Développement économique de l'Outaouais - Les gouvernements du Canada et du Québec contribuent à la réalisation d'un projet de 33 millions de dollars de Fortress Xylitol
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Government announcement
11 July 2018

The Governments of Canada and Quebec Contribute to a 33-Million-Dollar Project at Fortress Xylitol

Développement économique de l'Outaouais - Les gouvernements du Canada et du Québec contribuent à la réalisation d'un projet de 33 millions de dollars de Fortress Xylitol

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Economic Development in the Outaouais

THURSO, QC, July 11, 2018 – The Governments of Canada and Quebec have provided 10.4 million dollars and 7 million dollars of financial assistance respectively, to Fortress Xylitol for the construction of a demonstration-scale plant for an innovative xylitol-making process in Thurso.

Xylitol is a sugar substitute sweetener destined for the food market or certain food manufacturers. It will be produced from hemicellulose generated by Fortress Cellulose Spécialisée, which is also located in Thurso. Once the production model has been confirmed, Fortress Xylitol intends to invest 150 million dollars toward the construction of a commercial factory that will employ up to 35 workers and produce 20,000 tonnes of xylitol each year.

The MP for Argenteuil-La Petite-Nation, Mr. Stéphane Lauzon, and the MNA for Papineau, Mr. Alexandre Iracà, made the announcement today on behalf of the Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development, the Honourable Navdeep Bains, and the Vice-Premier and Minister of Economy, Science and Innovation and Minister responsible for the Digital Strategy Ms. Dominique Anglade.

The Quebec government’s contribution is comprised of an acquisition of equity stakes of close to $5 million dollars and a loan worth 2 million dollars from the ESSOR program’s Appui aux projets d’investissement (support for investment projects) section. The federal government’s contribution is made up of a 10.4 million dollar grant from the Sustainable Development Technology Canada Foundation (SDTC).


The international market for clean technologies represents a promising avenue for Canadian businesses, a source of new jobs for the middle class and a new momentum for prosperity for all Canadians. Fortress Xylitol’s project is a great example of what Canada does best; find innovative solutions that will benefit the environment and help the economy grow.

– Stéphane LauzonMP for Argenteuil-La Petite-Nation

The forestry sector is essential for the Outaouais region, where the Wood Collective niche of excellence’s mission is to support industry businesses in the development of their strategic abilities. I am proud that projects like the one presented by Fortress Xylitol can take shape in our region.

– Alexandre Iracà, MNA for Papineau

Our government’s investments in clean technologies demonstrate our commitment to protecting the planet. They also indicate our clear and strategic orientation with regards to innovation-based economic development. Innovations in clean technologies offer the potential of creating thousands of well-paid jobs for the middle class. That is how innovation leads us to a better Canada.

– The Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development

Quebec’s forestry products industry is entering into a new era, and Fortress Xylitol’s cutting-edge project is essential to highlighting and continuing development in this sector. In 2018, it is vital that forestry sector innovate to ensure the future of its factories in Quebec.

– Luc Blanchette, Minister of Forests, Wildlife and Parks and Minister responsible for the Abitibi-Témiscamingue and Nord-du-Québec regions

One of the ESSOR program’s objectives is to support efforts at diversification towards the implementation of new promising markets. Our government supports investment projects which encourage the creation of new businesses and the modernization of existing ones. Fortress Xylitol’s creative and innovative project completely corresponds with the objectives our government set with this program.

– Dominique Anglade, Vice-Premier and Minister of Economy, Science and Innovation and Minister responsible for the Digital Strategy

Key facts:

  • Fortress Xylitol is a division of Fortress Global Entreprises, which also owns Fortress Cellulose Spécialisée, and which employs some 300 workers at its pulp cellulose (also known as dissolving grade pulp), in Thurso, and has a production capacity of 200,000 air-dried metric tons (ADMT).
  • The current annual global demand for xylitol is 150,000 tons, with an expected annual growth of 7% annually over the next four years. The growth in consumer demand is in part based on some of the characteristics attributed to xylitol: low-calorie content, low glycemic index compared with regular sugars, as well as protection against cavities and the demineralization of enamel.
  • In a context of increasing competitiveness and productivity, job creation and sustainable development, the ESSOR (French only) program supports the implementation of investment projects in Quebec.
  • In the 2017 budget, the federal government announced over 2.3 billion dollars of investments to accelerate growth in Canada’s technology sector. It represents the largest public investment in clean energy in our country’s history.
  • STDC is a foundation which was created by the government of Canada to stimulate innovation in the Canadian technology sector by offering funding and helping small and medium enterprises to proceed with the development and demonstration of new clean technologies.
  • STDC has invested close to 1 billion dollars in close to 350 ideas and over 300 businesses. These companies have created over 9,400 well-paying jobs, triggered some 1.9 billion dollars in annual earnings and reduced annual greenhouse emissions by 10.1 megatons of carbon dioxide equivalent. (as of March 31, 2017.)
  • Fortress Xylitol is one of the hundreds of companies with whom the Clean Growth Hub has worked to help advance clean technologies in Canada. The team of experts at the hub help businesses and researchers who have projects in the clean-technology sector find the services and federal programs that suit their needs.