Distinctive Wood Products: Pioneering Technological Advancements with Ontario’s Support

The Ontario government’s recent decision to invest over $1 million in Distinctive Wood Products, a Kitchener-based manufacturer of kitchen cabinets and accessories, represents a significant commitment to advancing forest sector technology. This investment is set to increase the company’s production by 40%, boost its U.S. export sales by almost 300%, and create up to 18 new jobs, both directly at the company and throughout the forest sector supply chain.

Minister of Natural Resources and Forestry, Graydon Smith, highlighted this investment as a key step in strengthening Ontario’s forest sector supply chain and creating jobs. This move is particularly beneficial for the Kitchener-Waterloo region and for consumers in both Canada and the U.S., who will have greater access to high-quality cabinetry and accessories.

The total value of the expansion project at Distinctive Wood Products is $4.4 million, encompassing the addition of automated sanding equipment and a finishing system to harden paint for market-ready products. These enhancements aim to increase production capacity, reduce waste, and enable faster order fulfillment. The anticipated outcome is a 56% increase in the company’s revenue.

A crucial aspect of this expansion is the increased purchase of Ontario-made medium density fibreboard by 55%, which is expected to invigorate the broader forest sector, including harvesting companies, sawmills, and trucking. This is projected to add approximately $4.3 million annually to Ontario’s forest supply chain.

This funding is part of the Forest Sector Investment and Innovation Program, a business support initiative focused on improving productivity and innovation, enhancing competitiveness, and bolstering regional economies. Such projects align with Ontario’s goals outlined in its Forest Sector Strategy and the Forest Biomass Action Plan, which emphasize technological innovation for a competitive forest sector.

Distinctive Wood Products, founded in the early nineties, currently employs 65 workers across three facilities in Kitchener. The company is known for its premium custom cabinet parts, catering to commercial and residential manufacturers, home builders, and kitchen cabinet companies.

In 2021, the forest sector generated $20.9 billion in revenue from manufactured goods and services, supporting over 142,000 direct and indirect jobs in 2022. The sustainable sourcing of wood from Ontario’s Crown forests underscores the renewable and environmentally friendly nature of this resource. Wood serves not only as a renewable resource and clean energy source but also as a sustainable and biodegradable alternative to single-use plastics.

Ministers Vic Fedeli and Jess Dixon have expressed strong support for this investment, emphasizing its potential to stimulate Ontario’s forestry and manufacturing sectors and boost exports to the U.S. market. The co-chairs and owners of Distinctive Wood Products, Alan Lever and Steve Luengo, have acknowledged the significance of this support in fostering business growth and sustaining long-term partnerships and collaborations with clients.

This investment by the Ontario government in Distinctive Wood Products is a clear indication of the province’s commitment to fostering technological advancements, supporting local economies, and promoting sustainable practices within the forest sector. This strategic move is expected to have a ripple effect, benefiting the entire supply chain and contributing to the overall prosperity of the communities it serves.

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