The federal Natural Resources Minister recently announced a $1 billion Pulp and Paper Green Transformation Program. The program will provide funding tied to the amount of black liquor produced by pulp mills. Black liquor, a by-product of the pulping process, can be used to generate renewable heat and power. Companies will receive $0.16 per litre of liquor on the condition that the money be invested over the next three years in improvements to energy efficiency and other measures of environmental performance.
The program is designed in the hopes of creating a more sustainable, and commercially viable, industry. Natural Resources Minister Lisa Raitt claimed that "[b]y making a smart investment today, we are laying the ground work for a greener, more secure future for the pulp and paper sector and the people who work in it".
Part of the federal government's current efforts to pull Canada out of the recession, this new funding is just one of several programs available to members of the forestry industry, as well as those operating in other economic sectors. Canada's Economic Action Plan makes cash available to support the development of innovative technologies which can enhance the competitiveness of Canadian companies internationally. Further, the Community Adjustment Fund and Community Development Trust, both created under the Economic Action Plan, contain $1 billion each to help "mitigate the short-term impacts of restructuring in communities." The federal government has also made cash available to extend work sharing agreements, which are aimed at helping employers avoid temporary layoffs, while waiting for an economic turnaround.