Program Overview

Planning and delivery of the Wood First program is a collaborative effort involving the building construction industry, government and the forest sector. Based on recommendations from an advisory group representing a cross-section of primary and secondary manufacturing industries and wood product end-use sectors, FII develops an investment plan that allocates funding on an annual basis.

Activities under the Wood First program are delivered primarily through third-party organizations under a cost-sharing framework between FII, the Federal Government and industry. Initiatives are based on the understanding that long-term sustainability of the forest economy includes actively maintaining, creating and diversifying demand for BC forest products.

Photo: The University of British Columbia’s Centre for Advanced Wood Processing | Credit: Brudder Productions, courtesy naturallywood.com

Program Objectives

Through our Wood First program, FII seeks to:

Strengthen BC’s capacity to produce competitive wood-based products and building systems that create and respond to market demand.

Accelerate adoption of existing and emerging wood-based products and building systems.

Position BC as a world leader in sustainable and innovative wood-based products and building systems in design, production and application.

Funding Process

Each year FII manages a Call for Proposals for the Wood First program, which typically opens in late fall. Though this year’s call is now closed, we invite you to review our process and eligibility information in preparation for next year.

1.

Please review all eligibility requirements below carefully to determine whether your organization may apply for funding.

2.

All applicants are strongly encouraged to carefully review the Wood First Investment Plan and 3-Year Strategic Plan below.

3.

After reviewing our eligibility requirements and applicant resources, please set up a user account within our Recipient Funding Management System below. Once you are registered within our Recipient Funding Management System, you will have access to a variety of information and resources that will help you to submit an application that meets the criteria of FII and our funding partners. Applicants are strongly encouraged to review all resources thoroughly before submitting their applications.

4.

If you have any questions regarding the Call for Proposals process, please email us at info@bcfii.ca.

Eligibility

Please review FII’s eligibility information below to determine if you may apply for funding. Please note, FII does not provide loans, grants or subsidies. Funding is not meant to support an individual firm’s activities but rather to benefit sub-sectors or the BC forest sector as a whole.

Those who are eligible to apply for funding under our Wood First program include:

  • Not-for-profit groups or associations representing multi-company interests and serving the objectives of a large geographic area or the majority of producers of a specific species or product category.
  • Academic/research institutions including universities, colleges, and trades.
  • First Nations regional Tribal Councils and Indigenous non-profit organizations.
  • BC Government Ministries/Agencies and Municipal non-profit organizations.

Applicant Information

FII provides guidance and support to applicants for its annual Call for Proposals. If you wish to obtain further resources in preparation for your submission, please visit the Call for Proposals page.

document icon

Wood First Application Guide
2024-25

Download
document icon

Wood First Investment Plan 2024-25

Download
document icon

Wood First 3-Year Strategy
2023-2026

Download

Current Wood First Recipients

At FII, we are proud to support a wide variety of organizations within the forest, design and construction industries. We invite you to browse our 2022/23 Wood First funding recipients.

Featured Projects

Embodied Carbon: A Primer for Buildings in Canada

To assist the construction industry in reducing embodied carbon in the built environment, the Canadian Green Building Council—with funding support from FII’s Wood First program—produced a white paper, Embodied Carbon: A Primer for Buildings in Canada. The report focuses on buildings and low-carbon materials including wood and mass timber, highlighting the importance of addressing embodied carbon, as it can represent over 90 percent of emissions in high-performance buildings (vs. operational carbon). Within the first week of its release, there were over 750 report views.

Fostering careers in the wood sector

With advancements in wood-based products and building systems comes the need to develop the skills, ability and confidence to choose wood-based products over alternative materials. Training for current and future skill sets is vital if B.C. is to improve the capacity and effectiveness of its wood-related design and built infrastructure.

Indigenous Skills Initiative

In 2021/22, FII’s Wood First program funded the Construction Foundation of BC (CFBC) to expand its K-12 Indigenous Skills Initiative which encourages Indigenous youth to pursue careers in the wood sector. Starting with woodworking traditions drawn from coastal B.C., the program has created a pool of resources that allow educators to connect woodworking techniques with community practices rooted in history, language and culture. In 2021/22, fifteen unique wood discovery projects were added, each featuring a different regional woodworking application using traditional skills shared by community Elders. Among the resources developed for the initiative are the book, Indigenous Skills: An Exploration of Northwest Coast Carving and Tradition, the IndigenousSkills.ca website and a series of instructional videos.

Under the theme of inter-Nation sharing, projects are now being expanded to communities across B.C., enabling schools to create projects that reflect their own unique territory and traditions.

The training provided to educators under the Indigenous Skills Initiative will give thousands of young people in the province a chance to work with wood and explore the relationship between personal identity and the forest.

Indigenous Skills Workshop

446 young people ranging from five years old to young adults participated in Indigenous Skills workshops run by the CFBC in 2021/22. Career exploration and a connection to living and working with forests were themes woven into the workshop presentations, often in the context of a community’s relationship to the forest. These workshops supported the expansion of culturally rooted education opportunities for Indigenous youth attending public schools and created space for celebrating Indigenous knowledge and practice with all students in the public system.

PHOTO: STUDENTS AT A FIRST NATIONS SCHOOL ON VANCOUVER ISLAND PAINT THEIR DESIGNS ON PADDLE PENDANTS THAT THEY’VE
SHAPED BY HAND | CREDIT: CFBC

WoodTALKS™ expands as interest grows

BC Wood’s WoodTALKS™ initiative—an accredited live webinar series—features a broad suite of educational programming designed to educate, inform and inspire participants on the use of wood in design and construction. During the year, the program was revamped to enable B.C. value-added wood manufacturers to host and deliver webinars directly to the specifier community including architects, designers, engineers, developers, builders, and contractors in B.C., Canada, and the U.S. Through hosting a WoodTALKS™ educational webinar, value-added manufacturers can present their company, products and expertise; position themselves as trusted industry leaders; and build their client base.

BC Wood also hosted six, one-hour WoodTALKS™ education sessions during the 18th Annual Global Buyer’s Mission (GBM) held virtually in September 2021, with presentations tooled to meet the interests of the 545 registered participants.
As regular face-to-face business resumes, participants in the program will have the opportunity to deliver sessions in either in-person or hybrid learning formats.

The WoodTALKS™ program drew unprecedented interest in 2021/22 with 2,971 professional building and design specifiers educated on the use of wood products or structural and finishing applications. 

Facilitating creativity and innovation across the value-added sector

The Wood Innovation Group (TWIG) is a network and community of wood-related professionals focused on facilitating creative projects and product development using local resources. A relaunch of the Outside the Box meetup group, TWIG is now leveraging an expanded online presence to incubate and accelerate ideas to help position B.C. as a world leader in sustainable and innovative wood-based products and building systems.

TWIG hosts monthly online and in-person events where participants discuss ideas, share information and find solutions aimed at helping inspire and reinvigorate the value-added wood industry in B.C. Over the past decade, these meetup events have sparked a host of new ideas, products, partnerships and businesses.

With funding support provided through FII’s Wood First program, TWIG hosted monthly meetings in 2021/22 with special guests presenting on a range of wood-based topics, including:

  • Wood Anatomy and Properties – DesignConsiderations
  • Design for Manufacturing
  • Waste and Reclamation
  • BioMaterials
  • The People Side (marketing, B2B relationships)
  • UBC CAWP Product Development Tour
  • Clark Block Tour (Space, Rangate, etc.)
  • Product Development Journey
  • Wood Structures
  • Crafted Industries

A repository of presentations and projects is available on TWIG’s new website at twigbc.ca.

PHOTO: SEED NIGHT FRIDAY AT FAST + EPP | CREDIT: PATRICK CHRISTIE

Passive house training for remote/northern indigenous communities

Kyah Wiget Education Society (KWES) is a certified Independent school that incorporates cultural content into academic programming for K-12 students, as well as within college-level programming in coordination with the Nicola Valley Institute of Technology.

Through a partnership between Passive House Canada and BC Housing, the Witset First Nation received funding for a 26-unit, three-storey energy efficient apartment project that is being designed to meet Passive House standards and will serve as a Passive House showcase. With funding from FII’s Wood First program, the project will also act as a training ground for energy-efficient construction techniques for local Indigenous workers. 

Across 2020/21, KWES trained 13 local members of the Witset First Nation, as well as three members of the Heiltsuk First Nation of Haida Gwaii, on low carbon building practices such as prefabrication using B.C. wood products to meet Passive House standards. 

Investing in research and knowledge mobilization

B.C.’s global leadership in raising mass timber to new heights and building taller with wood would not be possible without investments in research to remove technical barriers and demonstrate what is possible. Current priorities align with the province’s efforts to support codes that allow up to 12 storeys and open opportunities for advanced wood building systems, including mass timber. 

In 2022/23, examples of FII-funded mass timber research included:

  • ACOUSTICS & VIBRATION — Vibration performance of tall mass timber buildings
  • CARBON — Whole-building LCA benchmarking system
  • CONNECTIONS — Development of deconstructable mass timber hold-down connections for taller & larger building applications
  • FIRE — 2 hr fire resistance testing of mechanically laminated timber floors
  • SEISMIC — Mass timber diaphragm solutions for tall hybrid buildings
  • BC SPECIES —  Design values for western hemlock and western hemlock/Amabilis fir glue laminated timber

Web-based CodeCHEK speeds up building design

As wood-based building systems become more popular in commercial and multi-storey residential sectors, many developers want to incorporate more wood into their projects. However, with varying building codes across the country, building designers are often unsure as to when and how they can build with wood. 

The Canadian Wood Council has created CodeCHEK, a new web-based tool to help designers quickly determine what type of wood-based construction is allowed for their projects under local building codes. 

Based on project data input by the designer, CodeCHEK reports if and when lightweight wood-frame, heavy timber, mass timber and/or encapsulated mass timber construction can be used. It also outlines applicable construction requirements related to fire safety and code requirements for permitted projects. If CodeCHEK concludes that wood use is not permitted, it lists options for meeting code requirements and refers the designer to case studies and other resources to assist in redesigning the project. 

Strengthening manufacturing and building capacity

Efforts continued in 2019/20 to build capacity in wood manufacturing sectors. An example of this is an ongoing series of industry workshops held by BC Wood. The workshops targeted small- and medium-sized firms and included marketing, business fundamentals and updates on new technologies and applications. 

The strong industry interest in the workshops, as shown by the attendance records, reflects the steady interest among owners and managers for professional development. 

UBC’s Centre for Advanced Wood Processing also conducted industry workshops focused around new technologies and applications of robotics. 

For an overview of our recipient projects completed in 2022/23, please download our Year in Review

Download