The Canadian Wood Council’s predecessor
The Canadian Wood Development Council was founded in 1959 as a federation of 18 eastern and western forest product associations. The purpose of the Council was to “join in the U.S. National Wood Promotion Council of publicity, advertising and information distribution, to establish better liaison with U.S. counterparts, and to expand the markets for wood through representation on various building code and specification committees and by supplying technical information”.
In 1965, the association’s name was changed to the Canadian Wood Council and shortly thereafter the objectives of the CWC were reoriented to emphasize technology rather than promotion – with increased focus on education and communication.
The Canadian Wood Council today
The Canadian Wood Council represents the Canadian wood products industry through a national federation of associations.
The Mission of the Council is to expand market access and increase demand for Canadian wood products through its work in codes, standards, regulations and education.
The geographic focus of the Mission is North America. Work in support of Canadian wood products internationally is done subject to members’ approval and the availability of additional dedicated resources.
The Council produces technical information about wood products and communicates it to the building and academic communities to ensure knowledge is transferred and target audiences are educated about wood as a superior building product.
The CWC’s vision is a wood first culture in North America where wood products are recognized as the sustainable building material of choice for residential and non-residential construction.
CWC provides technical and knowledge transfer services relating to codes, standards and regulations. Without these services, the wood products industry would be vulnerable to a long-term, non-recoverable loss of market share. CWC’s focus is on increasing the use of wood products in construction.
Codes and Standards (the Regulatory System)
The Construction Industry is regulated through Building Codes which are informed by:
- design standards that provide information on “how to” build with wood,
- product standards that define the characteristics of the wood products that can be used in design standards, and
- test standards that set out the methodology for establishing a wood product’s characteristics
CWC is active in a technical capacity in all areas of the Regulatory System. This includes:
Building Codes – CWC participates extensively in the development process of the Building Codes in Canada. CWC is a member of both National and Provincial Building Code Committees. These Committees are balanced and representation is limited to about 25 members on each Committee. Competing interests (i.e. steel and concrete) sit on the same Committees. This is an arena where we can win or lose ground for our members’ products.
Design Standards – Each producer of structural materials develops engineering design standards that provide information on how to use their products in buildings. CWC holds the Secretariat for Canada’s wood design standard (CSA O86 “Engineering Design in Wood”), providing both technical expertise and administrative support for its development. CWC is also a member of the AWC committee that is responsible for the U.S. National Design Specification for wood design.
Product Standards – CWC is involved in the development of Canadian, U.S. and international standards for its wood building product producers.
Test Standards – CWC is involved in developing Canadian, U.S. and international test standards in areas that affect wood products, such as fire performance.
CWC gets the message out (knowledge transfer)
It is not good enough just to have a regulatory system in place. The technical information also has to get into the hands of builders, architects and engineers: the people who will specify wood. A core role of the CWC is to act as the conduit for the transfer of knowledge. To the Canadian building community, the Canadian Wood Council is the face of the wood products industry and the supplier of the essential tools needed to design with wood: manuals, software, Helpdesk, field support, educational fairs and magazines.
CWC augments the wood industry’s financial contribution through business centers such as Wood WORKS!
The Wood WORKS! program plays a very important role in broadening wood’s use in construction by working closely with the building community and governments for wood’s broader use.
CWC maintains close ties with members, potential members, companies and design professionals and provides these groups with a forum for discussion to keep abreast of their needs and concerns. CWC works with members to respond to ‘mill to market’ access challenges and market expansion opportunities.