The Canadian lumber industry has identified, as a high priority, the establishment of a multi-year Lumber Properties Program that pulls together a number of urgent initiatives currently underway to establish and/or maintain Canadian lumber design values. The desire is to have an overall program that emphasizes the proper development of a longer-term strategic plan and process to deal with current and future initiatives. Combining the current industry resources with Federal Government contributions through Natural Resources Canada (NRCan), the first step in the Program has been completed: to gather the various initiatives now underway and to begin the formal development of pan-Canadian policies to guide the development, implementation and on-going maintenance of such initiatives.
The key activities in 2006-07 were:
Launching of the pilot phase of the on-going monitoring program, and development of a simulation model to assist in determining what sort of trends can be reliably detected and which cannot;
Completion of the in-grade testing program on Canadian Norway spruce;
Analysis of the No.2 2x4 Hem-Fir (N) monitoring study and confirmation of the appropriateness of assigned design values;
Identification of an alternative species grouping procedure for further study;
Starting of a process under the ASTM Committee on Wood to address gaps in the Grade Quality Index provisions in ASTM Practice D1990, and
Establishing a forum for engaging the US in discussions on lumber properties issues.
Lumber properties issues crucial to maintaining the competitiveness of Canadian lumber continue to be the same as in previous years: tests and means to adjust for sample representativeness using the Grade Quality Index (GQI), species grouping and re-grouping procedures, and on-going lumber monitoring. As a result, discussion on a pan-Canadian strategy and supporting policies necessary to support Canadian lumber initiatives tend to focus on these three issues. The challenge is to ensure that these issues are dealt with in a way that balances both short and longer-term needs and provides a net overall benefit to the Canadian industry.