Canadian Forest Service Publications

Secondary manufacturing of solid wood products in Alberta 2013/2014: Structure and economic contribution. 2017. Bogdanski, B.E.C., McBeath, A. Natural Resources Canada, Canadian Forest Service, Pacific Forestry Centre, Victoria, British Columbia. Information report BC-X-440. 42 p.

Year: 2017

Available from: Pacific Forestry Centre

Catalog ID: 38994

Language: English

Series: Information Report (PFC - Victoria)

CFS Availability: PDF (download)

Abstract

This report presents survey results for Alberta’s secondary wood manufacturing industries in 2013. The survey compiled operational, employment, production, marketing, and financial information on nine business types. Additional information was acquired from Statistics Canada and Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada to provide supplemental trend data and information on panelboard industries. This is the first focused survey of the sector in many years and provides base information for continued tracking of the sector in subsequent years. The secondary wood manufacturing sector has grown tremendously over the past 20 years but certainly has struggled to grow over the last decade. Presently, the Alberta secondary wood product industries, clustered around Calgary and Edmonton, are significant users of Alberta’s wood resources and suppliers of wood-based products to Alberta and the rest of North America. Most of the fibre used by Alberta manufacturers is in the form of lumber sourced from the Alberta market. The majority of sales were within Alberta (57%), with the rest distributed across British Columbia (8%), the Prairies (10%), eastern Canada (8%), and the United States (14%). Many firms hope to expand operations, although opportunities to do so are threatened by several challenges. The cost of labour, along with insufficient skills and experience of the labour force, were identified as the most pressing challenges facing the industry.

Plain Language Summary

This report presents survey results for Alberta’s secondary wood manufacturing industries in 2013. The survey compiled operational, employment, production, marketing, and financial information on nine business types. Additional information was acquired from Statistics Canada and Industry Canada to provide added trend information and information on panelboard industries. This is the first focused survey of the sector in many years and provides base information for continued tracking of the sector in subsequent years. The secondary wood manufacturing sector has grown tremendously over the past 20 years but certainly has struggled to grow over the past 10 years during a period of recession, high Canadian dollar and increased overseas and US competition in domestic markets. Despite the challenges, the sector is comparable in size to Alberta’s paper and sawmilling industries. Excluding panelboard businesses, we estimate that 201 businesses employed 7 449 people and had sales of $1.355 billion in 2013. Presently, the Alberta secondary wood product industries, grouped around Calgary and Edmonton, are significant users of Alberta’s wood resources and suppliers of wood-based products to Alberta and the rest of North America. The most common business type is millwork, followed by cabinets, and engineered wood products. Approximately 1.5 million cubic metres of wood fibre was utilized by the secondary manufacturing survey respondents. Most commonly used wood fibre species are softwoods, spruce, pine and fir, in the form of lumber and logs and 83% of it is sourced from within Alberta. Sales are much more diversified across markets than 30 years ago when the last detailed study of the sector was conducted. This is despite a large decrease in exports to the United States over the past 10 years. The majority of sales were within Alberta with the rest of sales distributed across B.C., rest of Prairies, Eastern Canada and the United States. Use of the internet is prevalent with 90% of companies with some form of internet use. Use of social media such as Facebook and Linked-in is in early stages but early adopters tend to be companies that produce more finished products such as furniture, buildings and cabinets. Many firms hope to expand operations but opportunities are threatened by several challenges. Cost of labour and insufficient skills and experience of labour were identified as the most pressing challenges facing the industry.

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