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Indicator: Production of forest products

Production of both solid wood products and pulp and paper products decreased between 2018 and 2019. Within the solid wood products subsector, softwood lumber production decreased by 10.4% and structural panel production fell by 7.8%. Within the pulp and paper subsector, wood pulp production decreased by 4.9%, while newsprint and printing and writing paper continued to decline, falling by 10.8% and 14.6%, respectively.

  • Significant challenges in 2019, such as fibre shortages in British Columbia; decreased demand for pulp, newsprint and printing and writing paper; and low commodity prices led to production declines.
  • The significant number of sawmill closures or curtailments further affected feedstock availability for structural panels and wood pulp, compounding their challenges.

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, 2009 to 2019

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Graph summaries

Graph 1: The production of Canadian newsprint slowly declined from about 4.5 million tonnes (Mt) in 2009, to about 2.5 Mt in 2019. Production of printing and writing paper also decreased from about 4.5 Mt in 2009, to about 2.5 Mt in 2019. Wood pulp production volumes had mild variability between 2009 and 2019, but overall decreased from about 17 Mt in 2009 to about 15 Mt in 2019.


Graph 2: Softwood lumber production increased between 2009 and 2017, from about 44 to 65 million cubic metres (m3). Production volumes decreased in both 2018 and 2019. In 2019, Canada produced about 57 million m3 of softwood lumber. Structural wood panel production consistently increased by small amounts each year from 2009 to 2018, going from about 5 million m3 to about 9 million m3. Panel production decreased in 2019, to about 8.5 million m3.

Graph data
Table showing the production volume, in millions of tonnes, of newsprint, printing and writing paper, and wood pulp for each year from 2009 to 2019
Year Newsprint Printing and writing paper Wood pulp
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 3.07 16.18
2019 2.68 2.62 15.39
 
Table showing the production volume, in millions of cubic metres, of softwood lumber and structural wood panels for each year from 2009 to 2019
Year Softwood lumber Structural wood panels
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 57.78 7.69
2015 62.72 7.97
2016 65.03 8.73
2017 65.13 8.92
2018 64.38 9.17
2019 57.65 8.45

Why is this indicator important?

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

What is the outlook?

  • While some improvements were expected in 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic and its economic aftershock will likely delay the recovery of lumber production, and possibly accelerate the decline of newsprint and printing and writing paper production. The breadth of the impact remains uncertain.

What reporting frameworks does this indicator support?

 
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 Lumber, production, shipments and stocks, monthly (x 1,000). (accessed March 5, 2020).
  • Statistics Canada. Table 16-10-0017-01 Lumber production, shipments, and stocks by species, monthly (x 1,000). (accessed March 5, 2020).
    • Data used for lumber production include total softwood production for Canada.
    • In January 2019, Statistics Canada noted that they made changes to the sampling and estimation methods for the monthly Sawmills survey, which is the source of the softwood lumber production data for this indicator. As a result of these changes, Statistics Canada replaced Table 16-10-0017-01 with Table 16-10-0045-01 as of January 2019. See The Daily for more information.
    • Lumber production data for years 2009 to 2013 (inclusive) comes from the older Table 16-10-0045-01.
    • Lumber production data for years 2014 to 2019 (inclusive) comes from the newer Table 06-10-0017-01.
    • Because of changes in sampling and estimation methods in the Sawmills survey, readers should exercise caution in comparing data from different sources directly.
 

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

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