A federal agency today will announce another subsidy for a New Brunswick kindling factory that’s received more than $1.6 million in aid to date. The firm that sells bagged firewood has 12 employees.
The Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency yesterday did not comment on the latest funding for Fiready Inc. of Clair, N.B. The small company has received federal grants and loans on an almost-annual basis since it opened in 1999, a total thirteen separate subsidies.
Federal assistance for Fiready Inc. does not include $866,693 in firewood purchases made by Parks Canada for campers’ use at Fundy and Kouchibouguac National Parks, according to accounts. Subsidies to date included:
- • in 1999 a $291,230 loan to “purchase equipment and install a dry kiln to produce firewood”;
- • in 2003 a $99,999 grant to “hire a research and development director”;
- • in 2003 a $72,768 loan for “building expansion”;
- • in 2005 a $24,974 loan to “purchase and install equipment”;
- • in 2006 a $91,000 loan to buy an “eco-efficient boiler”;
- • in 2007 a $23,250 grant to “undertake a lean training initiative”;
- • in 2009 a $53,321 loan for “corporate image redesign and production plant upgrade”;
- • in 2010 a $15,937 grant for “management skills redevelopment”;
- • in 2015 a $350,000 loan to buy a new boiler;
- • in 2015 another $50,000 loan to buy a new boiler;
- • in 2016 a $206,000 loan to “purchase equipment to improve the wood drying process”;
- • in 2017 a $56,915 loan to “acquire technology for wood drying”;
- • this past January 27, a $303,250 loan to buy a bagging machine.
Accounts show the company received an additional $200,000 in loans from the Business Development Bank, and subsidies worth $160,000 from the Government of New Brunswick. The province in 2015 described Fiready kindling as a “value-added wood product”: “Smart investments such as this one demonstrate our commitment to moving New Brunswick forward,” said then-Labour Minister Francine Landry.
“You’ve got to be innovating and reducing production costs to stay viable,” Ian Clair, the company’s production manager, said in a 2015 statement.
Fiready Inc. in corporate statements explained it recycles scrap wood from New Brunswick lumber mills and bags it as firewood that is “clean, dry, insect and mildew-free”. The kindling comes with tips on how to light a fire: “Place two firewood sticks next to each other in the fireplace. Light one end of the fire-starter with a match. Insert the lit fire-starter between the two sticks of firewood.”