Ontario Supports Job Creation and Expansion in the Forestry Sector

Investment in state-of-the-art technology to boost productivity at Oxford Pallet

NORWICH – The Ontario government is providing $2 million to the wood products company, Oxford Pallet, to expand its operations and introduce innovative robotic and vision equipment to boost productivity and create local jobs. Oxford Pallet is the first company to be approved for funding under the Forest Sector Investment and Innovation Program, a program designed to help Ontario forestry companies develop and implement innovative technology.

The announcement was made today by John Yakabuski, Minister of Natural Resources and Forestry, Vic Fedeli, Minister of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade, Ernie Hardeman, MPP for Oxford and Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, and Mike Harris, Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Natural Resources and Forestry.

“These investments are absolutely critical to support the province’s vital forestry sector and start us down the road to a strong economic recovery,” said Minister Yakabuski. “We will continue to do everything we can to support our local businesses and forest sector to create good-paying jobs and economic opportunities in every community across this province.”

The investment will create 20 new jobs, double the plant’s production capacity, and increase lumber purchases from regional sawmills and lumber wholesalers in Ontario by more than 30 per cent. The innovative equipment and technology planned in the company’s expansion is a first of its kind in North America’s pallet industry.

“As communities across the province continue to work together to recover from the effects of COVID-19, Ontario’s business community remains at the heart of our economic recovery efforts,” said Minister Fedeli. “Our government continues to be laser-focused on making targeted investments that support homegrown businesses like Oxford Pallet to help them create jobs and remain competitive.”

Oxford Pallet provides essential wood products like crates, bins and mulch to many industries, ranging from packaging and transport to biofuel and farming.

“Investing in innovative and sustainable solutions is critical to the economic growth of communities across rural Ontario,” said Minister Hardeman. “Today’s investment in equipment to manufacture made-in-Ontario products helps strengthen the province’s forest sector and creates jobs for the people and families in Oxford County.”

Investments such as this one are a key part of the recently released Sustainable Growth: Ontario’s Forest Sector Strategythe government’s plan to create jobs and encourage economic growth in the forestry industry, supporting the Indigenous, northern and rural communities that depend on the sector while ensuring the province’s forests are managed sustainably for generations to come.


Quick Facts

  • Ontario’s forest industry generates over $18 billion in revenue and supports approximately 147,000 direct and indirect jobs in regions with few other industries.
  • Forestry was deemed an essential industry during the COVID-19 outbreak, ensuring the industry could continue to provide much needed materials used in hospital masks, gowns and other hygiene products, as well as packaging for sterile medical and food wrappings.

Quotes

“This investment will not only create jobs for the local community, it will support an industry that thousands of families across this province depend on. Our government is committed to encouraging job creation in our sustainable forest sector as we work to get the economy back on track. The vital role this industry plays has been especially evident in recent months, providing essential forest products for hygiene, food and medical supplies, and personal protective equipment like surgical masks and gowns.”
– Mike Harris
Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Natural Resources and Forestry

“This assistance will enable us to create additional jobs, expand our rural community and advance the efforts in creating a cleaner environment. Through initiatives on recycled wooden pallets, cardboards and plastics, our hope is to reduce the volumes of waste sent to landfills. Our team is excited and grateful to our Ontario government in recognizing this important endeavor. On behalf of our family and the employees at Oxford Pallet & Recyclers Ltd., we would like to thank John Yakabuski, the Minister of Natural Resources and Forestry, FedDev Ontario and the Ontario Government for the financial contribution toward our new building project.”
– Henk Vrugteveen
Owner/President, Oxford Pallet & Recyclers Ltd.