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Developing tomorrow's forestry products

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Developing tomorrow's forestry products

McGuinty Government Investing In Northern Bio-Economy

Northern Ontario is set to become a leader in the forestry bio-economy - the green market where products now made with fossil fuels are replaced with those created from renewable resources.

Ontario is investing $25 million in the new Centre for Research and Innovation in the Bio-Economy (CRIBE) in Thunder Bay. The centre will attract world-class researchers and industry leaders to develop the next generation of renewable forestry bio-products.

Forest bio-products contribute an estimated $1 billion to Canada's economy - and could one day be as important as the conventional forest economy.

Ontario's bio-economy is already taking root. For example, innovative Ontario companies are producing parts for the auto industry and developing new ways to generate clean energy. The centre will focus on commercializing new products from the forestry sector.

A six-member task force will guide the development and function of the Centre, and will also work with industry partners to leverage additional private sector R&D investments.

Quick Facts

  • Ontario’s total forest area covers about 690,000 square kilometres (266,000 square miles) — an area as big as North Dakota, Minnesota, Wisconsin and Michigan combined
  • Ontario's forests make up two-thirds of the province's total area, 17 per cent of Canada’s forests and two per cent of the world’s forests
  • The forest products industry in Ontario is a major contributor to the northern economy, employing at least 20 per cent of the labour force in as many as 50 communities

Background Information

Additional Resources


“Innovation is the key to seizing global market opportunities for Ontario. In the 21st century the world demand for biomaterials will explode. Thunder Bay is ideally suited to be a world leader for both research and commercialization.”

John Wilkinson

Minister of Research and Innovation

“These investments represent a grand vision and a huge step towards developing a solid plan to restore the forestry sector — and Northern Ontario jobs — for future generations.”

Michael Gravelle

Minister of Northern Development and Mines

“This centre will build a connection between our forests and our factories that will make us more globally competitive — and more environmentally sustainable.”

Donna Cansfield

Minister of Natural Resources

“Our forestry industry is facing significant changes — global competition, poor market conditions and the increasing value of the Canadian dollar — we must adapt to these challenges by finding new markets and opportunities to grow the next generation of jobs for northern Ontario families.”

Bill Mauro

MPP for Thunder Bay-Atikokan