Ontario Expanding Mass Timber Construction Up to 18 Storeys

Mass timber expansion will help build more homes and support Ontario’s forestry sector

April 08, 2024

Municipal Affairs and Housing

Table of Contents

  1. Content
  2. Quick Facts
  4. Additional Resources
  5. Related Topics

TORONTO – Ontario is expanding the use of advanced wood construction like mass timber to help build homes faster and reduce costs over time while supporting good-paying jobs in forestry, technology, engineering design and manufacturing. Currently, Ontario’s Building Code allows Encapsulated Mass Timber Construction buildings to be up to 12-storeys tall. The province intends to amend the Building Code in the coming months to permit encapsulated mass timber construction up to 18 storeys.

“The use of mass timber can help the sector build more homes faster, keep the cost of construction down and boost our northern economy,” said Paul Calandra, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing. “As we work to cut red tape in order to increase housing supply, we’re taking an innovative approach to help our partners get shovels in the ground.”

Encapsulated Mass Timber Construction offers an environmental solution for quieter and faster construction with the same fire and structural protection as other building methods. Provincial initiatives that support advanced wood construction, such as Ontario’s Forest Sector Strategy, offer a significant opportunity to shift housing construction offsite and into factories, supporting more efficient and rapid construction from renewable forestry resources grown and harvested in Ontario by Ontario workers for Ontario families.

“Our abundant natural resources and highly-skilled forestry sector are helping to meet the demand for housing across the province,” said Graydon Smith, Minister of Natural Resources and Forestry. “Advanced wood construction will help bring long-term investments to northern communities that will create new, good-paying jobs while increasing housing supply and supporting Ontario’s largest renewable natural resource sector.”

As part of a thorough review of this opportunity, Ontario participated in a national consultation on proposed changes to Ontario’s Building Code that would allow for expanded use of mass timber in the province. The feedback will be analyzed by a multi-province Joint Task Group that will share a report of these findings that will be used to implement this change.

The province recently announced a series of investments in housing-enabling infrastructure to help get more homes built across the province. In addition to the previously announced Building Faster Fund, which rewards municipalities that make substantial progress toward their housing targets, as well as the existing Ontario Community Infrastructure Program, the province is also investing $1 billion in a new Municipal Housing Infrastructure Program as well as more than quadrupling its investment in the Housing-Enabling Water Systems Fund to $825 million.

Quick Facts

  • Ontario’s forestry sector generates close to $21 billion in annual revenue and supports more than 142,000 direct and indirect jobs in communities across the province.
  • In January and February 2024, Ontario, British Columbia and Quebec participated in a national consultation on potential building code changes to safely expand the use of Encapsulated Mass Timber Construction.
  • “Mass timber” refers to manufactured wood products that meet similar structural, fire protection and seismic performance as materials traditionally used to construct tall buildings (e.g., concrete and steel). Encapsulated means that the manufactured wood components are covered with fire-rated treatments, like drywall.
  • Encapsulated mass timber construction can minimize the impact of the construction on surrounding neighbourhoods because it is prefabricated and ready to assemble, reducing construction time and onsite work.


“Modern building techniques, including mass timber and modular construction, are part of our multi-pronged approach to boost housing supply and make homes more affordable. Our government will continue to execute comprehensive housing initiatives that include smarter planning, less red tape, housing-enabling infrastructure investments and working with our partners to unlock the potential of high-speed homebuilding technologies to create sustainable communities for everyone.”

– Rob Flack
Associate Minister of Housing

“The Ontario Forest Industries Association (OFIA) applauds the government’s decision to expand the use of advanced wood construction, like mass timber, allowing for buildings up to 18 storeys. This move will not only accelerate home construction and reduce costs but also support forestry, technology, engineering, and manufacturing sectors. Using more wood in construction aligns with Ontario’s Forest Sector Strategy, promoting sustainability and economic growth. This initiative will benefit Ontario’s economy, environment, and communities.”

– Ian Dunn, R.P.F.
OFIA President and CEO

Additional Resources

Learn more about Ontario’s forest sector strategy

Building at least 1.5 million homes

Tracking Housing Supply Progress

Explore housing innovation in Ontario

Read this guide about building a modular house

Related Topics


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