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Ontario Strengthens Forestry Industry in Kenora

KENORA – The Ontario government is offering to provide a performance-based loan of $17.2 million through the Forest Sector Investment and Innovation Program to support a proposal to relocate, improve and expand a Kenora lumber mill. This investment will build a stronger Ontario by supporting the forestry sector while creating jobs and prosperity for the Kenora region.

“The future of the forest sector depends on building success through local projects with big impacts,” said Greg Rickford, Minister of Northern Development, Mines, Natural Resources and Forestry. “By supporting GreenFirst Forest Products, we’re creating local jobs and investing in prosperity in Kenora – ensuring a strong and prosperous forest sector which can provide for communities across Northern Ontario.”

GreenFirst Forest Products Inc. is seeking to relocate to a new site in Kenora, change the facility’s layout, modernize and update its operations. This performance-based loan is conditional on Ontario and the company finalizing a contract and completion of key project milestones. These improvements would increase production, create up to 85 new direct jobs at the mill and potentially more than 135 indirect jobs.

“As an employer of almost 50,000 Ontarians, and another 100,000 indirectly employed in jobs that support the sector, our forest industries are a true economic driver and job creator,” said Vic Fedeli, Minister of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade. “Through Ontario’s Forest Sector Investment and Innovation Program, we are creating jobs and supporting innovation and economic growth in the North.”

The Forest Sector Investment and Innovation Program is a business support program designed to improve productivity and innovation, enhance competitiveness, support new market access and strengthen regional economies.

“Kenora is one of the most picturesque towns in Northern Ontario. We thank Minister Rickford and the Ontario Government for their offer of support to relocate the mill.” said Paul Rivett, Chairman of GreenFirst Forest Products.  “The land value as a well-planned development far exceeds its value as a sawmill site.  We believe the relocation of the mill will unlock the land for redevelopment that would become a source of pride for the community.”

Projects such as this one, which focuses on increasing competitiveness, market growth and increased wood to use, are critical to achieving Ontario’s goals established in Sustainable Growth: Ontario’s Forest Sector Strategy.  All production from the relocated Kenora sawmill is expected to supply the Canadian market as well as the export market in the United Kingdom.

QUICK FACTS

  • Northwestern Ontario communities depend on forestry for their livelihood and employment dependency on forestry in Kenora is six times higher than in the rest of Ontario.  
  • GreenFirst Forest Products Inc. (GFP) is a publicly traded Canadian forest products manufacturer with five lumber mills and one newsprint mill located in Ontario, with an additional two lumber mills in Quebec.
  • If completed, this project is expected to generate over $75 million in GDP and annual stumpage revenue of $4.3 million.
  • The forest sector generated $18 billion in revenue from the sale of manufactured goods and services in 2020 and supported more than 148,000 direct and indirect jobs in 2021.
  • Financial support for the project is subject to the completion of negotiations and financial, legal and technical due diligence.

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES

Forest Sector Investment and Innovation Program   

Sustainable Growth: Ontario’s Forest Sector Strategy