Bioeconomy partnership MOU signing. Jason Laronde, Director of Lands and Resources, Union of Ontario Indians, Walter Manitowabi, Chief Operating Officer of Union of Ontario Indians, Vice-Chancellor and President of Nipissing University Dr. Michael DeGagne and Dr. Harley d'Etremont Provost and Vice-President of Academic and Research for Nipissing University.     – Photo by Marci Becking

Bioeconomy partnership MOU signing. Jason Laronde, Director of Lands and Resources, Union of Ontario Indians, Walter Manitowabi, Chief Operating Officer of Union of Ontario Indians, Vice-Chancellor and President of Nipissing University Dr. Michael DeGagne and Dr. Harley d’Etremont Provost and Vice-President of Academic and Research for Nipissing University. – Photo by Marci Becking

UOI OFFICE (Nipissing FN) July 18, 2014 – Anishinabek Nation leaders are developing a bioeconomy strategy that would create economic benefits for First Nations and Northern Ontario, while contributing to Ontario’s Green Energy plan and the Northern Growth Plan.

The Union of Ontario Indians today signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with Nipissing University’s Biomass Innovation Centre to explore business options for using sustainable forestry resources like branches and bark to create advanced bioproducts and biofuels, such as wood pellets.

“This partnership is a stepping stone to lead the bioeconomy initiative forward for Anishinabek and other First Nations in Ontario to consider,” says Walter Manitowabi, Union of Ontario Indians Chief Operating Officer. “Over the past decade the Canadian forest industry has experienced a significant downturn and Canada’s share in global markets for traditional forest products like lumber has decreased substantially. At the same time, requirements for green energy, transportation fuels, and other bioproducts have increased, resulting in new market opportunities for biofibre use.”

Dr. Michael DeGagné, Vice-Chancellor and President of Nipissing University, also signed the MOU for the project, which will map the current capacity for innovation and bioproducts development in northern Ontario, develop industry and community partnerships, and develop foreign and domestic markets for northern Ontario bioproducts.

“Nipissing University is proud to partner with the Union of Ontario Indians for this project, as one of the meaningful partnerships we are developing to support northern and Aboriginal communities,” says Dr.  DeGagné. “With this project, our Biomass Innovation Centre enhances our capacity as engines of economic, social, and cultural development for our communities in an environmentally sustainable manner.”