MARKET-BASED FORESTRY REFORMS TO ENHANCE ACCESS TO TIMBER
Amendments to the Forest Act allow the forest sector to operate in a more
market-based system. The changes enable private forest sector companies to make
business decisions without threat of government penalty, resulting in greater
innovation and improved access to Crown timber for all of B.C.ís mills and
manufacturers. In turn, these changes will enhance regional job creation and ensure
British Columbians get the most from use of our forests.
Therefore, government updated requirements in the following areas, effective Nov.
Cut Control Requirements:
- Updated cut control requirements, allowing licensees to log when it makes
business sense to do so. Minimum cut controls have been eliminated so licensees are
not forced to cut timber in poor markets. Maximum cut controls, including monetary
penalties for excessive harvesting, remain to ensure forests for the future.
- Provided more flexible provisions for the timing of cut control periods ()by
eliminating the annual requirements. This will allow companies to better plan their
wood operations and more opportunity to sell into good market conditions, returning
more revenue and jobs to the province.
- Eliminated provisions that allowed licensees to carry forward unharvested timber
into new cut control periods to increase the flow of timber within B.C.
Processing and Mill Closure Requirements:
- Eliminated timber processing and appurtenancy requirements that required
licensees to process the timber harvested under their agreements (or an equivalent
volume) at their own mills, or in the case of appurtenancy, at a specific mill --
even if timber could possibly be more efficiently milled or put to a better use at
another B.C. operation.
- By allowing licensees to sell timber within B.C., all of B.C.ís mills will
have access to a greater volume of B.C. timber, creating more jobs and new
opportunities for communities. It will also allow the right log to go to the right
mill and thereby extract its highest value. As well, licensees will have the
ability to specialize in areas of business strength, rather than being required to
be in both logging and manufacturing businesses.
- Eliminated mill closure penalties, which allowed government to reduce a companyís
allowable annual cut if it closed or reduced production at a mill, which only
resulted in more people being put out of work. Now, companies are able to make
business decisions without threat of loss of timber.
Tenure Transferability and Subdivision:
- The transfer of timber harvesting or changes in the control of firms that hold
timber harvesting agreements will no longer require the ministerís consent, nor
will a penalty be imposed as part of the transfer. By allowing unused or unsuitable
timber harvesting rights to flow more freely to other users, opportunities will be
created for other manufacturers and innovative or effective forest managers,
helping to ensure that B.C.ís public forests are sustainably managed.
- The government will only be concerned with maintaining markets for timber, logs
or chips, otherwise the transfer will be allowed to proceed.
- Maintained restrictions on the export of logs from Crown land to ensure that the
vast majority of public timber is milled in B.C.
Government is committed to diversifying and strengthening the forest sector so that
industry is better able to sustain jobs and revenue for British Columbians over the
longer term. In combination with other policy changes (such as the reallocation of
tenure to new entrants), these changes will result in:
- Maximum benefits to British Columbians in the form of jobs and stumpage revenues.
- Significantly more of the provinceís timber being made available through open
markets and at competitive rates.
- Every log going to its highest and best use within B.C.
- Removal of barriers to regional job creation.
These polices are designed to put B.C.ís forest industry on a solid business
footing. In turn, that will help ensure the B.C. forest sector can thrive in the
global marketplace, creating community stability over the longer term and providing
revenues that pay for the provinceís vital services, such as education and health