Ontario’s Forest Biomass Action Plan

Greg Rickford

As part of Sustainable Growth: Ontario’s Forest Sector Strategy, the Government of Ontario committed to putting a Forest Biomass Action Plan in place that secures jobs and encourages sustainability in the forest sector while supporting economic development through forest biomass. Actions identified in this plan will help realize the goals and vision set out in Sustainable Growth.

The forest industry has always been a vitally important part of Ontario’s economy. Today, it generates $18 billion in annual revenue and supports more than 148,000 direct and indirect jobs.

The potential for biomass products is ever-expanding; emerging biomass uses include medicine, bioplastics, 3D printing, mass timber products, biodiesel, and jet fuel, to name a few. Biomass innovations are a sustainable alternative to carbon-intensive products and an exciting new frontier for Ontario’s forest sector.

Deriving added value from forest biomass ensures the industry operates at its most sustainable and efficient level. With by-products from one industry segment feeding demand from another, we have the basis for a circular economy – an economy where nothing is wasted and no opportunity is unrealized.

Given the continued global demand for forest products, consumer interest in sustainable products, and movement to a more circular economy, there is immense potential to increase the use of Ontario’s sustainable forest biomass resources. Under the right operational and economic conditions, new business opportunities and projects using forest biomass can play an essential role in growing the economy and supporting existing forest sector businesses. In addition to supporting Ontario’s economy, effective use of forest biomass can also contribute to the province’s forest management and environmental objectives. As an active partner in research and collaborative networks, the government looks forward to engaging with stakeholders and community partners to investigate ways forest biomass can be utilized that support sustainability and unlocks the full benefits of Ontario’s biomass potential.

This action plan was developed in collaboration with a Forest Biomass Action Plan Working Group (the Working Group) comprised of partners from across the forest biomass supply chain. The action plan highlights Ontario’s forest biomass advantages, recognizes challenges, and seeks to identify means to increase the use of forest biomass. Valuable insights from the Working Group members highlighted the importance of bioenergy to existing forest product supply chains. Maintaining and transitioning the province’s existing bioenergy infrastructure will create a foundation for future forest biomass investment opportunities and increase support for Ontario’s forest-dependent communities.

Building on Ontario’s strengths and progress, this document concludes with a set of actions based on five objectives. Actions identified in this plan will be coordinated over five years with expert oversight from the Working Group in the first year and the Forest Sector Strategy Committee in subsequent years.

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