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Government of Canada Takes Action to Support the Implementation of Advanced Technologies in the Forest Sector
In support of the ongoing renewal of Canada’s forest sector, the Government of Canada is announcing the launch of the Investments in Forest Industry Transformation (IFIT) program, initially announced in Budget 2010 as the Next Generation Renewable Power Initiative. IFIT will lay the groundwork for a more economically viable and environmentally sustainable forest sector by investing in innovative technology platforms that lead to a more diversified, higher-value product mix. While traditional forest products will continue to play a large role in the future, investments in novel transformative technologies have the potential to open new opportunities for Canada’s forest industry and forest communities.
Investments in Forest Industry Transformation Program
The IFIT program builds upon previous federal investments in research, development and deployment of innovative technologies in the forest sector. The program also reflects a recent industry-government analysis led by Biopathways called Transforming Canada’s Forest Industry Products, which illustrated the need for transformation to increase industry revenues and generate consistent, sustainable profits over the long term.
A critical element of this transformation is the core concept of the “biorefinery,” which involves producing forest products and processing harvest and mill residues with greater efficiency to produce higher value co-products that include bioenergy, bio-chemicals and bio-materials. The IFIT program provides funding to help implement this vision and expands the federal forest sector innovation agenda to support promising, near-commercial technologies – a critical and often missing link in the realization of advancements in research and development.
The IFIT program is capped at $100 million and payments to Canadian industry will not exceed this total. Moreover, the funds must be spent over a four-year period on capital investments with the condition that the project advances, or increases in scale, the technology or application further than has been previously applied in Canada’s forest sector.
In addition, as the program is targeted at supporting the transformation of the forest sector, the technologies supported must utilize wood fibre, an abundant resource that provides the basis for renewable energy and other bio-products.
The information and experience gained through the projects funded under the program will benefit the industry as a whole by building up technical capacity and reducing information gaps. This is expected to allow forest companies to attract additional capital from energy and chemical industry partners and provinces that have shown a strong interest in developing bio-based industries.
In addition to its ongoing support of Canada’s forest industry, the Government of Canada is providing $170 million over two years under Canada’s Economic Action Plan to help companies develop new products and processes and take action on new market opportunities internationally. The $1-billion Community Adjustment Fund and the $1-billion Community Development Trust are helping to mitigate the short-term impacts of economic restructuring in communities hit hard by the recession. Further, the $1-billion Pulp and Paper Green Transformation Program was introduced to support qualified pulp and paper mills in improving their environmental performance, helping them to become leaders in energy efficiency and the production of renewable energy, and creating and sustaining jobs in the industry.
For more information on the Investments in Forest Industry Transformation program, visit www.forest-transformation.nrcan.gc.ca.
Media may contact:
Director of Communications
Office of the Minister
Natural Resources Canada
Natural Resources Canada
NRCan's news releases and backgrounders are available at www.nrcan.gc.ca/media/index-eng.php.
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