Forestry sector transition

A transition team of government and industry representatives has been created to make sure the forestry sector has a place in Nova Scotia's economy for many generations to come.

The team is advising government on short-term actions that can help affected workers and businesses, recommending potential areas for investment, including the $50 million transition fund, and identifying longer-term and innovative approaches to support an ecologically sustainable and competitive forestry sector. Read the Terms of Reference.

Transition Team Members include:

  • Kelliann Dean, Deputy Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs and Trade, as team lead
  • Julie Towers, Deputy Minister, Department of Lands and Forestry
  • Simon d'Entremont, Deputy Minister, Department of Energy and Mines
  • Ava Czapalay, Associate Deputy Minister, Department of Labour and Advanced Education
  • Don Bureaux, President, Nova Scotia Community College
  • Jeff Bishop, Executive Director, Forest Nova Scotia
  • Debbie Reeves, Chair, Large Private Non-Industrial Landowners of Nova Scotia
  • Greg Watson, Manager, North Nova Forest Owners Co-op Ltd.
  • Doug Ledwidge, President and CEO, Ledwidge Lumber

As the team moves forward with its work, people with further expertise may be engaged.

Forestry innovation transition trust

The forestry sector needs time to diversify and move toward a sustainable future. Government has placed $50 million in trust so it is available for use over multiple years. A three-member trustee board oversees spending decisions to support projects that align with the new vision for forestry in Nova Scotia. Projects focus on accelerating new opportunities to enhance environmental, social and economic values and adoption of new ecological forestry practices. The trust will call for proposals three times in 2021-22. See more information about the Forestry Innovation Transition Trust.

Trade opportunities and market research

As a small jurisdiction with a small domestic market, accessing foreign markets is critical for Nova Scotia’s forestry sector. The international forest economy is growing, and there is an opportunity to tap into that activity with a variety of forestry products and proximity to key markets.

To help inform business decisions and focus Nova Scotia’s export opportunities, here is information from recent market intelligence research and three trade missions with Sweden, Finland and Maine, USA.

  • Export Opportunities for Nova Scotia’s Forestry Sector – Fall 2020

  • Virtual Forestry Mission Report
  • A vision for forestry in Nova Scotia

    As part of its mandate to identify longer-term and innovative approaches for the forestry sector, the Forestry Transition Team has developed a new vision for forestry in Nova Scotia. This framework will help guide decision making for government and the Forestry Innovation Transition Trust and help prioritize efforts as we move forward.

    We invite members of the forestry sector to reflect on this framework and consider what it means for your work or your business as you plan your forestry future.


    A strong, sustainable, inclusive, diversified and innovative forestry sector, respected for its stewardship practices, and successfully delivering high value for lower ecological impact.

    Guiding Principles:

    • Build on comparative advantage and support diversification and development of new products and markets
    • Protect and enhance ecosystems and biodiversity
    • Engage local communities, incorporate local knowledge and encourage local leadership in forest management
    • Develop and provide scientific and technical knowledge aimed at improving our capability to protect, manage, and use forests
    • Make the best, most efficient use of all available programs and resources

    Transition Priorities:

    1. Innovation, Diversification and Entrepreneurship
      • Invest in and nurture a portfolio of activities focused on adding more value to the existing resource, while lowering ecological impacts (research, innovation, productivity enhancement, product diversification, resource improvement, market diversification). Possible investments could include technology pilots and projects that enable emerging technologies and promising innovations on the horizon (e.g. bioplastics, biofuel, advanced materials).
      • Encourage risk taking and experimentation in Nova Scotia’s sustainable forestry and biological resources sector by supporting new and young businesses through the provision of entrepreneurial grants that can be leveraged to secure additional financing.
      • Informed by major drivers of government policy and consumer sentiments worldwide: pandemic economic recovery, climate change ambition, carbon neutrality, need for modern building products, renewability/sustainability and innovation in materials science.
    2. Workforce Development
      • Invest in partnerships with post-secondary institutions and professional associations aimed at keeping the forestry industry competitive by professionalizing the forestry workforce in Nova Scotia.
      • Programming based on the principles and practices of sustainable forest land management as well as workforce development for ramping up the application of known technologies.
      • Goals may include, but are not limited to, new certification, training and skills development, and new strategies for recruitment and encouraging careers in the forestry-related occupations of the future.
      • Skills development for implementation of ecological forestry to align with Lahey report recommendations
    3. Woodlot Owner Leadership
      • Invest in a ‘made in NS, private-woodlot owner-led model’ aimed at creating a forest culture in the province focused on forest stewardship and rural economic development.
      • Goals may include, but are not limited to, creating a strong landowner support network including cooperatives, structure and tools for managing forestry inventory data, collaborating with other resource sectors (e.g. Agriculture), market development, investment attraction and contractor support.
    4. Supply Chain Viability
      • Continue to anticipate and mitigate risk to the forestry supply chain network in the Province.
      • Enable the sector to reduce operating costs and increase efficiency by assisting sustainable forestry and biological resource businesses to invest in:
        • Technologies that increase fiber utilization
        • Technologies that demonstrate business inputs more efficiently.
        • Technologies that produce products at lower cost.
        • Technologies that demonstrably reduce GHG emissions.
        • Process automation technologies.
        • Transportation
        • Productivity of mills and contractors / crews

    Forestry sector initiatives

    With input from the Forestry Transition Team and others from the sector, partners and government, the following transition initiatives have been put in place to date. This includes about $75 million in funding initiatives.

    • Toll-free line into government
    • Emergency assistance program
    • Retraining support through NS Works and a new Forestry Apprenticeship Initiative
    • Silviculture and road programs on private and Crown lands
    • Credit Union Contractor Lending Program
    • Flexibility during spring road closures
    • Land purchase program with priority placed on applicants from the forestry sector who wish to sell land at fair market value
    • Forestry Innovation Transition Trust ($50 million)
    • Forestry Innovation Rebate program administered by NSBI
    • Wood Heat Initiative
    • Changes to Nova Scotia Power’s Renewable Energy Standard
    • Provided Forestry HR Sector Council with $250,000 for workforce planning and development
    • Virtual trade missions to Sweden, Maine and Finland
    • Market intelligence research
    • Improvements to the Nova Scotia Timber Loan Board lending terms and eligibility
    • A new vision, guiding principles and strategic priorities for forestry in Nova Scotia
    • A dedicated website with relevant program information