Wood chips to make pulp for toilet paper in short supply, Commons committee told

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OTTAWA — The Forest Products Association of Canada says the demand for toilet paper has skyrocketed — increasing by 241 per cent during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Association president Derek Nighbor told the House of Commons finance committee today that the forest products industry has rarely enjoyed such a high profile.

That’s not just because it produces toilet paper, which Canadians began stockpiling as soon as it became clear early last month that orders to stay home were imminent.

He says the sector is supplying the pulp needed to make sanitary wipes, paper towels, protective masks and hospital gowns.

And he says it’s supplying the wood pellets, biofuels and green energy that feed heating systems and provincial power grids.

Yet, Nighbor says 39 sawmills across the country have been forced to shut down due to the pandemic and that has meant a reduction in the supply of wood chips that are needed to make pulp.

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