THUNDER BAY – BUSINESSS – Today, MPP Bill Mauro, Thunder Bay-Atikokan will table ‘Ontario’s Wood First Act’ a Private Member’s Bill in the Ontario Legislature. “Ontario’s Wood First Act provides us with an opportunity to increase demand for Ontario forest products—and that would bring more jobs back to Northern Ontario. Our province has a huge construction industry. We can significantly increase the use of wood without pushing out the other players. BC has already shown that this type of policy can work. I’m confident that we can make it work in Ontario,” commented Bill Mauro.
Mauro’s bill promotes the use of wood as the primary building material in publicly funded buildings. The legislation would also require that Ontario’s Building Code increase the maximum height of wood-framed buildings from 4-storey to 6-storey.
In recent years, Canada’s forestry sector was hit by the new soft wood lumber agreement, the rising Canadian dollar, the collapse of the US housing market, the global recession, and a dramatic decline in the North American demand for newsprint. Without export demand, Canada’s forestry sector experienced a serious downturn.
By generating demand for forestry products within Ontario, this bill could bring jobs back to Northern Ontario’s forestry sector.
Ontario’s Wood First Act has a precedent: British Columbia passed legislation in 2009 promoting the use of wood as the primary building material in publicly funded buildings.
British Columbia has also amended their building code to allow wood framed buildings up to six stories.
Ontario’s Wood First Act will be debated in the Ontario Legislature on April 19th.