Canfor's former CEO honoured

Canfor's former CEO honoured

Variety - The Children's Charity Honours Peter Bentley at Annual Golden Heart Award Gala and Raises $318,000 for Children Who Have Special Needs

Quick, efficient beetle-kill harvesting

Quick, efficient beetle-kill harvesting

Woodbusiness had the chance to see how the beetle-kill pine is stacking up in Vanderhoof, B.C. last week.

Legacy builder Jacqui Beban

Legacy builder Jacqui Beban

Jacqui Beban was six weeks old when she first saw a logging camp, but her father, Frank Beban, had no idea how profoundly the sights and sounds of chainsaws and haulers would affect her.

The future  of forestry

The future of forestry

Smaller, more powerful machines that are more comfortable and easier on the environment are part of the evolution of forestry, Mario Gauthier believes.

Weyerhaeuser uses strong scraps

Weyerhaeuser uses strong scraps

The sky is the limit for wooden structures, and the 66-foot-long beams at Weyerhaeuser’s parallel strand lumber mill carry the weight of inspiration.

Komatsu has a new harvesting head...
The new harvesting head is designed to be highly productive in thinning applications.
Some environmentalists exaggerate...
Quebec’s forests are not threatened, according to a new documentary and an Economic Note from the Montreal Economic Institute.Video location: QuebecRecording date: August 2014
FPAC on innovation in forestry...
Catherine Cobden explains what is meant by innovation in forestry
WorksafeBC cautions workers falling trees...
WorksafeBC cautions workers falling trees


New VP, CFO for Western

Oct. 30, 2014, Vancouver - Western Forest Products' Chief Financial Officer (CFO), Brian Cairo, has announced his intention to step down from his position with the Company. Mr. Cairo will stay on in an advisory capacity until November 30, 2014 to ensure an orderly transition. The Board of Directors wishes to recognize Mr. Cairo and the outstanding contribution he has made during his eight years with Western. Mr. Cairo was appointed to the position of CFO and Corporate Secretary in March 2010. Since joining Western in 2006, he has held a number of positions, including Senior Vice President of Finance. "I thank Brian for his dedication to Western," said Don Demens, President and Chief Executive Officer of Western. "He has been instrumental in the completion of Western's operational turnaround and the restoration of our balance sheet." The Board of Directors is pleased to announce the appointment of Stephen (Steve) Williams to Senior Vice President, CFO, and Corporate Secretary, effective October 31, 2014. Mr. Williams has worked at Western since May 2014, assisting with the implementation of Western's strategic initiatives to improve operational efficiencies across the Company. Mr. Williams has more than 20 years of experience in the forestry industry, and previously served as the Vice President, Finance and Administration at Interfor Corporation. Mr. Williams is a Chartered Accountant. "I look forward to working with Steve and his Finance team as we optimize our business to deliver long-term value for our shareholders," said Mr. Demens. "Western remains well-positioned to capitalize on improving markets as we move forward with our strategic capital plan." Western Forest Products Inc. Western is an integrated Canadian forest products company, and is the largest coastal British Columbia woodland operator and lumber producer. The Company has an annual available harvest of approximately 6.4 million cubic metres of timber, of which approximately 6.2 million cubic metres is from Crown lands. Western has a lumber capacity in excess of 1.1 billion board feet from eight sawmills and two remanufacturing plants. Principal activities conducted by the Company include timber harvesting, reforestation, sawmilling logs into lumber and wood chips, and value-added remanufacturing. Substantially all of Western's operations, employees and corporate facilities are located in the coastal region of British Columbia, while its products are sold in more than 25 countries worldwide.

Quick, efficient beetle-kill harvesting

Oct. 29, 2014 – Woodbusiness had the chance to see how the beetle-kill pine is stacking up in Vanderhoof, B.C. last week. This is the region that was first and hardest hit by the mountain pine beetle so it's the area where the forest has been dead the longest. Contractors here have perfected the art of harvesting the dry, brittle pine. Doug McComb, the harvesting superintendent for L&M Lumber, took us to nearby logging operations run by long-time contractor Gulbranson, to see how the company has adapted its harvesting so that the heavy machines don't damage the brittle dead pine trees as they are harvested and loaded onto trucks. (Watch for the full story in Canadian Forest Industries.) While on the site, Woodbusiness had a chance to speak with the heavy machine operators that work for Gulbranson. In Northern B.C., there are more jobs than people in the forest industry and skilled workers, especially mechanics, are hard to come by. One of the machine operators who goes by the name Moose (Andy Carlson), was using a decking machine to gently pick up the logs brought to him by two skidders and pile them next to a stretch where a road was to be built. One of the skidder operators is a young man (Sheldon Patrick) just out of high school. Moose tought him how to operate the machine though a 6-month course called Project Heavy Duty. Out of high school since 2010, Patrick has been working with Moose for two years driving a skidder back and forth between the line where the feller-buncher is felling trees to Moose's decker. He enjoys working outdoors and looks forward to a logging career – eventually working up to operating a decker like his mentor. As the dead pine nears the end of its shelf life, the future is uncertain for contractors like Gulbranson working in the heart of the impacted region. But as long as the fibre can be salvaged, the push is on to get as much of it harvested and to the mill as it can handle. Finding and training skilled operators is key to keep the operation on track.


Fuel for thought

Oct. 28, 2014 - News recently came out that a wood trim manufacturer, Lewis Mouldings and Wood Specialities in Nova Scotia, has received funding from both the federal and provincial governments to buy the equipment to turn more of the mill’s sawdust and chips into briquettes. It’s a great solution for a company that found itself without a customer for its residuals after the permanent closure of the local paper mill. Jamie Lewis, the general manager of the company, told The Chronicle Herald that the writing was on the wall for the pulp and paper industry back in 2008 when the company decided to invest in its first wood fibre compressing machine and launched Fiber Fuel wood briquettes. The process takes the wood waste from the Eastern White Pine that is used to manufacture moulding and compresses it into two-pound bricks under very high pressure. No binders or glues are added to the wood waste. They can be used in any wood-burning appliance in place of logs; burning longer and cleaner than firewood. After a few years of pressing sawdust into fuel briquettes, the company has 50 dealers across the Maritimes with interest coming from the U.S. The $430,500 received from the federal and provincial governments will go to buying a second compressor and a biomass dryer to boost its briquette production by 400 per cent. The province is facing a firewood shortage, making briquettes a good option and the company has been unable to keep up with demand. But the most promising aspect is that the product is made of residuals from the sawmills and therefore provides a new revenue stream where one had recently dried up. On a recent trip to Sault Ste. Marie, I spoke with a former employee of the town’s failed paper mill. I saw that what was once a region with several sawmills has only a couple still in operation. The forest in Algoma is prized for its white birch, but without an operating paper mill, the region’s sawmills face an uphill battle to stay in the black. Logging roads are overgrown and logging activity is generally restricted to primary roads. In B.C., it’s the beetle-killed trees that have lost their value as sawlogs, causing mill closures in traditional forestry towns. And though the dry, brittle logs can’t be turned into lumber, they can be used for briquettes, wood pellets or other wood fibre-based products. That’s why the news is so promising that Lewis Mouldings and Wood Specialities has found funding and success in its briquette business. The forest industry must look to new solutions rather than rely on past partnerships to form viable business plans that will provide sustainable growth for the future. Fresh perspectives are required to take advantage of the emerging opportunities and there’s a new generation of forestry professionals who are poised to seize them. Congratulations to the ten exceptional people we’ve chosen for this year’s Top 10 under 40. Forestry grads are in demand and our winners are good examples of what can be accomplished in forestry today (see page 20 for profiles of our chosen winners). Economic challenges, fibre supply limits and shifts in consumer habits are some of the issues currently impacting the forest industry but Canada’s forests hold the potential to heal many of our country’s challenges as well, most notably as fossil fuels become more expensive both financially and environmentally. Sawmills can’t operate alone. A healthy forest industry is able to find markets for different species and make use of every part of the trees harvested to make a variety of products that are in demand. As the demand for paper products diminishes, there are new uses for wood fibre emerging. Briquettes, pellets and advanced biofuels are only some of the solutions that can be incorporated into a more robust industry and there will be more ideas to come.  

Does WorkSafeBC need more clout to address combustible dust?

October 21, 2014, Victoria, B.C. – On the heels of the latest explosion in the B.C. wood products industry, it has been suggested that perhaps WorkSafeBC needs to have more clout in order to get compliance from the industry. According to an opinion piece by Globe and Mail political reporter Justine Hunter, failed inspections at wood products facilities across B.C. have been met with little penalty based on the regulations currently in place. Gord Macatee had been brought in to WorkSafeBC to repair the agency’s reputation after the explosions in Burns Lake and Prince George in 2012 were seen as preventable. Macatee presented a report that included 43 recommendations back in June, including the fact that the agency needs more clout to get industry compliance. In recent months, the Wood Pellet Association of Canada has worked vigorously in conjunction with WorkSafeBC to try and mitigate combustible dust concerns. However, the latest explosion at Pinnacle’s pellet mill in Burns Lake has brought the issue back to the forefront. Macatee’s recommendations could result in new legislation this fall. However, the current workload in overseeing the combustible dust issue has stretched WorkSafeBC’s resources, and continued increased attention would only diminish time and resources available for other important projects. To read Hunter’s full opinion piece, CLICK HERE

Industry news

Canfor's former CEO honoured

Oct. 31, 2014, Burnaby - On October 29th, over 400 guests gathered at the Fairmont Hotel in Vancouver and helped Variety - The Children's Charity raise $318,000 for children who have special needs. The Golden Heart Award Gala honoured well-known forestry business executive Peter Bentley, former Chairman and CEO of Canfor Corporation, for his many years of philanthropic work in British Columbia. "Variety is one of several non-profit organizations across the province that have long benefitted from Mr. Bentley's commitment to philanthropy," says Bernice Scholten, executive director of Variety - The Children's Charity. "His leadership and vision are remarkable and it was indeed an honour to celebrate his many years of achievements." Guest speakers included Her Honour, The Honourable Judith Guichon Lieutenant Governor of British Columbia, Frank McKenna, former Premier of New Brunswick, Barbie Hislop, daughter of Mr. Bentley, and Don Kayne, President and CEO of Canfor Corporation. Mr. Bentley was also surprised with a special visit from legendary Broadway star Carol Channing, who, at 93 years young, charmed everyone at the gala by serenading Mr. Bentley with her signature song "Hello Dolly", updating the lyrics to "Hello Peter" in honour of her dear friend. The evening was made possible through the generous support of presenting sponsor Scotiabank, and sponsors Canfor, London Air Services, Price Waterhouse Coopers, the Fairmont Hotel Vancouver, Lawson Lundell, Genus Capital Management, Proshow and Burnaby Lake Greenhouses. Variety - The Children's Charity provides life-saving, life-changing and life-enriching support to children in British Columbia who have special needs. In 2013, Variety provided funding to over 1,200 families and 32 organizations.

Canadian housing market steady

Oct. 30, 2014, Ottawa — According to CMHC's fourth quarter 2014 Housing Market Outlook, Canada Edition, housing starts in 2015 will remain similar to levels observed in 2014 and in line with economic and demographic trends. By 2016, some moderation is expected. "The trend for housing starts has been up in recent months, particularly in multi-unit structures. This has been broadly supported by key factors such as employment, disposable income and net migration, which are expected to continue to be supportive of the Canadian housing market over the 2014-2016 forecast horizon," said Bob Dugan, Chief Economist for CMHC. "CMHC's latest forecast calls for a slight moderation in multi-unit starts during 2015, which will be offset by an increase in single-detached starts. Looking ahead to 2016, expectations are for total starts to moderate as builders focus on reducing their inventories." On an annual basis, housing starts are expected to range between 186,300 and 191,700 units in 2014, with a point forecast of 189,000 units. In 2015, housing starts are expected to range from 172,800 to 204,000 units, with a point forecast of 189,500 units. For 2016, housing starts are forecast to range from 168,000 units to 205,800 units, with a point forecast of 187,100 units. Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®2) sales are expected to range between 467,400 and 482,000 units in 2014, with a point forecast of 476,100 units. In 2015, sales are expected to range from 457,300 to 507,300 units, with a point forecast to 482,500 units. For 2016, resales are forecast to range from 448,000 units to 508,000 units, with a point forecast of 477,200 units. The average MLS® price is forecast to be between $401,600 and $405,400 in 2014, with a point forecast of $404,800. In 2015, the average MLS® is expected to be between $403,600 and $417,800, with a point forecast of $410,600. For 2016, the average MLS® is forecast to be between $407,300 and $424,500, with a point forecast of $417,300.

Wood stoves popular in Ontario

Oct. 30, 2014, Huntsville, ON - Over half a million homeowners in Ontario get some or all of their space heat from wood stoves. While most use it for supplementary heat, as part of an effective zone heating system or to combat power outages, many others use it as their primary source of heating. Wisely managed, Ontario's supply of wood suitable for residential heating is practically limitless. It is renewable, virtually carbon neutral and insulated from the vagaries of world petroleum pricing politics. Wood stove technology has improved dramatically in the past 25 years and continues to evolve. More efficient and cleaner wood stoves make burning wood in rural areas a smart heating choice. Last winter in Ontario, a homeowner heating with wood could have realized substantial savings running into the thousands of dollars compared with using other home heating fuels. These savings were attainable despite a winter when many families set personal records for cords of wood consumed. "A new model wood stove can be expected to use a third less wood than older technology, non-certified wood stoves under similar conditions," observed Tony Gottschalk, Manager of the Hearth, Patio & Barbecue Association of Canada (HPBAC). "For many people the biggest attractions of new, efficient wood stoves are in resource and labour savings—in simple terms you need to gather and burn less wood to get the same amount of heat." Health Canada recommends many of our new, low-emissions wood stoves, which emit up to 95% less particulate matter and only trace amounts of other chemicals. The new stoves are up to 20% more efficient, EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) certified in the USA and meet the requirements of CSA (Canadian Standards Association) B415 here in Canada. If you own a non-certified stove, consider an upgrade. Localized air quality issues associated with wood burning are almost always caused by old, outdated wood stoves or older technology outdoor wood boilers. Many cities and towns across Ontario have a fireplace store. These stores can provide important advice and installation services. Visit for a list of wood stove and fireplace stores in your area. The local benefits of the homegrown wood heat sector are often overlooked. With most firewood being sourced locally or even on one's own property, the money paid for this heat source stays close to home and in the wallets of neighbours and local businesses. The Hearth, Patio & Barbecue Association of Canada (HPBAC) is the Canadian industry association for manufacturers, retailers, distributors, representatives and service firms in the hearth industry. The association provides professional member services and support in education, statistics, government relations, marketing, advertising, and consumer education. There are more than 575 members in the HPBAC.

Acadian reports 7% improvement

Oct. 30, 2014 – Acadian Timber reported its third quarter results, reflecting a solid performance over the quarter. "Acadian's financial performance improved significantly year-over-year", commented Reid Carter, Chief Executive Officer of Acadian. "Solid demand for the majority of our products resulted in improved prices which, combined with good summer operating conditions, led to higher net sales and a 50% increase in Adjusted EBITDA." For the third quarter, Acadian generated net sales of $21.6 million on sales volume of 368 thousand m3, a $2.8 million increase compared to the same period in 2013. The increase in net sales year-over-year reflects a 7% increase in sales volume and a 9% increase in the weighted average log selling price with the majority of the increase in this sales volume and selling price occurring in Acadian's higher margin spruce-fir sawlog sort. On a year-to-date basis, net sales are 4% higher than in the same period last year with a 7% decline in sales volume more than offset by a 10% increase in the weighted average log price. Adjusted EBITDA of $5.7 million for the third quarter was $1.9 million higher than in the third quarter of 2013, while Adjusted EBITDA margin increased to 26%, up 6% from the same period in 2013. Free Cash Flow was $4.7 million during the third quarter, also an increase of $1.9 million compared to the prior year. These improvements reflect the log price and volume improvements noted above along with minimal change in overall average per unit variable costs. Operating earnings for the third quarter, at $5.5 million, increased $1.9 million year-over-year, reflecting increased sales volumes and margin improvements stemming from a higher value product mix and stronger pricing. Acadian's net loss for the third quarter was $0.6 million, or $0.03 per share, a decrease of $4.0 million or $0.23 per share from the same period in 2013, however the majority of the difference is related to non-cash items including a larger fair value adjustment due to the higher harvest volume and a difference of $5.4 million in the unrealized exchange loss on long-term debt compared to the same period of the prior year. Acadian's operations ran well during the third quarter with weather conditions typical for the summer season and improved demand for softwood resulting in a 7% increase in total sales volume compared to the same period in the prior year. Acadian's softwood sawlog sales volume for the third quarter increased 14% from the same period in 2013, while sales volumes for hardwood sawlogs and pulpwood increased by 3% and 6%, respectively, and biomass volumes remained almost unchanged. Acadian's weighted average log selling price for the third quarter increased 9% year-over-year due to higher softwood and hardwood sawlog and hardwood pulpwood prices, a stronger U.S. dollar and a higher value sales mix. While stronger softwood sawlog markets drove an 11% increase in softwood sawlog prices relative to the third quarter of 2013, the higher prices were partially offset by higher cost associated with sales to more distant markets. Prices for hardwood sawlogs and pulpwood improved, each increasing by 9% over the same period last year. Softwood pulpwood pricing has remained stable, however, the number of groundwood pulp customers operating in the region continues to decline. Biomass gross margin was down 20% year-over-year with the majority of the change coming from the New Brunswick operations where a smaller proportion of the volume was sold to the higher margin export markets than in the prior year. New Brunswick Timberlands Acadian's New Brunswick Timberlands had a very strong quarter with softwood, hardwood and biomass shipments of 109 thousand m3, 112 thousand m3 and 69 thousand m3, respectively, during the third quarter representing a 14% year-over-year increase in sales volume. Approximately 36% of sales volume was sold as sawlogs, 40% as pulpwood and 24% as biomass in the third quarter. This compares to 33% sold as sawlogs, 43% as pulpwood and 24% as biomass in the third quarter of 2013. Net sales for the third quarter totaled $16.3 million compared to $13.6 million for the same period last year reflecting more favourable operating and market conditions. The weighted average log selling price was $61.55 per m3 in the third quarter of 2014, a 10% increase from $55.94 per m3 in the same period of 2013 as a result of improved selling prices for most products and a higher proportion of sawlogs in the sales mix. Net sales for the nine months ended September 27, 2014 were $40.0 million, an increase of $0.7 million over the same period in 2013, with lower sales volumes more than offset by improved pricing. Costs for the third quarter were $11.8 million, compared to $10.9 million in the same period in 2013, due to higher harvest volumes of primary products. Variable costs per m3 were unchanged from the prior year. For the nine months ended September 27, 2014, costs were $29.4 million, $1.3 million lower than during the same period of 2013, due to lower harvest volumes. Adjusted EBITDA for the third quarter was $4.5 million, compared to $2.7 million in the third quarter of 2013 reflecting higher sales volumes and improved prices. The improved prices along with unchanged average per unit variable costs increased Adjusted EBITDA margin to 28% from 20% in the prior year. For the nine months ended September 27, 2014, Adjusted EBITDA was $10.6 million, an increase of $2.0 million over the same period of 2013 with the decrease in harvest volume more than offset by improved year-to-date prices. There was one recordable safety incident among employees and two recordable incidents among our contractors during the third quarter of 2014. Market Outlook The U.S. market is showing broad improvement in economic conditions including strong real GDP and consumer spending growth with the unemployment rate now below six percent. This strength has had little impact on the housing market to date however, with new and existing home sales remaining disappointing. Household formations are still lagging and most new households are still choosing to rent rather than buy. We believe the market is steadily improving with consumers' net wealth steadily improving and fewer homeowners in distress as indicated by the steady decline over the past few years in delinquency rates, foreclosures and the share of mortgages in a negative equity position. This is expected to support continued increases in housing starts through 2016 and this optimism, along with supply-side challenges and continued strong exports, should keep North American lumber prices well above historical norms, encouraging Acadian's key solid wood customers to continue to operate at full capacity. As such, we expect to see ongoing strong demand for softwood sawlogs in the region. Markets for hardwood sawlogs have been positive and are expected to remain stable and demand and pricing for hardwood pulpwood continues to be very favourable. While Acadian has been successful in selling its softwood pulpwood production, this market is expected to be increasingly challenged due to the recent closure of several regional mills. Biomass sales have begun to improve as the reduction of logistical challenges previously constraining exports from our NB Timberlands have been relieved.

Wood Panels

West Fraser improves productivity

Oct. 30, 2014 - West Fraser Timber reported earnings of $70 million or $0.83 per share on sales of $1,030 million in the third quarter of 2014. Operational Results In the quarter our lumber operations generated operating earnings of $101 million (Q2 - $81 million) and EBITDA of $131 million (Q2- $106 million). The increased earnings were largely the result of reduced costs and certain manufacturing productivity improvements related to capital investments. Our panel segment generated operating earnings of $25 million (Q2 - $10 million) and EBITDA of $29 million (Q2 - $13 million), the result of substantially improved plywood prices. Our pulp and paper operations generated an operating loss of $2 million compared to operating earnings of $19 million in the previous quarter and EBITDA of $9 million (Q2 - $30 million). The loss was largely the result of scheduled maintenance downtime at our Hinton pulp mill followed by a difficult startup. Outlook We have seen gradual recovery in U.S. home construction and expect the recovery to continue. Log costs are expected to trend higher in Canada as competition for purchased wood increases in certain areas of B.C. and contractor costs increase. However, as we complete our capital projects, we expect productivity improvements and cost reductions to continue. "The largest capital program in our Company's history is currently underway and I expect combined capital expenditures for 2013 and 2014 to exceed $700 million," said Ted Seraphim, our President and CEO. "I'm excited about what these investments are doing to improve the competitiveness of the Company and how we are positioning our operations to succeed as U.S. housing continues its slow recovery."

Calgary allows six storey wood

Oct. 29, 2014, Edmonton – The Alberta Forest Products Association (AFPA) commends the City of Calgary for being the first city in Canada to adopt the 2015 National Building Code recommendation to allow buildings of up to 6 storeys to be constructed from wood. Calgary's leadership role facilitates better affordability of housing and increased opportunities for densification. "This is a win-win for the City and for the forest industry," said AFPA President and CEO Paul Whittaker. "Midrise buildings framed with wood are less expensive to construct, have a much lower carbon footprint, and make use of Alberta's only renewable building material. Using wood also benefits the thousands of Albertans who work in the forest industry and the 50 communities where the industry is a major social and economic contributor. Congratulations to Mayor Nenshi and the city for their leadership." In Alberta, wood-framed buildings are currently limited to 9 metres (3 or 4 storeys depending on building design). British Columbia permits wood buildings of up to 6 storeys, with a potential for taller buildings to be approved through a special permit process. Ontario has amended their legislation to allow 6 storey wood buildings as of January 1, 2015. The lower costs associated with wood mid-rise buildings allow for increased densification of urban spaces and additional flexibility for developers. The Alberta Forest Products Association is advocating for 6 storey wood buildings to be permitted throughout Alberta. For more information on the City of Calgary's announcement, please visit . The Alberta Forest Products Association is a private, non-profit industry organization, representing forest products companies operating in Alberta. For more information about the Association or Alberta's forest products industry, please visit


Illegal trade impacts Cdn hardwood

Oct. 3, 2014 - A series on Global News is looking at where the wood for hardwood floors has been harvested. It has found that while Canadian consumers may believe the wood is coming from Canadian forests, it's most likely coming from illegal logging in Siberia and shipped to Canada through China. With cheap, illegal hardwood flooring available to retailers, Canadian hardwood flooring manufacturers are finding it impossible to compete. For more information, go to

Briquettes get a boost in Maritimes

Sept. 9, 2014 – Lewis Mouldings and Wood Specialities Ltd. received $430,500 from the federal and provincial governments to boost its wood briquette production, according to the Chrionical Herald. The family business based in Weymouth, Nova Scotia launched Fiber Fuel to make wood briquettes using residual sawdust and chips from its wood trim business in 2008. The company has not been able to keep up with demand for the fuel. The new funding will help the company add a second wood fibre compressing machine and a biomass dryer, which should be up and running in November. The new equipment is expected to boost the company's briquette production by 400 per cent. The briquette business will take over the extra waste wood that was formerly consumed by the Resolute Forest Products' Queens County paper mill that closed in 2012. For more information, go to

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