Building Skills for the Green Economy

The BIC received a grant from the Ontario Trillium Foundation Future Fund Program – Building Skills for the Green Economy. The purpose of the grant is to help facilitate the establishment of biomass projects in the province and to support economic growth of northern Ontario by developing workforce skills and knowledge in a wide range of jobs and positions.

Click here to view the BIC’s Future Fund Vignette.

The BIC is developing a broad range of workshops, seminars, certificate programs and university/college course components to help address the need for education in the bioenergy sector. Additional information will be posted here as materials are completed and partnerships are formed.

NEW!! Biomass Curriculum Workshop

Goal: Share newly developed biomass modules that will form the basis of curriculum for civil, mechanical, and power engineering programs and steamfitters continuing education course. This workshop will bring together program coordinators and instructors to review the first modules, identify desirable teaching supports and resources, and inform the development of our next modules.

Venue: Nipissing University, A246 May 30, 2013

Time Topic
10:00 - 10:15 Introductions and Project Overview/Curriculum Map
10:15 to 10:45 The Curriculum - Purpose, Audience, Scope & Structure
10:45 to 11:00 Q&A
11:00 to 11:45 Introductory Module 1 - Sustainability & Biomass Basics
11:45 to 12:15 Q&A
12:15 to 13:00 LUNCH
13:00 to 14:00 Technical Module 4 - Conversion Technologies
14:00 to 14:30 Q&A
14:30 to 15:30 Implementation Discussion - Materials Distribution
15:30 to 16:30 One-on-One Implementation Planning Support

To confirm your attendance, email Dawn Lambe at



1. Biomass Harvesting in the Great Lakes St. Lawrence (GLSL) Forest Region

Goal: Continuing education of forestry professionals through a training program that focuses on biomass harvesting and processing in the GLSL forest region. The modules discuss operational considerations and best management practices, and include case studies from recent biomass harvests.

Activities To Date:
The BIC gave a presentation at the Westwind Forest Operators spring meeting in April 2011 introducing the concept for the training. Operators were asked to provide input by filling out a survey. Results of the survey were used to help build the training modules.
Click here to see what the operators had to say.

In partnership with the Forestry Research Partnership, the BIC organized a field tour at the 2011 Harnessing Biomass II Conference, which incorporated materials from the training modules. The purpose of the field tour was to provide information on biomass harvesting, processing and transportation, using real examples from a biomass harvest in the Nipissing Forest.

At the Forestry Research Partnership's annual Science Seminar in April 2012, the BIC organized a special biomass session entitled Biomass Harvesting in the Great Lakes St. Lawrence Forest: From the Forest to the Mill . During this session we delivered the completed modules, and had our partners present some of the topics in more detail.

In May 2012, Westwind Forest Stewardship Inc. and the Ministry of Natural Resources hosted a Careful Logging Workshop in Huntsville for Westwind’s forest operators. Part of the training was focused on biomass harvesting, and so components from the harvesting modules were incorporated into the presentations and discussions.

Coming Up
The BIC is now working with instructors from forestry programs across northern Ontario to adapt the modules for incorporation into the forestry and forest technician programs at universities and colleges.

2. Engineering for Biomass

Goal: Develop 3 hours of curriculum for Civil Engineering and 6 hours of curriculum for Mechanical Engineering, to be incorporated into programs at northern Universities and Colleges.

Activities To Date:
The BIC has created virtual working groups comprised of engineering faculty at several colleges and universities, engineering professionals, and biomass/bioenergy experts. This working group will identify core content and instructional design requirements, and perform quality assurance on completed components.

Coming Up
During the summer 2012, these working groups will review BIC’s research on biomass/bioenergy curriculum integration in Europe and the US. Surveys and interviews will identify and prioritize the curriculum components to include in the training materials. In the fall of 2012, draft modules and curriculum components will be developed and reviewed by the working groups. The BIC will work with group members to develop implementation plans for embedding the new curriculum into existing programs.

3. Biomass for Steamfitters

Goal: Develop a red-seal-certified course for Ontario’s Steamfitter Apprenticeship program.

Activities To Date:
The BIC has partnered with the Ontario College of Trades, which is mandated by the Ontario College of Trades and Apprenticeship Act (2009) to regulate all approved trades in Ontario, and faculty from those community colleges that deliver Steamfitter training, to develop and implement a biomass/bioenergy course.

Coming Up
During the summer 2012, the steamfitter working group will identify core components and required skills to ensure steamfitters are equipped with the skills necessary to work in the biomass/bioenergy field. The continuing education course will be made available to all Canadian jurisdictions upon completion.

4. Community Seminars on Biomass & Bioenergy

Goal: Develop and deliver community seminars throughout northern Ontario to raise awareness of the unique opportunities and applications for northern biomass.

Activities To Date:
The community seminar outline has been developed in consultation with industry experts and community economic development officers. The one-day seminar will see 3 concurrent streams that focus on residential and institutional (MUSH) biomass applications and commercialization opportunities.

Coming Up
During the fall/winter of 2012, detailed seminar materials will be developed and northern communities selected for delivery. The community seminars will be delivered in spring through fall of 2013, with the final seminar held in conjunction with the grand opening of a bioenergy installation in northern Ontario.