Montréal, QC–More than 900 participants and some 100 exhibitors gathered here recently at Fairmont The Queen Elizabeth Hotel in Montréal to take part in the Montréal Wood Convention (MWC), the largest event of its kind in Canada.
After two years of waiting, the event welcomed buyers from all over North America and some European countries. The goal of this initiative is to allow them to create and maintain valuable business links and to discuss the issues of the vast wood market.
“This great return of the Convention in a face-to-face format was a great success. With the health and geopolitical uncertainties of the moment, in addition to the postponement of the event, we had mixed expectations at the outset as to how many people would make the trip to Montreal. We were pleasantly surprised by a large number of participants and exhibitors from across North America. It was very special to see all these industry people again and to welcome them to Montréal,” said Sven Gustavsson, event director.
“The expert speakers gave a very detailed picture of the situation in the wood industry – a reminder to our participants of the challenges that lie ahead as well as innovative solutions. We can think here of logistics and the constantly changing economic picture.”
The forest industry is a major contributor to the Canadian economy with a GDP contribution of nearly $20 billion (2012 chained dollars), representing 8 percent of Canada’s manufacturing sector. With exports of over $45 billion in 2021, the sector has a strong positive trade balance (over $30 billion). In terms of softwood lumber, Canada remains the world’s 2nd largest producer and the 2nd largest exporter. The forest industry provides nearly 200,000 direct jobs (foresters, scientists, engineers, computer specialists, technicians, and skilled workers) and is a pillar of economic development for many municipalities from coast to coast.
“The Montréal Wood Convention is the perfect opportunity for Canadian wood product industrials to meet with a multitude of investors from North America and overseas in one place, in a short period of time and at a low cost, to expand their export activities to a greater number of markets,” explained Sylvain Labbé, President and CEO of the Quebec Wood Export Bureau (QWEB) and organizing committee member of the event. He added: “The U.S. market has long been Canada’s main importer of forest products and will remain so. However, the consequences of the pandemic and the war in Ukraine have reminded our producers of the importance of diversifying exports by accessing other markets, notably through increased visibility and canvassing activities such as the Montréal Wood Convention. Opportunities like this allow Canada to ensure the sustainability of its industry and to gain new market share in a constantly changing world.”
The Montréal Wood Convention has continued to grow in popularity since its inception, despite a hiatus due to the global pandemic of COVID-19. Each year, the varied program reflects the latest market trends and the many changes in the industry. The 2022 program included speakers on the economy, the state of the global market, and the latest in logistics. A panel of four industry experts presented a global and current vision of this sector of activity. A luncheon hosted by keynote speaker and Olympic champion Alexandre Bilodeau was also on the agenda.
The Montréal Wood Convention is organized in partnership with the Ontario Forest Industries Association, the Maritime Lumber Bureau and the Québec Forest Industry Council.
Learn more at www.montrealwoodconvention.com.