BC defers stumpage fees to support forest companies during COVID-19
As COVID-19 continues to put a strain on the forest sector across the country, the B.C. government has decided to defer stumpage fees to help forest companies maintain operations through the pandemic. This fee which operators pay to harvest, buy or sell trees from Crown land will be deferred for three months and leave eligible companies with an estimated $80 million to help pay employees, contractors and other fees needed to keep operations going.
This deferral with interest is being offered to those with Tree Farm licenses, Replaceable Forest licenses and First Nations’ Woodlands license holders who are in good financial standing with the Province.
“The deferral of stumpage fees is an important short-term measure to help alleviate some of the unprecedented financial pressure brought on by the COVID 19 crisis,” said Susan Yurkovich, president and CEO, Council of Forest Industries in a statement. “It will help B.C.’s forest companies put people back to work in communities as markets come back and we move towards economic recovery.”
BC premier, John Horgan says that as the government they have taken a number of steps to help forest communities and the industry because of previous tough times the industry was having prior to COVID-19. “Now, we’re deferring stumpage fees so companies can maintain their financial liquidity, which will not only benefit them, but ideally, forest workers and communities as well,” he says.
Ravi Kahlon, parliamentary secretary for the Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development, said that COVID-19 added to the challenges facing BC’s forest sector. “In conversations with the forestry industry, the deferral of stumpage was a key ask, and I am pleased our government has been able to deliver support to companies, contractors and workers,” said Kahlon.
“We’re building on other measures we’ve taken to help the forest sector navigate this crisis,” said Doug Donaldson, Minister of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development in a statement. “What we’re announcing today may allow some companies to get back online sooner rather than later when we get through the situation we’re in now – or it may save other companies from having to shut down altogether.”