Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada

Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada

October 13, 2006 15:27 ET

AAFC: Canada's New Government Funds New Bio-Fibre Research

WINNIPEG, MANITOBA--(CCNMatthews - Oct. 13, 2006) - Canada's New Government today announced $750,000 in funding from Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) to support bio-material research and commercialization at the Winnipeg-based Composites Innovation Centre (CIC).

Mr. Rod Bruinooge, Member of Parliament for Winnipeg South, on behalf of the Honourable Chuck Strahl, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food and Minister for the Canadian Wheat Board, and the Honourable Jim Rondeau, Manitoba Minister of Science, Technology, Energy and Mines, on behalf of the Honourable Rosann Wowchuk, Manitoba Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Initiatives, made the announcement today at the CIC laboratory, located in the University of Manitoba's Smartpark.

"It is exciting to see the many ways agriculture research is transforming how we think about and use traditional crops like hemp and flax," said Mr. Bruinooge, on behalf of Minister Strahl. "By investing in biofibre research and by combining our science expertise with our research partners, Canada's New Government is helping to bring new economic opportunities to our farmers while supporting a vibrant and leading-edge agriculture industry for Canada."

"Composites are important to our agriculture, manufacturing, aerospace and transportation industries as well as our research and innovation sector," said Minister Rondeau, on behalf of Minister Wowchuk. "Partnering in significant research projects such as the work being done at the Composite Innovation Centre has benefits for us all."

"This is a great example of how science and innovation can help to create new food and non-food opportunities for the sector and for Canada," said Minister Rondeau.

"The CIC plays a very important role in assisting companies in developing and commercializing new composite materials and technologies," said Mr. Don Boitson, Chairman of the CIC's Board of Directors. "Since its inception in the fall of 2003, the CIC has completed over 20 industry driven projects and is currently sponsoring 23 others. Becoming a focal point for this large initiative to further expand the end use of bio-materials is a natural progression in establishing local and national capabilities especially in the agricultural community."

AAFC funding falls under the Agricultural Policy Framework (APF), Science and Innovation Agri-Innovation Program. The APF is a federal-provincial-territorial initiative that aims to position Canada as the world leader in food safety, innovation and environmentally responsible agricultural production.


Man-made glass and carbon fibres in products like parts for buses, recreational vehicles, sporting goods and aircraft may soon be replaced with natural fibres from plants like hemp and flax thanks to this Agri-Innovation Program project, delivered by the Composites Innovation Centre (CIC).

The Winnipeg-based Composites Innovation Centre is an industry-led, not-for-profit organization whose mandate is to create economic wealth through innovative research, development and industrial application of composite material technologies.

Composite materials, sometimes referred to as "advanced materials," are traditionally made by embedding strong and light strands of material like glass fibres or carbon threads in a plastic material such as resin. When cured, the final product is extremely light weight and very strong. It is expected that this will produce lighter weight and lower cost parts and will also allow farmers to increase the opportunity to sell their residual crops for a higher market value. Agricultural crops are mostly grown for their seeds and until recently, commercial / industrial markets for crop residues were not available. Today, crop residues are still burned where they lay after the seed is harvested.

This project brings together agricultural producers, university researchers, provincial and national scientific laboratories and industry throughout the value chain from the field to the end user. With support from this funding, the CIC will act as a focal point for these developments supported by an Advisory Committee that includes representation from across Canada.

Contact Information

  • Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada
    Media Relations
    Composites Innovation Centre
    Kimberly Pearson
    204-262-3400 ext. 209