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B.C. bolsters advanced wood manufacturing in Kamloops

May 9, 2024 at 3:21 pm  BC, News, Politics, Provincial

New financial support for engineered wood production in Kamloops will protect and create forestry jobs, promote the development of high-quality, made-in-B.C. forest products and strengthen the local economy.

“We’re taking action to support innovative manufacturing companies using new technology to diversify their operations and get the most value out of every tree harvested,” said Brenda Bailey, Minister of Jobs, Economic Development and Innovation. “By supporting advanced engineered wood products, we’re seeing companies protect and create the good, family-supporting jobs that are a part of our Industrial Blueprint ensuring the stronger, cleaner economic future of B.C.”

Through the BC Manufacturing Jobs Fund (BCMJF), the Government of B.C. is contributing up to $8 million to help Tolko Industries expand its Heffley Creek operation, including construction of a facility that will house a new Heffley Creek Engineered Wood Division. The capital project will diversify the mill’s current production beyond commodity plywood to include specialty, industrial and engineered wood products. This includes products to support new home construction, as well as commercial, furniture, millwork, door and window, and non-residential building systems. The expansion will help maintain approximately 250 direct roles at the Heffley site and is expected to create 20 new jobs.

“Tolko’s history began, and remains, strongly rooted in B.C. For over 65 years, we’ve continued to innovate and grow, and through this expansion, we’re proud to not only build on our suite of value-added products, but also support associated jobs through the integration of our business,” said Brad Thorlakson, president and CEO, Tolko Industries Ltd. “Today’s announcement is testament to our government’s commitment to innovation and the forest products industry and we’re thankful for their support.”

In addition to this funding, the Province is also providing up to $45,760 in BCMJF funding to support Tolko’s Lake Country Division to explore the use of robotics in the production of non-residential, made-in-B.C. wood products.

Funding through the BCMJF is part of a series of programs aligned with the Industrial Blueprint that the Province has implemented to support sustainability in B.C.’s forestry sector. In January 2023, the Ministry of Forests introduced a new program to establish a dedicated fibre supply for small and medium-sized manufacturers, to expand local production of high-value wood products. A strong made-in-B.C. wood-manufacturing industry diversifies the forestry sector, creates jobs and protects existing jobs, while buffering against global market challenges.

With more than three-quarters of funded projects located in rural B.C., BCMJF funding is helping create sustainable, well-paying jobs across a range of sectors, leading to economic diversification and growth in smaller communities around the province.

Clean and Competitive: A Blueprint for B.C.’s Industrial Future lays out the Province’s work to drive new investment, create new jobs and seize new opportunities in growing clean-energy and sustainable industries. Leveraging B.C.’s strengths to create good jobs and opportunities in every community will improve the quality of life for people, while strengthening B.C.’s diverse economy.

Quotes:

Bruce Ralston, Minister of Forests –

“We’re investing record amounts to build more homes in every corner of the province, and we know it is essential to support forestry companies in meeting the demand for specialty building materials and quality furniture. Investments in local wood-manufacturing businesses are good for families buying homes, good for the forestry industry, and good for B.C.”

Andrew Mercier, Minister of State for Sustainable Forestry Innovation –

“B.C. is home to so many talented and hard-working people that are ready to take on new opportunities in our forestry sector, and we’re making sure they’re at the heart of investments like the one at Tolko. This new line illustrates where this great sector is going, and I’m excited to start seeing the millwork and furniture out in new B.C. homes.”

Pino Pucci, chief operating officer, Tolko Industries Ltd. –

“This expansion allows Tolko to build on its existing suite of value-added wood products by leveraging the high-quality and superior technical attributes of B.C.’s timber. We’re developing products that not only support new home construction but commercial and non-residential, furniture, millwork and door and window systems as well.”

Quick Facts:

  • The BCMJF supports high-value industrial and manufacturing capital projects in all sectors that will create and protect well-paying jobs.
  • The BCMJF has committed up to $91.3 million to B.C.’s manufacturing sector, supporting 81 organizations to expand and grow.
  • This includes 51 forestry sector organizations receiving up to $70 million to date.
  • Funds committed to date through BCMJF will help create more than 1,100 jobs and protect nearly 2,000 existing manufacturing jobs throughout B.C., more than 2,500 of which are in the forestry sector.

Learn More:

To learn about the BC Manufacturing Jobs Fund, visit: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/employment-business/economic-development/support-organizations-community-partners/rural-economic-development/manufacturing-jobs-fund

To learn more about Clean and Competitive: A Blueprint for B.C.’s Industrial Future, visit: https://news.gov.bc.ca/files/Clean_and_Competitive.pdf

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