AbstractAs part of a program to reduce electrical energy consumption in the refining process, the effects of the ozone and alkaline peroxide treatments on fibre and handsheet properties, prior and subsequent to low consistency (LC) refining, were assessed and compared by applying different levels of ozone and a range of peroxide and alkali charges to a primary stage hemlock thermomechanical pulp (TMP). Both highly alkaline peroxide treatments and ozone treatments decreased the specific energy required for strong mechanical pulp. The improvement in pulp strength through alkaline peroxide treatment mainly resulted from pulp surface changes caused by generation of acid groups. The highly alkaline peroxide treatments significantly increased pulp brightness but did not promote the further fibrillation during the subsequent LC refining. On the other hand, ozone treatments provided tensile strength increases, along with small brightness enhancements for the dark hemlock TMP, and increased the tensile gains obtained through LC refining. The effects of ozone treatments on tensile strength before and after LC refining were the result of pulp surface modifications, fibre swelling, and loss of fibre wall integrity due to non-selective chemical attack. High levels of ozone treatment caused tear strength to decrease during subsequent LC refining.