Speech Article from  Natural Resources Canada

Address to the GLOBE 2016 Conference - Panel Session: Modern Wood Buildings: Naturally Innovative

Vancouver, March 2, 2016


As you know, the Natural Resources Ministry covers a very wide range of subject matter and public policy, and I’m very happy to be with the wood folk today.

One of the things that I’m proudest of as Minister of Natural Resources is Canada’s environmental performance in forest management, a record that is second to none. And with Paris and COP 21 still fresh in our minds, it bears repeating that there can be no global solution to climate change without involving the forest sector. 

Our government understands this, and that’s why we are working with the Canadian Wood Council and the Wood Works Program to provide more education and training about wood construction for engineers and architects. It’s why we are collaborating with FPInnovations to enhance the performance of wood structures. And with the new provisions for wood mid-rise buildings in the 2015 National Building Code of Canada, we’ll be focusing on the taller wood provisions for the 2020 Building Code. 

In fact, Natural Resources Canada is investing in the new student residence building at UBC — by the way, where I was a student a very long time ago — that will become the tallest wood building in the world. I’m optimistic about the future of wood in highrise and mid-rise construction. Wood frame and mass timber buildings offer incredible advantages, including prefabrication that minimizes disruption on building sites, lower costs, their ability to incorporate clean technologies and greater choice for designers and consumers alike. And of course wood buildings continue to store carbon for years and years.

Today, we’re here to continue the conversation about reaching higher with wood. That would be haut bois. And if we can take the entrepreneurship and creativity of this industry, push the envelope on innovation and science and continue to expand our markets, I believe we can be an example, not just to one another, but to the world.

That is what was prepared, but I think I want to deliver one or two other messages while I’m up here. We were elected on a mandate to do things differently, and one of the ways in which we’re doing things differently is to actually encourage scientists to speak about their discoveries, to be free to talk to the people of Canada. We want our decisions to be based on science and on evidence.

NRCan has 3,900 employees, and of those, a majority are scientists or technologists one way or another. So this department really is a centrepiece of the Government of Canada’s scientific capacity and capability. And much of it will involve the work that you do. I want you to know that this government honours that work and respects that contribution to public policy formation. 

And I also want you to know that we are interested in listening as well as talking. That no one has a monopoly on virtue. No one is right all of the time. There must be not only a tolerance of dissent but a willingness to embrace those with a different point of view so that we can always learn from those who hold a different point of view and a different perspective.

So, I know that I speak for my colleagues when I say that we cherish the work that you do, and we believe that you are contributing to a greater Canada through the work that you’re doing. And it’s my pleasure as Minister to be with you and to wish you well as you learn from each other and as we learn from you. 

Thank you very much.

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Hon. James Gordon Carr Natural Resources Canada Science and Technology

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