Skip to content

The Governments of Canada and Quebec Contribute to Fortress Xylitol’s $33M Project

July 11, 2018

Thurso, July 11, 2018 – The Government of Canada is providing $10.4 million and the Government of Quebec nearly $7 million to Fortress Xylitol for the construction in Thurso of a demonstration plant to test an innovative process for making xylitol. Total project cost is over $33 million.

Xylitol is a sweetener, a sugar substitute, produced for the food market and food manufacturers. It will be made from hemicelluloses generated by Fortress Specialty Cellulose Inc, also located in Thurso. Once the production model is confirmed, Fortress Xylitol plans to invest $150 million in the construction of a commercial plant that will employ up to 35, and produce 20,000 tons of xylitol a year.

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

The Quebec government’s contribution consists of an equity investment of nearly $5 million and a $2 million loan through the investment projects component of the ESSOR program. The federal government contribution is made up of $10.4 million in funding from Sustainable Development Technology Canada (SDTC).


“The worldwide market for clean technology offers promising opportunities for Canadian firms, a source of new jobs for the middle class, and a prosperity boost for all Canadians. The Fortress Xylitol project is a good example of what Canada does best: finding innovative and environmentally friendly solutions that contribute to economic growth.”

Stéphane Lauzon, MP for Argenteuil–La Petite-Nation

“The forestry industry is a key sector for the Outaouais, where the Wood Collective works to support forestry companies in developing their strategic capabilities. I am proud that a project like this one by Fortress Xylitol can become a reality in our region.”

Alexandre Iracà, MNA for Papineau

“Our government’s investments in clean technology demonstrate our commitment to protecting the planet. They also show our clear strategic orientation in favour of economic development based on innovation. Clean technology innovations have the potential to create thousands of well-paid jobs for middle-class Canadians. That is how innovation helps to build a better Canada.”

Hon. Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development

“Quebec’s forest products industry is moving into a new era, and Fortress Xylitol’s cutting-edge project is essential to promoting and pursuing development in that sector. In 2018, it is vital for the forestry sector to innovate to assure the future of its operations in Quebec.”

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

“The objectives of the ESSOR program include support for diversification efforts to establish growth niches. In this way, our government supports investment projects that promote the emergence of new enterprises and the modernization of existing ones. Fortress Xylitol’s creative and innovative project is a perfect fit with the objectives our government has set for the program.”

Dominique Anglade, Deputy Premier, Minister of Economy, Science and Innovation and Minister responsible for the Digital Strategy


  • Fortress Xylitol is a subsidiary of Fortress Global Enterprises, which also operates the Fortress Specialty Cellulose dissolving pulp mill, which employs about 300 workers in Thurso and has a production capacity of 200,000 air dried metric tons (ADMT).
  • Current worldwide demand for xylitol is 150,000 tons a year, with expected annual growth of 7% over the next four years. The growth in consumer demand is based mainly on specific characteristics attributed to xylitol: a low calorie count, a lower glycemic index than ordinary sugars, and protection against tooth decay and demineralization of tooth enamel.
  • The ESSOR program provides support for increased competitiveness and productivity, job creation, sustainable development and investment projects in Quebec.
  • In Budget 2017, the federal government announced investments of over $2.3 billion to spur growth in the clean technology sector in Canada. This represents the most significant public investment in clean technology in Canada’s history.
  • SDTC is a foundation established by the Government of Canada to stimulate cleantech innovation in Canada by providing funding and helping small and medium-sized enterprises to develop and demonstrate new clean technologies.
  • SDTC has invested almost $1 billion in some 350 ideas and over 300 enterprises, which have created over 9,400 well-paid jobs, generated some $1.9 billion in annual revenue, and reduced annual greenhouse gas emissions by 10.1 megatons of carbon dioxide equivalent (as at March 31, 2017).
  • Fortress Xylitol is one of hundreds of firms with which the Clean Growth Hub has cooperated to advance cleantech projects in Canada. The Hub’s team of experts helps enterprises and researchers involved in clean technology projects to identify the federal services and programs best suited to their requirements.