B.C. Launches Accelerator Tables to Boost Value-added Wood Manufacturing

British Columbia (B.C.) is bolstering its commitment to the value-added wood manufacturing sector with the introduction of three new accelerator tables. Aimed at enhancing the production of high-value wood products, this initiative underscores the potential for creating more jobs, supporting local economies, and maximizing the yield from harvested trees.

The benefits of focusing on the value-added wood manufacturing sector are manifold. It not only brings in family-sustaining jobs and invigorates local economies, but also equips B.C. to handle global market challenges by diversifying its forestry sector.

Bruce Ralston, the Minister of Forests, emphasized the significance of these accelerator tables. He mentioned, “These accelerator tables will bring people together to address those challenges, find ways to keep more fibre in the province to support local manufacturing, and get new ideas on the docket and moving forward to support local jobs and regional economies.”

The provincial government, in collaboration with the BC First Nations Forestry Council, the BC Value-Added Wood Coalition, and the Council of Forest Industries, will be responsible for convening these tables. This initiative seeks to foster collaboration between First Nations, value-added manufacturers, and forest licensees to ideate joint solutions. The goal? Strengthen and diversify B.C.’s value-added sector.

There is an understanding that the needs of the industry may vary based on geography. Consequently, the initiative has designed north, south, and coast accelerator tables. These tables will cater to the distinctive needs and manufacturing prerequisites of these areas. The initial virtual sessions for these tables are lined up as:

  • North Table: Oct. 19, 2023, 9-11 a.m.
  • South Table: Oct. 19, 2023, 1-3 p.m.
  • Coast Table: Oct. 24, 2023, 1-3 p.m.

Following the initial discussions, these tables will continue their sessions throughout winter 2024, culminating in a series of actionable recommendations aimed at broadening the horizon of the value-added manufacturing sector.

To provide a broader perspective, value-added manufacturers deal with an array of wood products ranging from mass timber and furniture to flooring and log homes. These products play a pivotal role in B.C.’s construction industry, offering a more sustainable option compared to steel and concrete. Furthermore, the emphasis on value-added wood products aligns seamlessly with the province’s CleanBC objectives, moving the needle towards a cleaner economy.

In a display of its unwavering commitment to this industry, the Province introduced the Value-Added Manufacturing Program in January 2023. Furthermore, to facilitate the upgrade and revamp of mills for producing more value-added products, the BC Jobs Manufacturing Fund was set in motion, backed by a $180-million investment.

Several industry voices have rallied in support of this initiative:

  • Linda Coady, the CEO of the Council of Forest Industries, emphasized the potential for heightened collaboration and how it could “support economic development in Indigenous and local regional communities.”
  • Robert Manuel of the BC First Nations Forestry Council highlighted the council’s commitment to supporting this sector’s growth while ensuring opportunities for the First Nation.
  • Ken Kalesnikoff of the BC Value-Added Wood Coalition expressed optimism about the forthcoming discussions, expecting them to lead to innovative solutions for maximizing the value derived from B.C.’s forests.
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