September 23, 2021 By Gordon Murray, Executive Director, Wood Pellet Association of Canada
The Wood Pellet Association of Canada held its annual general meeting on Sept. 21, 2021. This well-attended virtual meeting focused on the growth and achievements of the past year with an eye on the work ahead for our association, our members and our sector at large.
Over the past year, we have welcomed 10 new members into our association – today we have 52 members dedicated to providing responsible, renewable clean energy at home and globally. Every day, the thousands of Canadians working in the pellet industry are contributing to the global fight against climate change. It’s a noble profession and I’m proud of the work of our members and their employees and suppliers.
Our priorities in 2020-2021 included enhancing the reputation of superior, reliability, sustainability and ethical business practices, providing leadership on behalf of the Canadian sector in the Sustainable Biomass Program and getting two of the regional risk assessments completed (Quebec and BC), with three more underway, and this year we also ramped up efforts domestically focusing on challenging policies that don’t accurately reflect the potential of wood biomass, as well as initiating significant advocacy across Canada at every political level.
Of course, our top priority, safety, was our main focus. Our sector cannot be successful if our colleagues aren’t safe. Key partnerships with the BC Forest Safety Council, the Biomass and Bioenergy Research Group at the University of British Columbia, and Dalhousie University and the participation of nearly 40 organizations are driving safety research and innovation in our industry – I am extremely proud of this work and the collaboration – it’s leading edge and world class.
WPAC is a team of three – none of this work would happen without our members’ support, funding from both the Governments of Canada and the Province of British Columbia, and a lot of elbow grease.
And we’re not sitting back. At the AGM we received full support of our 2021-22 priorities including building on our market outreach and advocacy efforts, getting the SBP regional risk assessments completed for New Brunswick and Nova Scotia and moving forward on assessments for Alberta and Saskatchewan. Domestically, we will continue to improve our sector’s pellet safety performance across Canada and grow the domestic market with a focus on the Maritimes. We will also establish a research advisory group in co-operation with the University of British Columbia to tap into the full potential of pellets in the bioeconomy.
Clearly, I’m excited about the work ahead and proud of the past year’s achievements by our sector under tough conditions including record fires, drought and a global pandemic. Clearly, I’m also passionate about the work we do; thanks for your support, here’s to 2022!
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