Congratulations to ALL leaders in Canada’s bioeconomy relating to industry, community and academic achievements. Learn more about this year's (VERY tough to select) 10 awards recipients and their successes.
View the ceremony's Opening Remarks by Catherine McKenna, Minister of Environment and Climate Change
Non-Profit Organization of the Year
Celebrates a registered non-profit or charitable organization that has demonstrated leadership, innovation, and sustainability
Award Winner: Ontario Sustainable Energy Association
Accepted By: Nicole Risse, Executive Director
OSEA is bringing the public, commercial and community sustainable energy sectors together to address emerging trends in sustainable communities across Ontario. OSEA’s vision - a prosperous Ontario with a thriving sustainable energy sector, good jobs, resilient communities and healthy environments that are powered, heated, cooled and moved by portfolios of sustainable energy. Through it’s diverse membership of community organizations, technology providers, developers and individuals, OSEA provides a platform to engage in dialogue.
OSEA’s member committees and internal working groups allow for action on the more crucial and timely of sustainability-focused themes – including green heat, combined energy options, net-metering, the LTEP and most-recently cap and trade. This year, OSEA delivered it’s 5th annual Green Energy Doors Open showcase, where over 200 operators throughout Ontario, Alberta and British Columbia opened their doors to the public to witness and learn about a variety of renewable energy technologies and energy-efficient practices.
OSEA’s approach breaks down the traditional silos of electricity, heating & cooling, transportation, and conservation, and recognizes the importance of integratation, to truly become an energy-sustainable Ontario.
SME of the Year
Celebrates a private sector business with fewer than 250 employees that has demonstrated leadership, innovation, and sustainability
Award Winner: Viessmann Manufacturing Company
Accepted By: Andreas Wintzer, Commercial & Biomass Manager
Viessmann is a leading manufacturer of heating, industrial and refrigeration systems, including biomass systems that are fully automated and equipped for reliable, efficient and safe operation. Viessmann offers heating solutions for virtually any situation - from traditional condensing boilers, to solar thermal heating systems, to biomass, as well as hot water storage tanks, system control technology and accessories.
Their applications range from residential, to commercial, to district heating. Viessman’s wood-fired boilers can be found at the state of the art biomass district heating system at La Cité Verte in Quebec, which remains one of Canada’s most renowned biomass district heating applications. Their heating solution at the Bluenose Academy, an elementary school in Nova Scotia, helped Bluenose become the first building in Canada featuring a biomass heating system to obtain LEED® Gold certification.
Viessmann will soon open the doors to a demonstration facility at their Waterloo office, which will showcase their biomass heating systems and other technologies. Viessmann has been operating in Canada for 30 years, and has 70 employees between their Waterloo and Vancouver offices. Next year will be their 100’th anniversary since launching in Germany.
Large Enterprise of the Year
Celebrates a private sector business with greater than 250 employees that has demonstrated leadership, innovation, and sustainability
Award Winner: Tembec
Accepted By: Dany Gagnon, Site Manager - Temiscaming Complex
Tembec employs over 3250 employees and directly manage nearly 9 million hectares of Canadian forestlands, and has recently made major investments in green energy and sustainable products in Canada as well as France.
As a world leader in specialty cellulose, Tembec produces a tremendous range of applications across many industries – including cosmetics, pharmaceuticals, personal care, food, coatings, electronics and energy. Their Temiscaming, Quebec, plant recently launched a 50-megawatt co-generation facility, driven by a steam boiler using residuals from the speciality cellulose manufacturing. A new scrubber and environmental control equipment will reduce this plant’s sulfur dioxide emissions by 70%.
Tembec is reducing its energy consumption and need for fossil fuels, and is committed to win-win-win stories – lower costs, higher productivity and improved environmental performance.
Entrepreneur of the Year
Celebrates an individual that has demonstrated entrepreneurial leadership and innovation through their business venture(s)
Award Winner: Frank Benincasa
Frank is a man who is willing to take the risks necessary to reap potential reward. He assembled an experienced team that is multi-faceted in different industries including engineering and business management, bought a legacy bioeconomy asset in the northeast Ontario region (Mattawa), and has devoted the past 2 years to understanding the emerging bioeconomy and building the relationships and partnerships necessary for successful market and product development. Through his company, BioNorth Technologies Group, he has spent the time to learn and understand the bioeconomy space and, as an entrepreneur, is poised to capitalize on several unique opportunities.
Innovative Company of the Year
Celebrates a company or organization that showcases innovation in their products, services or business operations
Award Winner: White River Forest Products
Accepted By: Jim Graff
White River Forest Products (WRFPL) is a community-based private corporation that is owned by private investors, Pic Mobert First Nation, and the White River Economic Development Corporation. Its sawmill can be found in – you guessed it - White River in northwestern Ontario.
WRFPL has commenced a multi million-dollar re-investment program since restarting operations back in October 2013. Today, direct employment at the mill for production, management and administration is approximately 140 positions.
White River Forest Products is working proactively to maximize hiring from the region, and is committed to supporting the Pic Mobert First Nation to establish harvesting contract operations that will employ band members and seed future enterprises.
The facility has come a long way since 2007, when 250 employees were dismissed with the closure of the former mill. Since 2015, the mill has undergone a $15-million overhaul and, in doing so, made a major investment into the region and its people.
Community Project of the Year
Celebrates a municipal or First Nations community project that has made an outstanding contribution to local community needs
Award Winner: Whitesand First Nation (Community Sustainability Initiative)
Accepted By: Councillor Norman Matinet
In 2009, members of Whitesand First Nation created the Community Sustainability Initiative (CSI). This forward-thinking initiative aims to lead the community out of economic despair, address social needs, and preserve cultural and environmental integrity. CSI has the goal of improving the livelihoods of community members through sustainable use of the local forest which includes management practices, capacity building, innovation, and biomass energy production. CSI is recognized in Ontario as a pioneering, community-changing forestry/energy project.
The economic development cornerstone of CSI is the construction, commissioning and operation of a biomass-fueled 4 megawatt Combined Heat and Power Plant (CHP) and a 60,000 metric ton wood pellet facility. The CHP will provide electrical power to Whitesand First Nation, the hamlet of Armstrong, and the rail town of Collins, which are connected to a local area grid powered by a Hydro One Remotes diesel generation plant.
The CSI Biomass Project will create approximately 42 permanent jobs in the facilities, 17 jobs in harvesting and transportation and approximately 50 seasonal jobs – a huge accomplishment for this remote region.
Sustainable Community of the Year
Celebrates a municipality or First Nation that has incorporated sustainable practices to address the community’s “triple bottom line”
Award Winner: Town of Kapuskasing
Accepted By: Paul Nadeau, Manager – Energy and Project Development (Énergie Kapuskasing Energy)
Kapuskasing identifies as a diversified, progressive, sustainable, safe and healthy community, that has consistently looked at sustainability as an economic driver and opportunity. Community leaders took a proactive approach, and developed renewable energy-generation projects under the Green Energy Act in order to bring additional revenues to the Municipality. They so believe in the opportunity space of renewable energy, they incorporated an entity under the Electricity Act (Énergie Kapuskasing Energy) to continue developing renewable generation projects.
Their community and region straddle agri and forest opportunities in the bioeconomy. Kapuskasing was one of the first (and ongoing) communities to engage our organization to understand the opportunity space offered by the bioeconomy. Kap continues to have the foresight to sow the seeds for sustainable collaboration among its region.
Climate Action Community of the Year
Celebrates a municipality or First Nation that his making an active effort to become a low or zero-carbon community
Award Winner: Oxford County
Accepted By: Jay Heaman, Manager of Strategic Initiatives
In June of this year, Oxford County released its Draft 100% Renewable Energy Plan for public review and comment. The original motion put forward places Oxford as the first municipal government in Ontario to commit to a renewable energy target, and only the second in Canada after Vancouver, BC. The Draft 100% Renewable Energy Plan lays out a framework for how community, business, government, academic, national and international partners can work together to support Oxford in becoming a “100% RE” community by 2050.
If that’s not enough, Oxford County Council also completed its Draft Zero Waste Plan. The Plan and its program support will aim to achieve the end-goal of reducing the amount of waste being produced in, and exported out of, Oxford County. This includes maximizing recovery efforts from waste streams and extending the lifespan of the Oxford County Waste Management site.
Maximizing renewable energy and minimizing waste – this is climate action to be proud of.
Student Researcher of the Year
Celebrates an undergraduate or graduate student who has made a significant contribution to biomass-related research
Award Winner: Stephanie Seymour, PhD Forest Sciences Student - Lakehead University
Stephanie Seymour is an Indigenous PhD student at Lakehead University from Garden River First Nation. Born and raised on St. Joseph Island, Stephanie began her educational journey at Sault College in 2007, then attended Sir Sandford Fleming College in 2008 in the Forestry Technician program, and continued to complete her Bachelor of Science in Forestry degree from the University of New Brunswick. In 2015, Stephanie graduated from Lakehead University in the Faculty of Natural Resources Management with a Masters of Science in Forestry degree. She is currently enrolled in the PhD in Forest Sciences program at Lakehead University where she continuing research regarding the use of biomass and bioenergy in First Nations communities.
Recently, Stephanie has won several awards, including Ontario Power Generation's John Wesley Beaver Memorial Award - an award given to a student of Aboriginal descent enrolled in a discipline that is relevant to OPG's business. In the future, Stephanie plans to continue building bridges between Indigenous and nonindigenous communities and promoting biomass as an energy source.
Research and Innovation in the Bioeconomy
Celebrates an individual or organization that has applied their innovative biomass-related research into meaning knowledge transfer activities
Award Winner: Derek Sidders, CWFC Regional Coordinator - Canadian Wood Fibre Centre
Derek in the field of short rotation woody crops and value-chain analysis. His collaborative 60-acre research / demonstration establishment in 2005 was the first large scale SRWC research site in Ontario, with its success allowing for an additional 45 acres of expansion for continued valuable research. His foresight and excellence in management, coupled with effective interactions with external stakeholders, allowed for more than 15 additional sites across Canada between 2005 and 2009. Since then, he has significantly progressed in the development of mechanical planters and the very first Canadian-made willow harvester.
Presently, Derek focuses on the optimization of the supply-chain from woody feedstock to final product. In addition, he is working on advanced harvesting systems to maximize recovery, increase value and sustainability in natural forests, and continues to build on collaborations with academic, government and industry throughout the country.
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