FPAC seeks additional funding for IFIT program
November 7, 2013, Ottawa, Ont. - The Forest Products Association of Canada (FPAC) is calling on the federal government to renew and replenish the highly successful Investments in Forest Industry Transformation (IFIT) program to help the sector further develop innovative breakthrough technologies.
November 7, 2013, Ottawa,
Ont. – The Forest Products Association of Canada (FPAC) is calling on the
federal government to renew and replenish the highly successful Investments in
Forest Industry Transformation (IFIT) program to help the sector further
develop innovative breakthrough technologies.
FPAC is asking for IFIT to receive an additional $500
million over the next six years, starting with a modest $25 million next year
in recognition of the government’s tight fiscal situation, and then scaling up
to $150 million for the final two years of the program. The Executive
Vice-President of FPAC, Catherine Cobden, made the request today during
pre-budget consultations before the House of Commons Finance committee.
“Our industry is grateful for the significant support
provided by the federal government in recent years to help our transformation,”
says Cobden. “The sector has to do the heavy-lifting but we still need to
partner with government to de-risk innovation and help bring new technologies
to the final stage of commercial readiness. IFIT is a proven strategic
model for that partnership.”
IFIT was first created in 2010 to encourage innovation in
the forest sector by supporting first-of-kind commercial-scale demonstration
and market applications. The $100 million program received 107 project
applications worth $2 billion. So far IFIT is supporting 15 technologies
including: Alberta Pacific Forest Industries producing methanol from a pulp
mill waste stream; Millar Western building a unique bio-energy effluent project
and Tolko becoming the first facility in North America to produce both
specialty-and commodity-oriented strand board products from a single production
line. In addition, IFIT is leveraging new investment in Canadian industry in
smaller communities when forest companies are the major employer.
“Under our Vision2020, the forest industry is aiming to
produce another $20 billion in economic activity from new products and markets,”
says Cobden. “A focused program such as IFIT is critical to help us develop
innovative non-traditional products, create new jobs especially in rural Canada
and enhance the sector’s economic viability.”
FPAC is also asking the government to extend its support for
forest industry research and development through the eight university networks
of the Forest Innovation by Research and Education (FIBRE) organization and to
expand the eligibility criteria of Sustainable development Technology Canada’s
(SDTC) NextGen Biofuels Fund to cover other sectors of the bio-economy.