BC eliminates controversial fair market rate test for contractors, licensees
Following the completion of the long-awaited Contractor Sustainability Review and its resulting recommendations, Premier Horgan announced a significant change to the Timber Harvesting Contractor and Sub-contractor regulation, which was the elimination of the fair market rate test. The Premier made his announcement during his address to a full room of 350 timber harvesting contractors at the Truck Logger Association’s 76th annual Convention & Trade Show.
“Today’s announcement is what we were hoping for and will result in a fundamental shift in the relationship between contractors and their employers across the province,” said David Elstone, executive director of the Truck Loggers Association. “Elimination of the fair market rate test is a monumental change for our industry, allowing contractors to more equitably share in the value of the timber resource.”
The Premier also made a commitment today to exploring solutions that the TLA has put forward to address the industry’s acute skilled labour shortage.
“After advocating for a training tax credit over the past three years, we are thrilled to hear this announcement,” said Elstone. “We are facing unprecedented retirement in the forest and logging industry, and even today there are far too many logging trucks and heavy equipment sitting idle due to the lack of experienced and competent operators. This may open up substantial opportunity for contractors’ needs for on-the-job training province-wide.”
Finally, the Premier shared details of their new Coast Revitalization Initiative, which focuses on the Coast’s issues evidenced by declines in jobs, lumber production and fibre supply; a continued reliance on log exports; a need for increased First Nations participation in all aspects of the industry and too much waste left in the forests after harvest.
“As timber harvesting contractors we recognize change is required and that the industry needs certainty,” said Elstone. “We are hopeful the announced initiatives will support industry sustainability and the TLA remains available to continue working with the Premier to meet the governments objectives while the contractors’ concerns are heard.”