The Forest Products Association of Canada (FPAC) welcomes the Investments in Forest Industry Transformation (IFIT) performance report that underscores the impressive strides being made by the revitalized Canadian forest sector as it becomes more innovative and transformative.

The report was released yesterday by the Minister of Natural Resources, Greg Rickford, at the National Forest Innovation Summit underway in Kenora. The publication showcases innovative first-in-kind technologies now being integrated into forest mills that are creating a more prosperous, diverse and environmentally responsible forest products sector.

“IFIT is a game-changing program that has been a catalyst for industry transformation,” says David Lindsay, the President and CEO of FPAC. “It is helping de-risk the high-costs of moving innovative technology from the research to the commercial stage of development and in doing so is making our sector more internationally competitive.”

The report looked at four of the successful projects including the methanol purification project at Alberta-Pacific Forest Industries, and the strand screening plant at the Tolko mill in northern Saskatchewan that will allow the company to produce diverse specialty and commodity products.

Industry interest in the program is reflected in the fact that the first two calls for proposals were heavily oversubscribed, with 107 applications valued at more than $2 billion. The initial IFIT program has been renewed with another $90 million and FPAC is hoping for more investments in transformation in the future.

“Under Vision2020, we have set the goal of generating an additional $20 billion in new products and markets by the end of the decade,” says Lindsay. “IFIT is a crucial help as we attempt to reach our ambitious goal.”

FPAC provides a voice for Canada’s wood, pulp, and paper producers nationally and internationally in government, trade, and environmental affairs. The $58-billion-a-year forest products industry represents 2% of Canada’s GDP and is one of Canada’s largest employers operating in hundreds of communities and providing 230,000 direct jobs across the country.