Ontario Investing in Mass Timber Construction
Province Advancing Innovation and Fighting Climate Change
Ontario is investing in research, education and construction of tall wood buildings so more wood products can be used in new homes and taller buildings through the new Mass Timber Program. This program is part of Ontario's Climate Change Action Plan and is funded by proceeds from the province's carbon market.
The use of wood in infrastructure can help address climate change by storing carbon in buildings and by avoiding greenhouse gas pollution associated with other carbon-intensive materials.
Ontario's Mass Timber Program has been developed to promote the use of wood in taller buildings by:
- Providing funding for research and development of innovative wood products, undertaken by academic and private research organizations, to support potential wood-related changes to the Building Code and other standards
- Funding post-secondary education institutions to provide skills development and technical training and to create tools relating to using wood in construction
- Supporting the establishment of a tall wood research institute in Ontario, in partnership with researchers, universities, and colleges
- Demonstrating the successful use of mass timber in design, construction, and the fire safety of taller wooden buildings (seven storeys and higher) including four tall wood demonstration projects.
Supporting innovation in the building sector and fighting climate change is part of the government's plan to support care, create opportunity and make life more affordable during this period of rapid economic change. The plan includes free prescription drugs for everyone under 25, and 65 or over, through the biggest expansion of medicare in a generation, free tuition for hundreds of thousands of students, a higher minimum wage and better working conditions, and free preschool child care from 2 ½ to kindergarten.
- Ontario is investing $7.8 million for the research, education and construction of tall wood buildings.
- Mass timber refers to large engineered wood products, including wood panels, beams and columns, used in the structural systems of high or mid-rise buildings.
- In 2015, Ontario made changes to its Building Code related to the use of wood-frame construction in mid-rise construction of up to six storeys. Numerous projects have been designed and built to these new Building Code requirements and more are coming.
- The province has also released Ontario’s Tall Wood Reference: A Technical Resource for Developing Alternative Solutions under Ontario’s Building Code to assist architects, engineers, building and fire officials, and developers in the development of safe alternative solutions for taller wood projects.
- In addition to environmental benefits, mass timber structures will have lower building costs due to quicker construction times, while maintaining fire safety standards.
- The Climate Change Action Plan and carbon market form the backbone of Ontario's strategy to cut greenhouse gas pollution by 80 per cent by 2050, while investing in programs that help Ontario families and businesses save money and lower greenhouse gas emissions.
“Ontario’s Mass Timber Program will help make us a world leader in innovative new wood products and tall wood frame building construction. Our government is committed to moving beyond six-storey structures and through our new centre for innovation, and partnerships with educational institutions here in Ontario, we know we can build a future that is environmentally friendly, innovative and safe.”
Nathalie Des Rosiers
“In 2012 I introduced a Private Member’s Bill to allow for six-storey wood frame construction in Ontario, and this was adopted into the Building Code in 2015. I’m pleased to see our government is continuing to pursue the utilization of mass timber for high rise structures, as well as partnering with industry and the education sector for skills development. The expanded use of this sustainable resource in the construction industry is important for Northern Ontario’s economy, and compliments the work my ministry is doing on how we can allow for tall wood buildings higher than six storeys to be built in the province.”
“Investing in making construction materials and processes that are less carbon intensive helps reduce greenhouse gas pollution generated from buildings. This program is one of the many ways our Climate Change Action Plan and carbon market work together to reduce greenhouse gas pollution while fostering a stronger, more innovative low carbon economy, investing in skills training and creating good jobs in our communities.”