BC amending Forest Act to prevent concentration of harvesting rights
By Ellen Cools
The government of British Columbia has announced changes to the Forest Act that will help prevent major forest licensees from controlling the market for milling and forest tenure holdings.
“We want all British Columbians to benefit from the forest industry, including companies, large and small, First Nations, workers and communities,” said Doug Donaldson, Minister of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development, in a statement. “These amendments will help support a vibrant and diverse forest sector by preventing further concentration of harvesting rights.”
As a result of the amendments, forest companies now need approval from the minister before disposing or transferring a tenure agreement to another party. According to a government news release, the minister can thereby refuse a new arrangement if it doesn’t benefit the public or add conditions to the approval.
Changes to the Forest Act will help the government exert more control over the disposition of Crown tenures, as well as make sure dispositions and changing control doesn’t lead to further concentration within the forestry sector. The amendments also ensure the provincial government has all necessary information from companies to inform policy and legislative changes regarding future forestry issues.