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Investing in Canada’s Forest Sector – Forest Innovation Program and Expanding Market Opportunities Program (Voted)

General information
Name of transfer payment program Investing in Canada’s Forest Sector – Forest Innovation Program and Expanding Market Opportunities Program (Voted)
Start date March 12, 2009
End date March 31, 2020
Type of transfer payment Contribution
Type of appropriation Estimates
Fiscal year for terms and conditions 2016-17
Strategic Outcome 1 – Canada’s Natural Resource Sectors are Globally Competitive
Link to the department’s Program Alignment Architecture 1.1 – Market Access and Diversification > 1.1.2 – Forest Products Market Access and Diversification, and 1.2 – Innovation for New Products and Processes > 1.2.2 – Forest Sector Innovation
  1. Forest Innovation Program (FIP) aims to support sustainable natural resource development by enhancing the long-term economic opportunities for Canada's forest sector through increased investment in forest innovation.
  2. Expanding Market Opportunities (EMO) aims to maintain and grow international wood product markets, expand wood use in the North American non-residential and mid-rise construction market, and promote the strong environmental credentials of Canadian forest products.

These transfer payment programs do not have any repayable contributions.

Results achieved

Results achieved for FIP:
From April 1, 2017 to March 31, 2018, under the Transformative Technologies component of FIP, 8 new processes and products were developed by FPInnovations, Canada’s national forest research institute. Examples of new processes and products developed include:

  • A wall stud made out of wood fibre for use in partition walls, with equivalent performance as steel studs;
  • New engineered wood siding and wall panels using various wood-based materials that provide satisfactory acoustic and fire performance;
  • A provisional patent application was filed on the use of Cellulose Filaments (CF) as reinforcing fibre in cement board; and,
  • An environmental management process, the industry-wide Environmental Management System (iEMS) was established to help the industry address potential impacts on the environment, highlight environmental merits, and ensure Canadian wood products remain competitive and sustainable, by capturing forest management and land use data. 

Past achievements on TMP-Bio, a game-changing technology developed by FPInnovations, that converts wood chips into sugar and lignin platform biochemicals, has resulted in a nine-party consortium formed in November 2017, to build a pilot-scale plant for the TMP-Bio process in Thunder Bay, Ontario. TMP-Bio can potentially position the Canadian forest industry as a key player in the bioeconomy by enabling the production of everyday products using renewable bio-chemicals.

Results achieved for EMO:


Canadian wood product exports to targeted offshore markets (China, Korea, Japan and Europe) exceeded performance targets in 2017 - reaching $3.6 billion. This is an increase of 16.1% from 2011 base year value of $3.1 billion.
2017-18 offshore market development highlights include:

  • A joint statement on climate change and clean growth issued by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Chinese Premier Li Keqiang, in December 2017, which included a commitment to encourage the use of wood and wood products resulting from sustainable forestry practices, and to develop low carbon eco-district and multi-story and high-rise wood building demonstration projects.
  • The first wood midrise design competition in Japan, celebrating innovation and raising awareness of 4 to 6-storey 2x4 wood construction. Eight awards were presented in March 2018 during an event at the Canadian Embassy in Tokyo.
  • Completion of Gapyeong Canada Village, Korea’s largest wood-frame housing project. All 154 units in the project, including single-family homes, duplexes, townhomes and mixed use units, were built with Canadian spruce-pine-fir lumber.

Canadian wood products exports to emerging markets (India and Middle East) continue to show fluctuations and are highly impacted by global variables such as competitive pricing. In 2017, exports reached $64.5 million. This represents a decrease of 35% from the 2011 base year value of 99.3 million. However, emerging markets also continue to show great potential for growth, and market presence is essential to access economic benefits in the medium to long-term. In India, for example, 24 educational seminars, two networking events and 24 workshops were delivered in fiscal year 2017-2018 to architects, interior designers, manufacturers and wood importers.

North America

Technical advisors, funded through the EMO program, influenced the use of wood in 238 non-residential and mid-rise construction projects between April 1, 2017 and March 31, 2018, resulting in incremental wood sales of $163 million; and, delivered over 50,000 wood education hours to practitioners. These results are an all-time high for project conversions and wood sales.
2017-18 saw NRCan support:

  • Revisions to 6 key North American Wood Products Environmental Product Declarations (EPDs);
  • The initial phase of a multi-year national wood education road map that saw new accredited curricula, tools and eLearning capacity developed to bring post-secondary wood education in Canada on par with what is available for steel and concrete; and,
  • A report examining the relationship between firefighter injuries and building structures, which concluded that building properties, such as construction material and height, do not affect risk to firefighters, but fire safety measures do (fire detection devices, smoke alarms, and sprinklers).
Comments on variances

Expanding Market Opportunities program received additional funding in June 2017 under the Softwood Lumber Action Plan, which included funds for fiscal 2017-18. As a result, EMO allotted an additional $2.45 million for contributions.
Forest Innovation Program received additional funding in June 2017 under the Softwood Lumber Action Plan, which included funds for fiscal 2017-18. As a result, FIP allotted an additional $2.8 million for contributions.

Audits completed or planned

Completed an audit of the Expanding Market Opportunities Program in December 2016. Results are available publicly via the NRCan website: Audit of Expanding Market Opportunities in CFS
In 2017, an audit of the Transformative Technologies (TT) component under FIP, was completed. FPInnovations is the recipient of funding under the TT. The audit did not require any financial modifications and there were no significant issues raised regarding internal controls.

Evaluations completed or planned

Evaluation of FIP was completed as part of Forest Sector Innovation sub-program in 2014-15.
Evaluation of FIP is ongoing and expected to be completed in 2018-19.

Completed an evaluation of the CFS market access and development programs, including the Expanding Market Opportunities program (EMO), in fiscal year 2015-16. Results are available publicly via the NRCan website: Evaluation Report

Engagement of applicants and recipients

Eligible recipients include not-for-profit wood products associations (engaged in wood product promotion and exports), manufactured housing associations, provinces, provincial Crown corporations, and not-for-profit organizations engaged in wood products research.
EMO issued its call for proposals (CFP) by email on November 3, 2017, to all applicants registered in the program’s online system. The email included two background documents: the Handbook for Applicants and the Evaluation Process and Criteria. EMO also promoted the opening of the CFP process through the program’s webpage on the NRCan website.

Under the Transformative Technologies Program, FPInnovations is the only recipient, as provided for under the Terms and Conditions – hence there is no application process.

Performance information (dollars)
Type of transfer payment 2015‑16 Actual spending 2016‑17 Actual spending 2017‑18 Planned spending 2017‑18 Total authorities available for use 2017‑18 Actual spending (authorities used) Variance (2017‑18 actual minus 2017‑18 planned)
Total grants 0 0 0 0 0 0
Total contributions 33,101,721 30,259,720 31,200,000 36,510,000 36,429,258 5,229,258
Total other types of transfer payments 0 0 0 0 0 0
Total program 33,101,721 30,259,720 31,200,000 36,510,000 36,429,258 5,229,258

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