Ontario Investing $1.8 Million in New Forest Sector Technology

Funding for equipment will expand production and create jobs at Niagara Pallet

Image of Graydon Smith shaking hands with Niagara Pallet worker.

SMITHVILLE – The Government of Ontario is investing $1.8 million to help Niagara Pallet expand its production facility and install automated pallet-making equipment. This investment will triple pallet production, increase the company’s sales by 46 per cent and create 30 new jobs.

“This investment in Niagara Pallet is giving a thriving forest sector business the facilities and the tools to take its operations to the next level,” said Graydon Smith, Minister of Natural Resources and Forestry. “We are building prosperity and creating jobs right here in the Niagara Region and investing in a strong, sustainable forest sector across Ontario.”

Niagara Pallet’s $9 million project will help meet growing demand for the company’s products by adding 60,000 square feet of production space and installing automated sorting, measurement and lumber-cutting equipment. The project is expected to double the company’s U.S. export sales.

“Ontario’s growing manufacturing sector is second to none, and we continue to grow the sector by supporting local manufacturers like Niagara Pallet,” said Vic Fedeli, Minister of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade. “Niagara Pallet’s project will build on what our government is doing to make sure people across our province have good-paying jobs, while also growing the manufacturing sector and strengthening our province’s forest sector supply chain. Congratulations, Niagara Pallet!”

Expanded production at Niagara Pallet will also strengthen the province’s forest sector supply chain – the company will increase its purchases of Ontario lumber by 60 per cent, providing greater opportunity for lumber harvesters, sawmills and trucking.

“As one of the province’s largest manufacturers and recyclers of pallets and shipping materials, Niagara Pallet continues to be a leader in innovation and sustainability in our region,” said Sam Oosterhoff, MPP for Niagara West. “I congratulate the Vrugteveen family and the hardworking team at Niagara Pallet as they plan to expand their growing operation in Smithville.”

Funding for this project is being provided by the Forest Sector Investment and Innovation Program, a business support program designed to improve productivity and innovation, enhance competitiveness, support new market access and strengthen regional economies.

“We are thankful for the support of Ontario’s Forest Sector Investment and Innovation Program,” said Mike Vrugteveen, Vice-President of Niagara Pallet. “This investment has allowed us to purchase and install new equipment for the processing of lumber in our facility, which will allow our business to produce wood packaging products more efficiently.”

Projects such as this one, which build a more competitive forest sector through technological innovation, are critical to achieving Ontario’s goals established in Sustainable Growth: Ontario’s Forest Sector Strategy and the Forest Biomass Action Plan.

Quick Facts

  • Niagara Pallet was established in 1993 as a small pallet repair operation and has grown into a multi-service wood products facility with 65 full-time employees. It manufactures new, custom and refurbished pallets, as well as wooden bins, crates and mulch.
  • The company’s pallet repair and resale business helps meet an increasing commercial demand for pallet recycling and diverts used pallets from landfill.
  • The forest sector generated $20.9 billion in revenue from the sale of manufactured goods and services in 2021 and supported more than 142,000 direct and indirect jobs in 2022.
  • Wood produced from Ontario’s Crown forests is sustainably sourced and renewable. Wood is a renewable resource, a clean energy source, and a sustainable – and biodegradable – alternative to single-use plastics.

SOURCE: Province of Ontario

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