The federal and, to varying degrees, provincial governments have played a critical role in helping to de-risk the commercialization of new, clean technologies, which enable the manufacturing of new bioproducts and advanced wood products. The most substantial support has been at the federal level through the Investments in Forest Industry Transformation (IFIT) program.
The program objective has been to support forest industry transformation by accelerating the deployment of highly innovative, first-in-kind technologies at Canadian forest industry facilities. According to the government’s own program evaluation, 57 per cent of funded projects were “world firsts.” This is significant given the fact that the program only required “Canada firsts.” In addition, new innovations under this program generated $66 million of revenue per year while at the same time reducing 60,000 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions.
The IFIT program is set to expire in 2018, but should be renewed because of its success. We know that for every dollar invested by IFIT, $2.60 is generated. Moreover, the number of innovators who want to access the program goes far beyond the initial $100 million investment. Doubling investment in IFIT means more innovative companies working with partners such as FPInnovations will be able to commercialize technology our sector relies on to foster transformation.
Continuing to take risk out of the commercialization of clean technology is critical for a more prosperous sector, and the economic well-being of the communities it supports.