South Okanagan – West Kootenay MP Richard Cannings introduced a bill on Thursday that calls on the government of Canada to give preference to construction with wood products when building, maintaining or repairing federally-owned properties.
“Canadian wood product manufacturers produce amazing products that are sold around the world and are a sustainable option whose use should be promoted more and more here at home,” said Cannings, who is the NDP natural resources critic. “We know that communities account for over half of all greenhouse gas emissions (GHG’s) in Canada, and much of that comes from buildings themselves. By promoting the use of wood in its own buildings, which emits much less GHG’s than concrete, the government of Canada can help to reduce its own carbon footprint and help us get closer to meeting our Paris Accord targets.”
If passed, Bill C-354, an Act to amend the Department of Public Works and Government Services Act (Use of Wood), would compel the government to give preference to projects that promote the use of wood, taking into account the associated costs and reductions in greenhouse gas emissions by using wood products.
Cannings said advances in wood construction technology have increased the possibilities of what can be built with wood. Recently the University of British Columbia completed construction on the Brock Commons student residence, the world’s tallest wood building at 18 storeys. It is a mass timber structure completed in just 66 days using Structurlam, which is based in Penticton and Okanagan Falls, glulam columns and CLT panels. Also in 2014 the Cree community of Mistissini, Quebec opened the “Mistissini Bridge”, a 160 metre-long, glue-laminated, wood-beam semi-continuous arched structure bridge. It is one of the largest wooden structures in Canada and won two national awards at the 2016 Canadian Consulting Engineering Awards.
“As we have seen at UBC and in Mistissini, we have made great advancements in what we can do with wood construction. These are Canadian innovations that we are now exporting to the world and we should be using them more here at home,” said Cannings. “The future of the Canadian forestry sector is comes from innovations like these. One of the easiest ways the government of Canada can show their tangible support for this sector and the community-sustaining jobs that they create is to make it a part of Canada’s own procurement policy to use wood products in government buildings.”