Forest Products Association of Canada CEO Derek Nighbor addressed the Standing Committee on Natural Resources in support of South Okanagan–West Kootenay MP Richard Cannings’ private members Bill C-354 that would require the federal government to make wood the building material of choice for government projects.

“In passing this bill, the government will send a clear signal that governments around the world have already recognized — that wood is a safe, durable and high-performing material that fares well against competing materials in building construction,” said Nighbor, adding that the Bill will also help government achieve its’ greenhouse gas emission reduction targets committed under the Paris Climate Agreement. “If Canada wants to make real headway in reducing GHGs, a procurement strategy focused on reducing the carbon footprint of construction materials represents a real opportunity.”

The proposed Bill would require that in the awarding of certain contracts for the construction, maintenance or repair of public works, federal property or federal immovables, the Minister shall give preference to projects that promote the use of wood, taking into account the associated costs and reductions in greenhouse gas emissions. It passed Second Reading in the House of Commons by a vote of 217-75.

Nighbor thanked MP Cannings for his leadership in bringing Bill C-354 forward, adding its passage would position Canada well against other countries who have already adopted similar practices.

“We have already seen countries like Germany, The Netherlands, and Switzerland make moves to advance green building procurement, so there are many examples and ideas to draw from,” said Nighbor.