How is the forest sector changing?
Canada’s forest sector continues to adapt to changes in the global market for forest products. The COVID-19 pandemic exacerbated existing challenges for some industries such as newsprint manufacturing. For other industries such as engineered wood products, personal hygiene paper products, and bioeconomy products, the pandemic created new opportunities. A skilled and resilient forest sector labour force ensures that the sector can adapt to these changing markets, while also ensuring that the forest sector contributes to Canada’s transition to a low-carbon economy.
Key sustainability indicators
Explore the report to find information on the key sustainability indicators:
- Forest sector financial performance: Annual financial performance of Canada’s forest sector. Monitoring the financial performance of the forest sector indicates whether Canada’s forest sector can attract investment and continue generating economic benefits for Canadians.
- Forest sector secondary manufacturing: Annual gross domestic product (GDP) for primary and secondary wood and paper product subsectors. This indicator provides information on additional employment and revenue for the forest sector, providing a better idea of the forest sector’s overall contribution to the Canadian economy.
- Forest sector carbon emissions: Annual trends in fossil fuel greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and total energy use. Monitoring emissions and energy use provides data on how the forest sector can become more sustainable and provide climate solutions.
Download the report
(PDF, 10.2 MB)
Forest sector financial performance
Financial performance by Canada’s forest sector, 2011–2021
Canada’s forest sector operating profits were fairly stable for 2011 to 2012 at around $2 billion, then climbed steadily to nearly $8 billion in 2018. In 2019, operating profits dropped to about $2.3 billion, climbing suddenly back up to nearly $7.5 billion and nearly $14 billion in 2020 and 2021, respectively.
The forest sector’s return on capital employed grew from about 2% in 2011 to nearly 12% in 2018. In 2019 and 2020, return on capital employed experienced a sudden drop to around 4.5%, climbing back up to nearly 8% in 2021.
Table showing the operating profit, in millions of dollars, and the percentage return on capital employed of Canada’s forest sector for each year from 2011 to 2021.
|Year||Operating profits||Return on capital employed|
Forest sector secondary manufacturing
Gross domestic product from primary and secondary wood and paper product subsectors, 2011–2021
This graph shows the GDP, in billions of dollars, of primary and secondary wood product subsectors and of primary and secondary paper product subsectors for 2011 to 2021.
The GDP of the primary wood product subsector was about $4.5 billion in 2011 and steadily increased to $6.0 billion in 2016, remaining at this level until 2018. In 2019, this sector’s GDP started to decrease, reaching around $5 billion in 2020. In 2021, it saw a recovery back to about $5.7 billion.
Since 2011, the GDP of the secondary wood product subsector has remained steady between about $2.7 billion and $3.3 billion.
The GDP of the primary paper product subsector was around $5 billion in 2011 and steadily declined to about $4 billion in 2013. From 2014 to 2016, it remained steady at about $4.7 billion, but then decreased to about $3.5 billion in 2020, only slightly increasing in 2021.
The GDP of the secondary paper product subsector varied only slightly, growing positively and negatively but remaining consistently around $3 billion for this time period.
Table showing the gross domestic product, in billions of dollars, for primary and secondary wood product subsectors as well as for primary and secondary paper product subsectors for each year from 2011 to 2021.
|Year||Gross domestic product (billions of dollars)|
|Primary paper||Primary wood||Secondary paper||Secondary wood|
Forest sector carbon emissions
Fossil fuel greenhouse gas emissions and total energy use in Canada’s forest sector, 2005–2019
Total energy use in the forest sector steadily decreased from over 900 petajoules (PJ) in 2005 to just over 600 PJ in 2012, increasing until 2015 when it reached over 650 PJ. In 2016, the forest sector energy use declined slightly to about 630 PJ, increasing slightly again back to about 670 PJ in 2018 and 2019.
The forest sector’s GHG emissions decreased from around 25 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (Mt CO2e) in 2005 to under 14 Mt CO2e in 2012. Between 2012 and 2019, the sector’s GHG emissions have remained relatively stable around 13 Mt CO2e per year.
Table showing 1) the annual total energy use, in petajoules, of the forest sector and 2) the forest sector’s GHG emissions, in millions of tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent, from fossil fuels for each year from 2005 to 2019.
|Year||Total energy use (petajoules)||GHG emissions (million tonnes of CO₂ equivalent)|
Sources and information
See Sources and information in the downloadable report for detailed sources.
- Date modified: