Evidence of meeting #78 for Natural Resources in the 42nd Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament’s site, as are the minutes.) The winning word was products.

A recording is available from Parliament.

On the agenda

MPs speaking

Also speaking

Fred LeBlanc  13th District Vice-President, International Association of Fire Fighters
Greg Hewitt  Research Assistant, Canadian Office, International Association of Fire Fighters
Samuel Meyer  Vice-President, Operations, Emily Creek Woodworking Ltd.
Rick Jeffery  President and Chief Executive Officer, Coast Forest Products Association
Eric Karsh  Principal, Structural Engineering, Equilibrium Consulting Inc.

5:25 p.m.


Ted Falk Conservative Provencher, MB

Thank you for adding that. I understand that.

There's just another little vein I'd like to venture down. It's also been mentioned here that a suitable application might be in the construction of bridges. I know it's very common, when you look at railway bridges from years and years ago, to see that timber was used then. They didn't have the cross-laminated timber products at that time. They just had mass timber.

Can you tell me how you see the cross-laminated timber, maybe in an application like a bridge, standing up to the elements like all the road salt that's being used today and some of the weather?

5:25 p.m.

Principal, Structural Engineering, Equilibrium Consulting Inc.

Eric Karsh

I think timber was probably popular in the construction of bridges, say a century ago, because it's a material that can be sourced essentially near the site. There's no need to truck materials in. That might have been the primary reason why it was used then. The way to protect it was really the use of chemicals.

Bridges that are being built in Europe right now are built with a different approach. Basically we protect the timber from sun and water exposure through the use of a finish on the bridge. If you do that, the thought is that you can design a bridge for a 100-year lifespan.

The use of CLT, to address your question, is very appropriate for bridge design because it provides a very rigid deck element, which is critical in distributing wheel loads on a bridge structure. There are bridges being built with CLT right now.

5:30 p.m.


Ted Falk Conservative Provencher, MB

Thank you, Mr. Karsh.

Okay, very good, that's helpful.

I have just one more question for you, Mr. Jeffery. You talked about next-gen stuff with wood products. Can you briefly inform the committee, from your perspective, where the most opportunity is in next-gen products, when it comes to wood products?

5:30 p.m.

President and Chief Executive Officer, Coast Forest Products Association

Rick Jeffery

Yes, sure.

Just to dive in on your bridge thing, that's another place where the Canadian Wood Council has identified a real market opportunity—bridges in Canada. There are hundreds and hundreds of bridges across this country up for replacement. Wood could be a good alternative in there.

I think a lot of next-gen products revolve around these engineered solid wood products, like LVL, Parallam, and cross-laminated timber. Think of them as a system, not just products. You're not just selling one product. You're saying we have these different kinds of products that can be put together in applications to do things like 350-metre spans and stuff like that. On that side, that's really where I look.

On the pulp and paper side, I talked about the importance of primary and then secondary following in behind. Pulp mills are going to be pulp mills. They're going take fibre. They're going boil it up into cellulose and lignin and make paper and those things. Paper is not a winning thing. When I think about a bunch of next-gen stuff that gets really exciting, nanocrystalline cellulose can be used in carbon fibre and coatings in glass. You can use lignin and cellulose to replace petroleum-based polycarbonates in plastics and carbon fibres.

Then there's the whole biofuels piece, where we can fuel part of our energy needs out of renewable energy that comes from wood. Those are the kinds of things that we have research on in the laboratories. Our challenge now is to de-risk those things and commercialize them. That's where government can play a role. That's where your previous government and this government have done things like IFED and forest innovation programs, and funded FPInnovations and places like that, to allow us to get this stuff from the laboratory into real life.

That's the challenge. That's where it comes back to my saying that attracting investment in this country is a hard go these days.

5:30 p.m.


Ted Falk Conservative Provencher, MB

Thank you very much.

5:30 p.m.


The Chair Liberal James Maloney

Gentleman, thank you very much.

It was an interesting discussion and helpful evidence. We're grateful for your taking the time to join us today. That's all the time we have.

We're going to end there and sign off. We're very grateful to you.

Before we adjourn, I'll note that everybody will come back on Wednesday. We're doing the electricity report. Everybody will come ready, willing, excited, and all charged up.

On that note, we'll adjourn.