Canada announces CS$4.5M in funding for Canada-Tohoku reconstruction, including C$0.5M from industry; minister says project will help Japan rebuild public facilities using wood

TOKYO, Japan , November 11, 2011 (press release) – The Honourable Joe Oliver, Canada’s Minister of Natural Resources, the Honourable Steve Thomson, Minister of Forests, Lands and Natural Resources Operations for British Columbia, and representatives from Canada’s forest industry today announced $4.5 million for a Canada–Tohoku Reconstruction Project.

“I am pleased to announce Canada’s support for this initiative, which complements other Canadian humanitarian assistance efforts in the aftermath of the 2011 Tohoku earthquake and tsunami,” said Minister Oliver. “The Reconstruction Project will help Japan rebuild some of its public facilities using wood and enable residents to move forward after these devastating natural disasters.”

The Government of Canada, through Natural Resources Canada, will contribute $2 million toward this initiative. The Government of British Columbia is providing $2 million, and Canada’s forest industry is donating $500,000. Today’s funding announcement is in addition to the more than $40 million in cash and in-kind donations contributed by Canadians and Canadian corporations, including $1.5 million that was previously provided by the Province and forest industry to the Red Cross for humanitarian aid.

“Japan has been one of our trading partners for well over 100 years, and we value the strong relationship we have, so we’re pleased to be able to lend assistance,” said Thomson. “We’ll be working closing with local government officials in Japan in reconstruction efforts that use high-quality B.C. wood products.”

These funds will be used to support the construction of one or more community facilities such as a school or elderly care centre in the Tohoku region, using sustainably harvested Canadian wood products.

Canada Wood Group Japan is working with Japanese government officials and local building experts to initiate a request for proposals for the selection of projects. The Canada Wood Group, a consortium of industry associations, will provide technical support and expertise in wood-frame construction. The organizations will work together to ensure the wood-frame structures meet local needs and building code requirements.

Studies have demonstrated that wood-frame buildings are a highly suitable construction choice for earthquake-prone regions because of their adaptability and seismic stability when used in compliance with proven construction techniques. Wood construction products also have a smaller carbon footprint than other materials.

“Japan is one of our most valued customers, and we’re pleased that we’re able to assist in rebuilding the area devastated by the March 2011 tsunami,” said Rick Jeffery, Chair, Government Relations, Canada Wood.

The companies providing financial assistance are Ainsworth Engineered, Ardew Wood Products Ltd., AP Group, Canadian Forest Products Ltd., Hampton Affiliates, International Forest Products Ltd., Sinclar Group Forest Products Ltd., Taiga Building Products, Teal Jones Group TimberWest Forest Corp., Western Forest Products Inc. and Interex Forest Products Ltd. representing Carrier Lumber Ltd., Dunkley Lumber Ltd., Millar Western Forest Industries Ltd. and Sundance Forest Industries Ltd.

This announcement, in addition to demonstrating Canada’s goodwill as part of a larger humanitarian effort, also demonstrates Canada’s commitment to Japan as an important trading partner that has provided decades of benefit for Canadian companies, forest communities and workers.


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