures from concept to prototype development, but once it comes time to construct a pilot, demonstration and/or first-commercial facility, such funding tends to be less available.  Access to funding then increases again once the commercial potential of a new technology has been fully demonstrated and is able to attract private investors. This gap in available investment to demonstrate and deploy technology is typically referred to as “the Valley of death”. IFIT aims to help get these technologies past this stage.

The high number of applications received in response to previous calls for proposals demonstrates the great appetite in the Canadian Forestry Industry to bring innovative, world-first projects into the sector.

From 2010 to 2015, the program issued three calls for proposals and received in response 186 applications.  When added together, the applications were asking for a total of $1.1 billion from the IFIT program, and represented nearly $4 billion in project spending.  As the IFIT program was allocated a total of $190.4 million of funding between 2010 and 2018, these applications were requesting more than five times the amount of IFIT funds available.

Please consult the IFIT Performance Report (2010-2014) and IFIT Performance Report (2015-2016) for detailed results.

For more information, please email the IFIT team.