Our Initiatives

Building an ecosystem is an active task. Facilitating members’ needs is only one step for a true cluster. Through our projects, WMCO works to develop our community, building a stronger industry by reinforcing the companies that drive it forward.

Project Stats to date

Projects to date
Active Projects
$2.2 million
Project Funding Support:
$18.9 Million
Total Project Value

Our Current Projects

The Fed-Dev Project

Completed Fed-Dev Projects 80%

Government Investment

The Government of Canada, through the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario (FedDev Ontario), has pledged nearly $2.9 million in support to the Wood Manufacturing Cluster of Ontario (WMCO). This support is intended to help SMEs in southern Ontario adopt digital strategies, as announced by the Honourable Bardish Chagger, Member of Parliament for Waterloo.

Project Overview

This Fed-Dev initiative supports digital integration investments for WMCO’s member companies in Ontario, marking a significant push towards modernizing industry practices with a focus on digital transformation.

Funding Details

The project spans 2.5 years and aims to fund digital integration projects for 50 companies. The current funding round will cover expenses from April 1, 2024, to February 28, 2025, supporting up to 18 projects with a focus on digital integration. Eligible expenses can be funded at a 45% rate, with a maximum of $45,000 per project. The submission deadline for this round is March 18, 2024.

Submission Process

Interested companies should forward their completed project plans and expressions of interest to Mike Baker and Michael Petrie at WMCO. Project plans must adhere to the specified template and include all qualifying factors.

Next Round

The final round of funding will run from April 1, 2025, to February 28, 2026, aiming to support 22 projects. This includes special provisions for two projects to receive half the budget amount, highlighting the ongoing commitment to fostering innovation within the wood manufacturing industry.

The IFIT Project

Government Investment

The Government of Canada, via the Minister of Natural Resources, has provided $1-million to the Wood Manufacturing Cluster of Ontario (WMCO). This funding supports a collaborative study across 10 small and medium enterprises (SMEs) within cabinetry, commercial millwork, and furniture sectors to propel Canada toward a clean energy future and strengthen its forest sector.

Project Overview

The IFIT Project aims to integrate Industry 4.0 technologies to optimize information and material flows, demonstrating the role of innovative technologies in Canada’s wood manufacturing SMEs. This initiative seeks to align with Canada’s goal of net-zero emissions by 2050 by establishing an industry roadmap for the adoption of these technologies.

Impact and the WMCO Perspective

Mike Baker, CEO of WMCO, calls this project a milestone in innovation, highlighting the new collaborative approach between government and multiple companies, unlike past individual company-focused initiatives. The project underscores the competitive edge it provides to the Canadian manufacturing sector, supporting resilient industry work and showcasing the benefits of industry-led collaboration.

Project Emphasis

The study focuses on a range of integration projects including CAD-ERP integration and digitized operations to streamline processes and minimize paper use on the shop floor. These efforts are expected to enhance operational efficiencies and data management among the participating companies.

Future Direction

Funded by the Investments in Forest Industry Transformation (IFIT) program, the project not only supports the adoption of innovative processes but also fosters new product streams and emerging markets, contributing to a sustainable economic transition. Looking forward, WMCO plans to continue leveraging collaborative projects to benefit the industry, aiming to maintain the sector’s vitality and global competitiveness.