Wawa OSB Inc. recently received a grant of $15 million over four years from the Ontario government through the Forest Sector Investment and Innovation Program. The program aims to support a new plant that will produce oriented strand board (OSB), an important material for building new homes. The investment is intended to build a stronger forestry sector, create jobs, and bring economic growth to northern and Indigenous communities.
“Funding this new plant is a win for Ontario, Wawa OSB Inc., and the entire community of Wawa,” said Greg Rickford, Minister of Northern Development, Mines, Natural Resources and Forestry. “An investment of this size is one more way our government is supporting forestry and ensuring we secure the materials we need for our plan to Build Ontario. This exciting opportunity is another example of a new company choosing to invest in Ontario because of an improved business environment, and it will bring good jobs back to this region and benefit Indigenous communities.”
According to an April press release, Ontario has a competitive advantage in the production of OSB because of its abundance of low-grade poplar and birch. Wawa OSB Inc. is investing $181 million to build the province’s third OSB manufacturing facility, which will expand Ontario’s OSB production capacity to satisfy growing demand for building materials in Canada and the US.
“This assistance is a key first step in financing our project to reopen the WAWA OSB mill,” said Yolaine Rousseau, Executive vice-president, WAWA OSB Inc. “I would like to reiterate our commitment to working with the various stakeholders, including the First Nations in the territory. Our team is proud and grateful to the Government of Ontario for recognizing the importance of this project to the province, and we will continue our discussions with the Government of Canada to obtain their support as well.”
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.
The funding is conditional on the completion of key project milestones and finalizing a funding contract between the company and the province. There are still several other milestones for Wawa OSB Inc. to achieve before they can be fully functional, including working with local Indigenous and municipal communities, as well as local Sustainable Forest Licence holders.