ATIKOKAN – The Ontario government is investing $19.6 million to boost the economy and encourage innovation in the forest sector with the launch of a new Forest Biomass Program. This application-driven initiative is designed to harness the economic potential and environmental benefits of new and emerging uses of underutilized wood and mill by-products, otherwise known as forest biomass.
“This new program brings positive news for Ontario’s forestry industry, its workforce, local communities, and the environment,” said Graydon Smith, Minister of Natural Resources and Forestry. He added that the government’s Forest Biomass Program will bolster job creation, stimulate local prosperity, and encourage sustainable practices vital to forest product operations.
Informed by feedback from the public, Indigenous communities, and industry stakeholders, the program aims to provide targeted support to cultivate Ontario’s forest bioeconomy.
Kevin Holland, MPP for Thunder Bay – Atikokan, highlighted the significance of this initiative, stating, “The Forest Biomass Program will fortify the forestry sector, which is a key economic driver in Northwestern Ontario and plays a pivotal role in building Ontario. This program will enhance resource usage, stimulate research, and promote Indigenous economic prosperity across the region.”
The program seeks to support projects aimed at increasing wood harvesting from Crown forests, job creation in the forest sector, regional economic growth, and discovering innovative applications for wood in cooperation with stakeholders, industry, and Indigenous communities.
The Forest Biomass Program comprises four distinct streams, aiming to position Ontario as a pioneer in the innovative uses of forest biomass:
- Indigenous Bioeconomy Partnerships to enhance Indigenous involvement in forest biomass opportunities and associated economic benefits.
- Exploring Biomass Pathways to aid the public and private sectors in researching technical, financial, and scientific aspects of forest biomass use.
- Innovative Bioproduct Manufacturing to expand the use of forest biomass in manufacturing, infrastructure, energy services, and resource extraction.
- Modernization to facilitate forest sector transformation, competitiveness, and participation through the use of forest biomass.
In the upcoming summer, the program will start accepting applications from businesses, municipalities, Indigenous communities, and not-for-profit organizations located in Ontario. These entities should have a project aimed at increasing the use of forest biomass and enhancing the forest biomass supply chain.
The Forest Biomass Program aligns with the government’s Forest Sector Strategy and Forest Biomass Action Plan, aiming to fortify the forest sector through technological innovation and expanded use of forest biomass.
To learn more about the program, visit: https://ontario.ca/page/forest-biomass-program