Region Archives: Canada East

Business & Politics

Financial Assistance for Northern Initiatives: Calls for Projects

By Quebec Société du Plan Nord
Cision Newswire
February 21, 2024
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada East

QUÉBEC — Quebec’s Minister of Natural Resources and Forests Maïté Blanchette Vézina, alongside the Société du Plan Nord, has announced a major initiative to boost development in the province’s northern territories. With a substantial $89.3 million fund, organizations and businesses are invited to submit project proposals aimed at fostering sustainability and prosperity north of the 49th parallel. Applications are now open, marking a significant step in Quebec’s commitment to advancing economic growth in its northern regions, Vézina said in a statement. As part of this program, a total of $60 million is available for 2023-2028. Applications are now open for organizations and businesses.

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Forests Ontario Welcomes Four New Members to Board of Directors

By Forests Ontario
Cision Newswire
February 15, 2024
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada East

Carol Walker Hart, Dan Marinigh, Will Martin, and Kim Rapagna

BARRIE, ON – At Forests Ontario’s Annual General Meeting on Wednesday, February 7, 2024, the organization welcomed four new members to its Board of Directors: Carol Walker Hart, Dan Marinigh, Will Martin, and Kim Rapagna. Forests Ontario would like to thank outgoing Directors Gail Beggs, Bob Hyland, David Sisam, and Riet Verheggen for their service and commitment to forest restoration, stewardship, awareness, and education. The four new Directors join Forests Ontario at an exciting time in the organization’s history. This past fall, the Honorable Jonathan Wilkinson, Minister of Energy and Natural Resources, announced an investment of over $61 million that will see 31 million trees planted across Canada by 2031 through Forests Ontario’s national division, Forest Recovery Canada. …The new Directors will also have the opportunity to join Ontario’s largest forestry conference at Forests Ontario’s 2024 Annual Conference on February 28, 2024, in Vaughan, Ontario.

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Cascades shutters Quint West, Belleville plants; 230 layoffs announced

By Derek Baldwin
The Belleville Intelligencer
February 13, 2024
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada East

ONTARIO — Cascades announced Tuesday it is shuttering its two containerboard-packaging facilities in Quinte West and Belleville. The layoffs will impact Cascades’ Trenton carboard-manufacturing mill on the east side of the Trent River – formerly known as Domtar — as well as Cascades Belleville operations. The Trenton facility has been idle since last month. Up to 150 workers will be affected in Trenton while a further 80 have received layoff notices in Belleville, confirmed Hugo D’Amours, Cascades VP of communications. …“The market environment as well as the operating costs … are forcing us to announce the closures,” he said, noting a third plant is being closed in Connecticut. …Trenton workers are represented by UNIFOR and Belleville employees are represented by Independent Paperworkers of Canada Local 7. …“The annual production capacity of the equipment to be shut down is 175,000 short tons of corrugated medium and 500 million square feet of corrugated packaging,” the company stated.

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Cascades announces closure of its containerboard operations

By Cascades Inc.
Cision Newswire
February 13, 2024
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada East

KINGSEY FALLS, QC– Cascades announces an operational realignment and optimization of its Containerboard Packaging platform. The currently idled Trenton (Ontario) corrugated medium mill will not restart operations, while the Belleville (Ontario) and Newtown (Connecticut) converting plants will be permanently closed, in a progressive manner, by May 31, 2024. Following recent strategic investments in the Bear Island mill and its converting network, production from these facilities will be moved to other units with available capacity and more modern equipment. The annual production capacity of the equipment to be shut down is 175,000 short tons of corrugated medium and 500 million square feet of corrugated packaging. 

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Cascades closing two plants in Ontario, one in Connecticut

Canadian Press in Global News
February 13, 2024
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada East

Cascades Inc. is closing three plants as part of changes to its containerboard operations that will affect 310 employees. The paper and packaging company says its corrugated medium mill in Trenton, Ont., that is currently idled will not restart operations, while converting plants in Belleville, Ont., and Newtown, Conn., will close by May 31. It says it decided to close the facilities due to a combination of market conditions, higher operating costs, aging technology and the need for significant capital investment. Cascades will work with the impacted employees to mitigate, where possible, the effect of the closures.

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Element5 receives strategic investment from the HASSLACHER Group

Element5
February 13, 2024
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada East

Toronto (Canada), Sachsenburg (Austria) – The HASSLACHER Group is acquiring a stake in Element5, a mass timber producer specializing in the design, manufacture, and assembly of modern engineered timber buildings, based in St. Thomas, Ontario. Element5 employs over 100 people and produces cross-laminated timber and structural solutions for the North American market. The HASSLACHER Group is a leader in the European timber industry, an innovation driver in wood processing, and is taking this important strategic step to strengthen and grow its position in the North American market. …With the investment in Element5, the HASSLACHER Group is the first European company to invest in the development and expansion of mass timber production capacity in the North American market. The HASSLACHER Group investment will fund the start-up of a new state-of-the-art glulam line allowing Element5 to produce a full range of machined glulam beams, columns, and assemblies. 

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U.S. duties hike on Canadian softwood lumber could lead to higher prices on both sides of the border

By Andrew Cruikshank
Cottage Life
February 7, 2024
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada East

Last week, the U.S. Department of Commerce signalled its intention to raise current duties on Canadian softwood lumber, further aggravating a trade dispute that stretches back more than 40 years. …Softwood lumber has become one of the most enduring trade disputes between Canada and the U.S., tracing its history back to 1982. …But the Montreal Economic Institute has found that the only people benefitting from the U.S. imposed duties on Canadian softwood lumber are American lumber producers. In Canada, the duties have had detrimental effects on the country’s forestry sector. …And between 2017 and 2021, the U.S. government collected $5.6 billion in duties. With a limited supply of Canadian softwood lumber being imported, U.S. consumers are also suffering. …According to the MEI, U.S. consumers are hurt 26 times more by the duties than Canadian lumber producers. In 2017, U.S. consumers lost the equivalent of $1.56 billion due to inflated prices caused by the duties.

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Workers excluded from Quebec government’s forestry roundtables

Unifor Canada
February 7, 2024
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada East

Unions representing workers in Quebec’s forestry sector say the Ministère des Ressources naturelles et des Forêts (MRNF) is going in the wrong direction for forestry sector consutlations. Unifor, United Steelworkers, the Centrale des syndicats démocratiques (CSD) and the Fédération de l’industrie manufacturière (FIM-CSN) were united in their denunciation of the MRNF’s process. Last November, the MRNF launched a wide-ranging consultation and review of the “future of the forest”. However, there is no mention of the crucial issues facing forestry workers. Unifor says the roundtables must allow workers to address key issues including: the impacts of the transformation of management practices, shrinking forest potential, climate volatility and economic uncertainty. …In addition, union leaders point out that the current process is taking place in the absence of a caribou strategy, which can only inhibit the development of a comprehensive policy for forests.

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Judge rules in favour of big timber companies in Aboriginal title claim

By John Chilibeck
The Daily Gleaner in the Penticton Herald
February 8, 2024
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada East

The owners of New Brunswick’s big timber companies are breathing a sigh of relief after a judge presiding over a large Indigenous title claim ruled in their favour on an important legal question. In a decision issued Feb. 1, Justice Kathryn Gregory upheld a motion filed by three industrial defendants asking that she strike the request of the six Wolastoqey Nations in New Brunswick to issue certificates of pending litigation against the thousands of acres of land they use for commercial timber operations. Those certificates, if issued, would have made it very difficult for the defendants to keep running timber operations, particularly if they were seeking business loans. The defendants, which include J.D. Irving, H.J. Crabbe and Sons, Acadian Timber, Irving Oil, AV Group and Twin Rivers, own more than 5,000 parcels of land that are part of the title claim, which the judge described as more than half of the province’s territory.

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Unions Denounce Quebec Government’s Disregard of Workers in Key Consultations on Forestry Sector’s Future

By Clairandrée Cauchy
United Steelworkers Communications
February 6, 2024
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada East

SAGUENAY, Quebec — A coalition of unions is denouncing a lack of consideration for crucial issues facing workers as the Quebec government launches regional consultations on the future of the forestry sector. The consultation process unveiled by the Quebec government is being heavily criticized by a forestry labour coalition…. Quebec labour groups offered their collaboration last November when Quebec’s Ministry of Natural Resources and Forests announced consultations on the future of the province’s forestry industry and its forests. However, the government has now unveiled priorities and issues to be addressed …and they do not include “crucial issues related to forestry workers,” the union coalition says. …“Quebec needs a vision for its forests and forestry sector, and this must include a recognition of the concerns and the expertise of workers in this sector,” said a statement by Unifor Quebec Director Daniel Cloutier, United Steelworkers Quebec Director Dominic Lemieux, CSD President Luc Vachon and FIM-CSN President Louis Bégin.

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Ontario Opposes Softwood Lumber Duties Harming Forest Sector

By Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry
The Government of Ontario
February 2, 2024
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada East

Graydon Smith

TORONTO — Graydon Smith, Minister of Natural Resources and Forestry, and Vic Fedeli, Minister of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade, issued the following statement regarding the latest U.S. decision on softwood lumber duties: “The Ontario government is renewing its call that all duties on Canadian softwood lumber exports should immediately be removed by the United States. Our government’s plan to build Ontario depends on the forest sector. It generates close to $21 billion in annual revenue and provides more than 142,000 direct and indirect jobs, supporting families and strong communities across our province. Ontario strongly disagrees with the U.S. Department of Commerce’s recent decision, which signals that duty rates on Canadian softwood lumber exports are likely to increase in the final determination expected later this year – these duties are harmful and unwarranted.

Related coverage in BNN: US-Canada Trade Relations Strained by Softwood Lumber Dispute

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Richard Tremblay Appointed President of Pulp and Tissue Business Unit at Paper Excellence Group

By Paper Excellence Group
PRNewswire
February 2, 2024
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada East

MONTREAL — The Paper Excellence Group today announced that it has appointed Richard Tremblay to President of its pulp and tissue business unit. The appointment is effective immediately. Throughout the last year, Mr. Tremblay has served as Senior Vice President, Pulp, Paper, and Tissue Operations within the Paper Excellence Group’s pulp and tissue business unit. Prior to the acquisition of Resolute Forest Products by the Paper Excellence Group, through its subsidiary Domtar Corporation, Mr. Tremblay was a valued Resolute leader, previously serving in numerous positions, including Senior Vice President, Pulp and Paper Operations. …The Pulp & Tissue business unit consists of all legacy Resolute pulp, paper and tissue operations as well as the non-integrated Paper Excellence Canada pulp mills. Mr. Tremblay will report to the Paper Excellence Group management board, chaired by Non-Executive Chairman John Williams.

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GreenFirst Announces Director Resignation

By GreenFirst Forest Products Inc.
Business Wire in Vancouver Sun
February 1, 2024
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada East

Rick Doman

TORONTO — GreenFirst Forest Products Inc. announces the retirement of Rick Doman from its Board of Directors, effective immediately. “We all thank Rick for his efforts at GreenFirst and we wish him well. The company would not exist without his early vision as a co-founder.” said Paul Rivett, GreenFirst’s Chair. In the coming weeks, GreenFirst will be planning to announce a number of expense reduction measures, including a reduction in the size of its Board of Directors in keeping with the reduced size and location of its operations. GreenFirst owns four sawmills located in rich wood baskets proudly operating over 6.1 million hectares of FSC® certified public Ontario forestlands.

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Finance & Economics

Acadian Timber reports positive Q4, 2023 results

Acadian Timber Corp.
February 7, 2024
Category: Finance & Economics
Region: Canada, Canada East

EDMUNDSTON, New Brunswick — Acadian Timber reported financial and operating results for the three months ended December 31, 2023 as well as for the full 2023 fiscal year. …Adjusted EBITDA for the year was $20.6 million, compared to $18.2 million in 2022. Acadian generated $15.0 million of Free Cash Flow during the year, compared to $12.2 million in 2022, and declared dividends of $19.8 million. Acadian’s balance sheet remains solid with $14.8 million of net liquidity as at December 31, 2023, which includes funds available under our credit facilities. …“Acadian performed well and generated solid results for 2023, despite challenges resulting from labour shortages, unfavourable weather conditions, and inflationary pressures,” commented Adam Sheparski, CEO.

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Wood, Paper & Green Building

Light-frame wood construction may help solve missing middle housing in the Greater Toronto Area

By Don Procter
The Daily Commercial News
February 20, 2024
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: Canada, Canada East

ONTARIO — A six-storey, light-frame wood condominium built in Milton, Ontario might be just the type of building to address the missing middle in the Greater Toronto Area. The design, fabrication and erection of the project were the topic of a recent seminar at the Light-Frame Wood Solutions Conference and trade show co-hosted by WoodWorks Ontario and the Ontario Structural Wood Association. The session covered Home Technology’s (HT) off-site fabrication at its Etobicoke automated plant through to the onsite panelized erection using light-frame timber and engineered wood. With a self-erecting crane on a small footprint, the six levels were installed in 10 weeks, said HT’s Ron Kekich. …While stair and elevator shafts were done in concrete, Kekich said cross-laminated timber stair and elevator shafts in future projects would speed up installation. …Steven Street, executive director of WoodWorks Ontario, said models along the lines of the Milton project could help address the province’s growing housing crisis.

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Timber gridshells an asset for contemporary architecture

By Myriam Drouin
The Canadian Architect
February 12, 2024
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: Canada, Canada East

Thanks to the emergence of modeling software, contemporary architecture has seen the rise of buildings with complex geometric shapes. Traditional construction methods however lack in agility to efficiently build these buildings. Timber gridshells become an interesting option to explore. Gridshells can be defined as a grid composed of members that behave like a hull. The two main families of gridshells, rigid and elastic, can be distinguished by the building erection process. Elastic grids are formed from a flat network of continuous, unbent elements, deformed on site into the desired shape. In the case of rigid grids, workers bend the members at the factory to the final geometry and assemble them later on site. …In order to explore the potential of this constructive system for wood, Philippe Charest completed a doctoral project in architecture at the Industrial Research Chair on Eco-responsible Wood Construction at Laval University, Quebec. 

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Ontario Carpenters’ tout mass timber for affordable housing

By Don Wall
The Daily Commercial News
February 3, 2024
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: Canada, Canada East

Ontario’s mass timber building sector is in a position to play a major role in addressing the affordable housing crisis, advocates say, but to do so there needs to be significant upskilling, expansion and culture shift. The Carpenters’ Regional Council hosted builders, architects and engineers at two College of Carpenters and Allied Trades training centres in Vaughan, Ontario to pitch the product as a solution to affordable housing needs. …Leith Moore, at Assembly Corp., a mass timber housing practitioner, laid out the housing targets in simple terms. The Doug Ford government has established a mandate of building 1.5 million homes by 2031 but homebuilders currently have the capacity to construct only a fraction of that. Affordable prefabricated mass timber homes can make up part of the difference. …Speakers noted the mass timber homebuilding sector has shown strong growth in recent years but highlighted numerous impediments to faster growth.

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Carpenters’ tout mass timber for affordable housing

By Don Wall
The Daily Commercial News
February 3, 2024
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: Canada, Canada East

Ontario’s mass timber building sector is in a position to play a major role in addressing the affordable housing crisis, advocates say, but to do so there needs to be significant upskilling, expansion and culture shift. The Carpenters’ Regional Council hosted builders, architects and engineers at two College of Carpenters and Allied Trades training centres in Vaughan, Ont. Jan. 31 to pitch the product as a solution to affordable housing needs. Carpenters’ Union consultant Mike Yorke co-ordinated the event. Leith Moore, principal at Assembly Corp., a mass timber housing practitioner, laid out the housing targets in simple terms during an interview. The Doug Ford government has established a mandate of building 1.5 million homes by 2031 but homebuilders currently have the capacity to construct only a fraction of that. Affordable prefabricated mass timber homes can make up part of the difference.

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University building Canada’s tallest academic timber building

By Larry Adams
Woodworking Network
February 1, 2024
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: Canada, Canada East

The University of Toronto has begun construction on a new 14-story mass timber building that will not only be the tallest academic timber structure in Canada, but the school said it will also set a precedent for sustainable design. A $3.9-million federal contribution to the University of Toronto has been made for the construction of a 14-story mass timber academic and research tower on its St. George campus. The contribution comes through the Green Construction through Wood (GCWood) program. The new building, with its “innovative design and creative wood structure,” will provide a new and creative workspace for several faculties and act as a living laboratory to further the university’s innovation agenda, the school said. The structure is being constructed almost entirely from engineered Canadian timber.

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Millions of dollars announced for local mills, forestry sector

By Katie Nicholls
The Thunder Bay News Watch
January 30, 2024
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: Canada, Canada East

THUNDER BAY — A large investment announcement was made by the Minister of Natural Resources and Forestry that 14 regional manufacturing and mill facilities would be receiving funding for research, innovation and modernization initiatives with a total of $9.4 million. This funding is part of the $19.6 million announcement that came from the province for its Forest Biomass Program announced in December 2023. Thunder Bay Pulp and Paper will be getting the largest investment of $5 million to modernize and upgrade the mill’s electrical system. The next largest funding amount is going to Whitesand First Nation for $1.28 million to help construct a wood pellet plant in the Armstrong region. With the $5 million, Thunder Bay Pulp and Paper is anticipating using the cash to update its electrical system and related equipment. …This funding comes at a time when the mill in Terrace Bay was abruptly put into a “warm idle” at the start of the year. 

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Forestry

Experts say it’s tough to predict northwestern Ontario’s 2024 forest fire season. Here’s why

By Michelle Allan
CBC News
February 21, 2024
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada East

After the severity of the 2023 wildfire season, forest fire response teams said they want to make sure they’re prepared for the worst heading into 2024. “We have possibly a very serious fire season on our hands,” said Noah Freedman, a forest fire crew leader based in Sioux Lookout.  Freedman is also the vice-president of Local 703 Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU), which represents forest firefighters. Northwestern Ontario’s historic warm winter temperatures and low snowpack this winter add to the concern, said Freedman. But the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry (MNRF)  said it’s too soon to say what the upcoming forest fire season will look like. “It’s very hard to place long term predictions about fire activity,” said Chris Marchand, a fire information officer with the MNRF’s Aviation Forest Fire and Emergency Services Regional Fire Centre in Dryden.

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New tribal law protects culturally significant cedar trees

By Brendan Wiesner
Sault Ste. Marie News
February 21, 2024
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada East

EASTERN UPPER PENINSULA — A new Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians law aims to protect culturally significant white cedar trees. Earlier this month, the Sault Tribe announced an update to the Tribal Code that will ensure the sustainable harvest of northern white cedar trees, otherwise called Giizhik trees. Giizhik trees are a type of tree that grows in many areas in the Eastern Upper Peninsula (EUP), including places of great significance to local tribes. The oldest of the trees can live up to a thousand years, and some of the trees in the area are 400 years old or older. Tribal officials said Giizhik trees have been an important part of Anishinaabe culture since long before colonization. The cedar trees are important both culturally as well as practically, as they have provided materials for building tools, boats and other materials. …There are hundreds of northern white cedar trees throughout the EUP, and the new tribe law will protect them from unsustainable harvesting.

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Ontario Public Service Employees Union calls for action on forest firefighter ‘crisis’

By Gary Rinne
Thunder Bay News Watch
February 20, 2024
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada East

Noah Freedman

THUNDER BAY — The union representing forest firefighters in Ontario says the province’s aviation, forest fires and emergency services branch is inadequately prepared for the 2024 fire season. The Ontario Public Service Employees Union alleges that Aviation Forest Fires and Emergency Services has “a retention crisis” in which there are almost no experienced staff left in the program. “Ontario was short roughly 12 per cent of its crews in 2022, and 26 per cent in 2023,” said Noah Freedman, vice-president of OPSEU local 703, and fire crew leader. “It’s getting worse because, though we have no problem hiring 18 and 19-year-olds, the lack of experience means we have no one to lead those crews. The AFFES certainly doesn’t want to acknowledge this.” …He said the difficulty in retaining firefighters arises from a combination of factors, primarily that the job is demanding and requires a lot of time away from family. But compensation is also a big issue.

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Ontario Firefighting agency prepares as spring and wildfire season approach

By Sandi Krasowski
The Chronicle-Journal
February 20, 2024
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada East

It’s business as usual at the Aviation, Forest Fire and Emergency Services (AFFES) as spring and wildfire season approach. Despite the 2023 drought in the region and minimal snow pack, officials aren’t waving any red flags just yet. But recruitment, planning and equipment procurement are underway. Chris Marchand, a fire information officer with the Ontario ministry of natural resources and forestry’s AFFES agency, said that the fire season begins on April 1 and AFFES is preparing to respond should the fire hazard occur before then. …Ontario ministries, including the AFFES, must follow processes designed to make the procurement process fair, open and transparent. …For now, the main focus at the AFFES is on recruiting, hiring and training staff for the upcoming season. The application deadline to become an Ontario Fire Ranger (wildland firefighter) remains open until April 15.

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Q&A with Forest Nova Scotia’s Stephen Moore

By Maria Church
Canadian Forest Industries
February 20, 2024
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada East

Stephen Moore

Stephen Moore, one-year-in executive director of Forest Nova Scotia, wants to see the sector at the decision table when it comes to the future of forests in the province. Moore’s political and polling background is driving some wins for the association, which has a mammoth task of helping the industry navigate a period of transition. How do you view the shift in Nova Scotia’s forest industry following some pretty significant changes? In the last five years, with the Northern Pulp situation, we’ve seen the number of buyers for wood products in Nova Scotia decline 20 per cent. We’ve seen the contractor capacity in the province reduce by 40 per cent. …The Lahey Report has added to the uncertainty. Your take on Social License in NS? I say we have social license. We need to stop worrying about playing nice with everybody. We need to focus instead on what we need to do to move the sector forward. 

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Who will keep people in Ontario safe this wildfire season?

By Noah Freedman
The National Observer
February 20, 2024
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada East

With six weeks until wildfire season, the Ford government is on a campaign to silence its wildland firefighters’ dire warning about the catastrophic state of the province’s fire program. Make no mistake, winter is almost over and the fire bans are coming. Fire bans are used by the province when the threat of wildfire is extreme and though the government cannot readily influence the severity of the hazard, it can, and does, control the limitation of firefighting resources. …According to an internal report from 2015, Ontario’s wildfire program is comprised primarily of students trying to pay for college, which has resulted in constant turnover and “inexperienced staff making poor decisions on the fireline.” Natural Resources and Forestry Minister Graydon Smith has reassured Ontarians that the province has a “great number of crews.” In reality, ongoing retention issues mean Ontario is actually losing fire crews, and experience, at an exponential rate every year.

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Ottawa promised Canadians two billion new trees, Quebec wants to cut some down

The Canadian Press in CTV News Montreal
February 16, 2024
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada East

The federal government committed to planting two billion trees across the country to restore natural habitats and fight climate change, and now Quebec wants to harvest some of them. The provincial government is asking Ottawa to allow the local forestry industry to chop down trees in areas of the province hardest hit by last year’s forest fires. Ottawa has committed more than $3 billion to helping provinces, territories and organizations plant two billion trees by the end of 2031 as part of a national effort to reduce greenhouse gases. However, the 2 Billion Trees program does not fund trees designated for commercial use. Quebec Natural Resources and Forests Minister Maïté Blanchette Vézina says the record-setting 2023 fire season has had tremendous economic impacts in rural regions that depend on the forestry industry.

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First Nations’ rights and interests must be part of the future of forests

By Assembly of First Nationds of Quebec ad Labrador
Cision Newswire
February 15, 2024
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada East

WENDAKE, Quebec – A consultation meeting is scheduled this morning between First Nations and the Ministère des Ressources naturelles et des Forêts (MRNF) as part of the Round Tables on the Future of the Forest. This process was announced in November 2023 by Minister Maïté Blanchette Vézina. This new initiative by the Quebec government must translate into concrete actions and measures that respect the rights and interests of First Nations. …”It’s clear that the Quebec government is not doing enough to respect the rights of First Nations on the territory, especially when it comes to logging. The consultations carried out by the MRNF are superficial. Decisions are made unilaterally. Things have to change,” says Lance Haymond, Chief of the Kebaowek First Nation. …”It’s time the government stopped seeing the forest only as an economic engine for the forest industry,” declares Martin Dufour, Chief of the Essipit Innu First Nation.

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Traditional harvesting meets economic development in Timiskaming First Nation

By Lindsay Kelly
Northern Ontario Business
February 13, 2024
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada East

Timiskaming First Nation is sharing the bounty from its territory through a community initiative that’s both creating a revenue stream and strengthening cultural ties between generations. Through The Wild Basket, community members harvest and cultivate foods in their territory that are then used to produce and sell value-added products like flavoured carbonated water, fresh mushrooms, forest teas, and mushroom soup. “It began in 2013 as a response to how we can better utilize non-timber forest products,” explained Annaleigh Males, the program’s coordinator, during the 2024 Northern Ontario Ag Conference in Sudbury. “We started with the forestry industry and we still work closely with the forestry industry.” The program is an initiative of Ni Dakinan, the natural resources department for the community, whose traditional territory stretches along the northeast side of Lake Timiskaming, extending into both Ontario and Quebec.

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Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry tracks lack of snow before new forest fire season

By Gary Rinne
The Thunder Bay News Watch
February 12, 2024
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada East

DRYDEN — The lack of snow in the bush this winter “is certainly on our radar, for sure,” said Chris Marchand, a fire information officer at the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry’s regional forest fire management headquarters in Dryden. Northwestern Ontario has received much less snow than normal by this time of year. “There’s some discussion of how this could affect things, but at the same time, looking more than 10 days into the future and betting on the weather is a bit of a dangerous game,” Marchand said. He noted the forest fire season doesn’t officially begin until April 1. …According to the Lakehead Region Conservation Authority, the snow depth at various monitoring stations around the city was just over 20 cm at the beginning of February, or roughly half the long-term average.

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Forests Ontario’s Annual Conference Brings Experts Together to Address the Challenges and Opportunities Facing Canada’s Forests

Forests Ontario
January 17, 2024
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada East

Barrie, Ontario – Canada’s forests are facing extraordinary challenges, including climate change, increased fires, biodiversity loss, and invasive species. As the largest conference in the province about the importance of healthy, resilient forests, Forests Ontario’s 2024 Annual Conference will provide opportunities to meet, learn from, and be inspired by those most passionate about our forests. “Our natural world is facing some of its greatest challenges, including the unprecedented wildfires that raged through Canada’s forests last summer. We know there are smart, sustainable, nature-based solutions that support healthy communities and healthy economies. We want people who come to our conference to feel energized and excited by what they can all accomplish together,” Jess Kaknevicius, CEO of Forests Ontario and Forest Recovery Canada, says. The in-person event takes place on February 28, 2024, from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. at Universal Eventspace in Vaughan, Ontario. 

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WWF-Canada wants Canadian businesses to take action to protect biodiversity

BY World Wildlife Fund Canada
Cision Newswire
February 6, 2024
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada East

TORONTO – WWF-Canada and Aviva Canada released a new Action Plan available for Canadian businesses for how they can act to help halt and reverse biodiversity loss, better protect nature, and contribute to a more sustainable global economy. …Developed as a free resource with the practical needs of businesses in mind, it features a phased approach to action with steps that business leaders in all industries can take now, next quarter, and next year, in four key areas of action: Assess and Understand; Minimize and Transform; Invest in Nature; and Collaborate and Influence. The Action Plan is available online. …In tandem with urgent decarbonization, it is time for all businesses to act to protect nature. Yet many lack the necessary expertise and resources to develop an actionable path forward.

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Calvin Township sparks national wildfire measures

By David Briggs
The North Bay Nugget
February 6, 2024
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada East

Calvin Township is trying to sparking a wildfire movement. Council has voted to pressure the federal government to get better prepared for forest fires. Councillors recently passed a motion to encourage the feds to give more money to help offset the costs of firefighting to municipalities. They are also calling for the development of a national strategy for firefighting. Also, councillors urge the government to investigate what it would take to create a national fleet of Canadian-made water bombers, which could be strategically placed to best serve rural communities. “Before Calvin Township became a township, it was burned by numerous forest fires,” Calvin’s Mayor, Richard Gould, said. “This was before the time of fire towers, water bombers, and municipal fire departments,” he added.

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Weird ancient tree from before dinosaurs found in Canadian quarry

By Emily Chung
CBC News
February 2, 2024
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada East

Forests of giant, scaly-stemmed club mosses rose from ancient swamps in Atlantic Canada 350 million years ago. But below the canopy sprouted even stranger trees, whose fossils were recently discovered in a quarry in Norton, N.B. “What it really does look like is one of those truffula trees from The Lorax,” said Olivia King, one of the researchers that discovered the fossil. …Like the truffula, the new fossil species, Sanfordiacaulis densifolia, was a little taller than a human, but not extremely tall (about three metres), and had a spindly stem poking into a dense mop of long leaves. That mop was more extreme than the truffula’s in size — over five metres, or about the diameter of an above-ground pool. …Sanfordiacaulis lived at a time called the Mississippian, an early part of the Carboniferous period.

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Prince Edward Island receives Forestry Commission discussion paper

By Katie Cudmore, Department of Environment, Energy and Climate Action
Government of Prince Edward Island
February 1, 2024
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada East

The Forestry Commission has presented government with a discussion paper about a plan for developing forest policy to carry Prince Edward Island into the future. The discussion paper, Towards A New Forest Policy, contains 13 key topics related to forestry, including the future of a legislative framework, sustainability of biomass supply, and increasing readiness for extreme weather. “The paper is the commission’s first step in a public engagement process. It kicks off a timely public dialogue on our forest and I look forward to receiving this feedback from the public, industry and the commission,” said Environment, Energy and Climate Action Minister Steven Myers. A public survey will be available soon and community engagement meetings will take place across PEI this summer.

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Ontario’s Biomass program threatens Ottawa Valley forests

By Christopher Huggett
The Madawaska Valley Current
January 30, 2024
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada East

Going against the age-old forest sustainability principle of “harvesting only the interest without disturbing the capital,” Ontario’s Biomass Initiative is reversing the trend. “Forest Biomass,” in this context refers to combining mill wood-waste with younger trees harvested from crown and private woodlots to make simulated logs and pellets to be burned for energy. Canada is following the eastern US lead in converting emerging forests into wood chips and sawdust. The wood pellets are marketed in Europe replacing coal to produce electricity. …biomass burning results in higher emissions than coal. The industry initiative is capitalizing on the climate crisis… Unlike solar, wind, and nuclear, burning wood increases the release of carbon dioxide while removing the carbon sink provided by a mature forest. It involves prematurely cutting millions of acres of forest in the Ottawa Valley, which deprives them from reaching their full rotation age to produce valuable sawlogs.

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Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy

Too much wood heating P.E.I. government buildings is from unsustainable sources: documents

By Laura Chapin
CBC News
February 17, 2024
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: Canada, Canada East

Documents that CBC News P.E.I. received through Freedom of Information show a large amount of the wood being used to heat more than 40 provincial buildings has come from forests that were cleared to become housing or farmland. …One report in the documents revealed that 86 per cent of the wood one contractor used between 2015 and 2018 came from land conversion — forests cleared for farmland or for housing. That concerns Gary Schneider, manager of the MacPhail Woods Ecological Project. “It can’t be sustainable, because we can’t continuously clear land,” he said. …When the Liberal government of Robert Ghiz started using wood to heat provincial buildings in 2008, the aim was to reduce reliance on furnace oil. A promise was made that only wood that had been harvested sustainably would be used in the low-emission wood-burning boilers.

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Using pulp and paper waste to scrub carbon from emissions

By Victoria Martinez, Canadian Light Source
TechXplore
February 1, 2024
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: Canada, Canada East

Researchers at McGill University have come up with an innovative approach to improve the energy efficiency of carbon conversion, using waste material from pulp and paper production. The technique they’ve pioneered using the Canadian Light Source at the University of Saskatchewan not only reduces the energy required to convert carbon into useful products, but also reduces overall waste in the environment. “This is a new field,” says Roger Lin, a graduate student in chemical engineering “We are one of the first groups to combine biomass recycling or utilization with CO2 capture.” The research team, from McGill’s Electrocatalysis Lab, has published their findings in the journal RSC Sustainability. …The biggest challenge is figuring out what to do with the carbon once the emissions have been removed, especially since capturing CO2 can be expensive. The next hurdle is that transforming CO2 into useful products takes energy.

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Health & Safety

Ontario says it’s working on program addressing forest firefighter smoke exposure fears, but union has doubts

By Aya Dufour
CBC News
February 19, 2024
Category: Health & Safety
Region: Canada, Canada East

A manager with Ontario’s Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry (MNR) says work is underway to develop a formal program that addresses a health and safety committee’s concerns over forest firefighters’ exposure to smoke, but a union head remains doubtful. MNR manager Stephanie Maragna was responding to a recommendation by the committee, which asked the province to do more to inform, educate and protect forest firefighters against toxin exposure. …Noah Freedman is a VP of Local 703 of the Ontario Public Service Employees Union and a forest fire crew leader with the MNR. …”I’m by no means hopeful, because if they had something, wouldn’t they have given us something more than a few sentences?” he asked. …The manual the MNR gives to forest firefighters includes these safety practices to help reduce smoke exposure. …Freedman said it does not refer to medical literature that links firefighting with higher incidences of cancer.

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Air quality approval renewed for J.D. Irving Ltd. sawmill in Chipman

The Government of New Brunswick
February 14, 2024
Category: Health & Safety
Region: Canada, Canada East

FREDERICTON – The provincial government will issue a new Class 1 air quality approval for the J.D. Irving Ltd. sawmill in Chipman. The mill produces about 360 million board feet of dimensional lumber per year. The company’s current approval expires on March 31, with the new five-year approval taking effect on April 1. The approval follows a public consultation process that included a public review, which ran from Sept. 14, 2023, to Jan. 17, 2024. The information, along with approval conditions, can be viewed on the Department of Environment and Local Government website or at any regional office of the department. Class 1 major industries are required to comply with the Air Quality Regulation under the Clean Air Act, and to operate under the terms and conditions established in the approval to operate.

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