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Indicator: Production

Forest product production levels remained quite stable between 2017 and 2018. Production of both structural wood panels and printing and writing paper grew by 2.8%, while production of softwood lumber, newsprint and wood pulp fell slightly.

  • Production of structural wood panels grew for the ninth consecutive year. Between 2008 and 2018, panel production has grown 39%, approaching 2007 volumes.
  • Softwood lumber production fell by 2.3% in 2018. Changing market conditions and fibre availability are largely responsible for this small decline, particularly in British Columbia where wildfires and the mountain pine beetle have affected the supply and cost of logs in the region.
  • Production of printing and writing paper increased for the first time since 2013.

Canada is the world’s largest producer of newsprint, the largest producer of northern bleached softwood kraft pulp and the second-largest producer of softwood lumber.

Production of Canadian forest products, 2008–2018



Graph summaries

Canadian newsprint production has been slowly decreasing from 2008 to present. Canadian printing and writing paper production has been slowly decreasing from 2008 to present with overall production being slightly lower than newsprint production. Wood pulp production has fluctuated from 2008 to present but is generally decreasing. The production of wood pulp is consistently four times higher than newsprint production.

Softwood lumber production decreased from 2008 to 2009, increased from 2009 through 2017 and slightly decreased from 2017 to present. Structural wood panel production decreased slightly from 2008 to 2009, consistently and slowly increased from 2009 to 2016 and plateaued to the present.

Graph data
Table below displays, in millions of tonnes, the production volume of newsprint, printing and writing paper, and wood pulp for each year between 2008 and 2018.
Year Newsprint Printing and writing paper Wood pulp
2008 5.99 5.27 20.37
2009 4.38 4.43 17.10
2010 4.64 4.07 18.54
2011 4.38 3.77 18.29
2012 3.87 3.31 17.15
2013 3.97 3.47 17.25
2014 4.01 3.26 16.96
2015 3.51 3.04 16.55
2016 3.34 3.00 16.51
2017 3.05 2.98 16.30
2018 3.00 3.06 16.17
Table below displays, in millions of cubic metres, the production volume of softwood lumber and structural wood panels for each year between 2008 and 2018.
Year Softwood lumber Structural wood panels
2008 56.00 6.61
2009 44.23 5.39
2010 51.92 5.99
2011 51.94 6.25
2012 54.54 6.70
2013 57.51 7.13
2014 57.72 7.69
2015 62.51 7.97
2016 65.70 8.73
2017 66.24 8.92
2018 64.74 9.17

Why is this indicator important?

  • Canada is one of the top manufacturers of forest products in the world.
  • Production is one of the first indicators to be influenced by economic and market challenges.

What is the outlook?

  • As the United States housing market continues to grow, the demand for softwood lumber and structural panels will follow suit in 2019. However, production of softwood lumber could continue to be limited by fibre shortages caused by pest outbreaks and wildfires in Western Canada. Challenges are expected for plywood producers over the year because of high log costs and increasing competition from South American and Asian producers, such as those in Brazil and Indonesia.
  • Production of wood pulp is expected to remain stable or decline slightly, while printing and writing paper and newsprint production are expected to continue their decline.

What reporting frameworks does this indicator support?

Two men in protective clothing working in a sawmill.
Sources and information
  • APA – The Engineered Wood Association. Quarterly production reports.
    • The production and consumption data of structural panels (plywood and oriented strand board) are from APA – The Engineered Wood Association.
  • Pulp and Paper Products Council.
    • Production and consumption figures for newsprint, printing and writing paper, and wood pulp are based on data of the Pulp and Paper Products Council.
  • Statistics Canada. Table 16-10-0045-01 (formerly CANSIM 303-0064): Lumber, production, shipments and stocks, monthly. (accessed March 5, 2019).
    • Data used for lumber production include total softwood production for Canada.
Photo credit
  • Industrial timber manufacturing facility. Photo by nattrass/iStock by Getty Images.

Table of contents — The State of Canada's Forests Report

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