Canada’s Minister of Natural Resources, Seamus O’Regan, announced a $1.3 million investment to Pointe-Claire, Quebec-based FPInnovations for a COVID-19 response project to develop a biodegradable, sustainable filter for single-use face masks made from local and eco-friendly solutions.

“Biodegradable masks made from Canada’s sustainably sourced forests — just one example of what FPInnovations can do. The ingenuity of Canada’s forest sector, keeping Canadians safer,” said Minister O’Regan.

Consistent with Natural Resources Canada’s work plan for personal protective equipment (PPE) waste management, FPInnovations will develop the filters using sustainable and biodegradable material made from Canadian forest fibres. Canadian pulp and paper mills will manufacture this product and provide an opportunity to diversify the forest sector’s revenue opportunities. This product has the potential for Canada to expand its markets internationally and lead the production of sustainable and environmentally friendly PPE.

This investment is part of Natural Resources Canada’s Transformative Technologies Program’s contribution agreement with FPInnovations through the Fores Innovation Program, which promotes research and development on new technologies and products across Canada’s forest sector.

The demand for PPE has increased as the pandemic continues. Canada’s forest workers are demonstrating how our natural resource sectors will help Canada rebound economically from COVID-19.

“FPInnovations has been on a sprint since the beginning of the pandemic, and we are proud of the work we accomplished toward the need for a single-use face mask with consistent performance that is eco-friendly and locally-produced,” said Stéphane Renou, president and chief executive officer of FPInnovations. “We are confident in our capacity to deliver a fully biodegradable made-in-Canada face mask in the near future and thank NRCan for its support of Canadian forest sector workers.”

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