Industry News

Oct. 22, 2018 – The B.C. government’s proposed new legislation standardizing governance of all natural resource professionals is a missed opportunity that will not address real issues of public concern around forest management, says the CEO of the Association of B.C. Forest Professionals (ABCFP), the regulatory body for B.C.’s 5,400 forest professionals.
Oct. 22, 2018 – Eastern Canada’s largest show for the cabinet and furniture industry is happening this week for the first time in its new location in Saint-Hyacinthe, Que. Canada Woodworking East (Bois ouvré de l’est du Canada) will be held at the BMO Centre at Espace Saint-Hyacinthe on Oct. 24 and 25, 2018.
Oct. 22, 2018 – It is official: recreational marijuana is legal in Canada with effect from Oct. 17. With that comes a patchwork of jurisdictional laws establishing where and how marijuana products will be sold and used by consumers.
Oct. 22, 2018 - The Wood Pellet Association of Canada's Safety Committee in co-operation with WorkSafeBC and media partner Canadian Biomass magazine are hosting a workshop on process safety incident investigations.
Oct. 16, 2018 – WorkSafeBC is launching an awareness campaign to educate employers and workers about impairment in the workplace, as the legalization of recreational cannabis takes effect Oct. 17.
Oct. 16, 2018 – Darwin Murray of McClain Forest Products in West Plains, Missouri became the new president of the National Hardwood Lumber Association (NHLA) at the NHLA Annual Convention & Exhibit Showcase on Oct. 4, 2018 in Toronto, Canada. 
Oct. 15, 2018 – Collaboration between Canadian governments, industry, academia and other partners in plant health is essential to protect our resources from new and emerging risks, drive innovation and ensure that Canadian industry remains competitive and sustainable.
Oct. 12, 2018 – Canadian wood is playing a key role in the growing global bioeconomy, helping to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and supporting the transition to a low-carbon economy. Getting wood from our sustainably managed forests to world markets delivers economic benefits while creating good, middle-class jobs.
Oct. 11, 2018 – Cannabis is set to be legalized for recreational use as of Oct. 17, 2018. For many employers still struggling with how to accommodate employees who have been prescribed cannabis for medicinal purposes, this will create new challenges and questions. How do you define impairment and fitness for work? What types of tasks are safety sensitive?
Oct. 10, 2018 – The B.C. Council of Forest Industries (COFI), with media partner Canadian Forest Industries (CFI) Magazine, announced today the launch the third annual forestry photo contest. The contest showcases the importance of forest products in our everyday lives.
Oct. 9, 2018 – Sierra Pacific Industries founder and chairman emeritus Red Emmerson will receive Timber Processing magazine’s 2019 Person of the Year award during the upcoming Timber Processing & Energy Expo at the Portland Expo Center in Portland, Ore.
Oct. 5, 2018 – The B.C. government has signed an agreement with the shíshálh Nation (previously known as the Sechelt First Nation), establishing a relationship and shared decision-making structures focused on economic development and environmental protection.
Oct. 23, 2018 – Despite lower third quarter SPF and plywood prices, West Fraser produced results that, while off the record pace of the second quarter, were still significantly ahead of the third quarter of 2017.
Oct. 22, 2018 –  Led by a drop in multifamily production, total housing starts fell 5.3 per cent in September to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.2 million units, according to newly released data from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Commerce Department.
Oct. 17, 2018 – Worldwide trade of lumber inched up again in early 2018, hinting that this may be another record year. Six of the ten largest lumber-exporting countries in the world have increased their shipments in 2018, with exports from Russia, Germany, Ukraine and Austria increasing the most year-over-year.
Oct. 17 – Builder confidence in the market for newly-builtsingle-family homes rose one point to 68 in October on the NationalAssociation of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index (HMI).Builder confidence levels have held in the high 60s since June.
Oct. 12, 2018 – Interfor Corporation today announced plans to temporarily reduce production across its operating platform in the B.C. Interior in Q4 2018 due to a combination of declining lumber prices and escalating log costs.
Oct. 10, 2018 - Lumber prices in the U.S. have experienced a spectacular surge in 2017 and the first half of 2018. By the end of the Q2 2018, the benchmark lumber price index reported by the market report Random Lengths reached its highest level in at least 30 years. From Jan. 2017 to June 2018, average prices for commonly traded lumber in the U.S. increased by 40 per cent. During the same period, sawlog prices were practically unchanged in the U.S. South and rose about 28 per cent in Western U.S., resulting in higher gross margins in 2018 for sawmills in both regions. Similar developments have occurred in Canada, leading to record high profitability for many of the country’s sawmills thanks to the high lumber prices in the U.S.
Oct. 9, 2018 – A newly released study by ForestEdge and Wood Resources International forecasts that U.S. softwood lumber demand will grow at an annual rate of 2.3 per cent through 2030, which will be higher than the reports projection of real GDP. The study’s Base Case demand scenario suggests that U.S. lumber consumption will reach an all-time high by 2030.
Oct. 1, 2018 - The BC Lumber Trade Council issued a statement today with respect to Canada and the U.S. concluding the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement [USMCA].
Sept. 19, 2018 - Total housing starts increased 9.2 per cent in August to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.28 million units, according to newly released data from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Commerce Department.
Sept. 18, 2018 - Builder confidence in the market for newly-built single-family homes remained unchanged at a solid 67 reading in September on the National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index (HMI).
Aug. 23, 2018 - Lumber prices in the U.S., have experienced a spectacular surge in 2017 and the first half of 2018. By the end of the 2Q/18, the benchmark lumber price index reported by the market report Random Lengths reached its highest level in at least 30 years. From January 2017 to June 2018, average prices for commonly traded lumber in the U.S., increased by 40 per cent. During the same period, sawlog prices were practically unchanged in the U.S., South and rose about 28 per cent in Western U.S., resulting in higher gross margins in 2018 for sawmills in both regions. Similar developments have occurred in Canada, leading to record high profitability for many of the country’s sawmills thanks to the high lumber prices in the U.S. Wood costs are by far the largest and most important cost component when manufacturing softwood lumber and are often the factor that determines a lumber company’s competitiveness. The Wood Resource Quarterly (WRQ) has tracked quarterly sawlog prices worldwide since 1995. This publication also discusses quarterly sawmill gross margins for key lumber-producing regions around the world. In its latest issue, quarterly sawlog costs, lumber prices and gross margins for sawmills in eight key regions worldwide are reported for the period 1Q/05 to 2Q/18. The gross margin is defined as the net wood costs (sawlog costs minus the income from sawmill residuals) deducted from lumber revenues and is a reliable indicator of the changing trend in profitability in a region’s sawmill sector. In the 2Q/18, profits for sawmills in North America reached their highest levels since at least 2005, primarily because lumber prices have risen faster than sawlog prices. In Europe, the gross margins in early 2018 were close to the highest they have been in four years in the Nordic countries, while they reached levels not seen in over a decade in other parts of the continent. However, not all countries have experienced positive earning trends the past few years. Sawmills in Eastern Russia, New Zealand and Brazil saw their gross margins decline from 2015 to early 2018 as sawlog prices rose faster than lumber prices. In Siberia, the gross margin has fallen 21 per cent in three years with the 2Q/18 levels being the lowest since 2013. Most of the decline has been the result of higher costs for sawlogs for a growing sawmilling sector in Eastern Russia. Global lumber, sawlog and pulpwood market reporting is included in the 56-page quarterly publication Wood Resource Quarterly (WRQ). The report, which was established in 1988 and has subscribers in over 30 countries, tracks sawlog, pulpwood, wood chip, lumber and pellet prices, trade and market developments in most key regions around the world. To subscribe to the WRQ, please go to www.WoodPrices.com
Aug. 16, 2018 - Total housing starts inched up 0.9 per cent in July to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.17 million units, according to newly released data from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Commerce Department.
Sept. 18, 2018 -The Montreal Economic Institute (MEI), an independent public policy think tank, has released a report stating that forest harvesting is not synonymous with deforestation and doesn’t threaten the sustainability of our forests – and, in fact, Canadian forests are under-harvested.
Sept. 10, 2018 - The federal government is funding a Mi'kmaw forestry approach that will help Mi'kmaq communities incorporate traditional knowledge, data and values into a strategic forest management plan for their land.
Sept. 6, 2018 - Forest Products Association of Canada (FPAC) released a comprehensive report today that highlights efforts in support of caribou recovery across the country – along with a series of recommendations to the federal government that will help inform solutions to further preserve and enhance habitat for caribou and other species that inhabit Canada’s forests.
July 5, 2018 - With eight staff listed on Ontario’s Lobbyist Registry, the David Suzuki Foundation has twice the number of lobbyists in Ontario than the Ontario Forest Industries Association (OFIA). Ontario Nature has three registered lobbyists, including the main author and one of the reviewers of the opinion piece entitled, “From Climate to Caribou: How Manufactured Uncertainty is Affecting Wildlife Management.” We are asking governments and the public to reject the campaign rhetoric from anti-forestry lobbyists as science.  Opinions, motherhood statements, and value-laden language belong in fundraising campaigns, not scientific literature. Having more in common with a press release, the article referenced in David Suzuki’s July 3, 2018 Chronicle Journal article offers no original data or novel research, only a thinly-veiled rant with footnotes. As such, this commentary was published in the “In My Opinion” section of the Wildlife Society Bulletin.  The 2008 Environment Canada and Climate Change (ECCC) caribou disturbance model has well-known flaws, particularly when applied to Ontario’s Caribou herds, (Sleep and Loehle 2010; Fortin et al. 2017; Rudolph et al. 2017) suggesting that disturbance alone is not sufficient to predict caribou responses to management. However, this house of cards caribou policy is being built on across the country and something that the authors believe shouldn’t be questioned.  Two of the authors of the opinion piece were former professors of mine, who taught our class that science was about testing hypotheses, collecting data, discussing and questioning the results. Why are they now suggesting that those who actually follow this method are “caribou science deniers”? The OFIA agrees with David Suzuki; science matters, but we cannot support dogma or muzzling debate.  There is no denial from industry that woodland caribou are in trouble, Masood et al. (2017) found that caribou range extent was projected to contract by 57.2–99.8 per cent by 2050, and a complete loss of boreal caribou in Ontario if winter temperatures increase by more than 5.6C by 2070, regardless of change to human disturbances. This reinforces the need to manage the landscape holistically, for all species, and to acknowledge the multiple factors at play.  The forest industry is committed to managing and protecting woodland caribou (see my Feb. 23 op-ed in the Toronto Star, Forest Industry Also Committed to Protecting Caribou). This isn’t new or ground-breaking, in northwestern Ontario forestry companies have been legally required to protect and renew caribou habitat since 1994.  Forestry will continue to play an essential role in caribou management and, as a 75-year-old organization, we remain accountable to our members, the public, and our stakeholders for any public statements we make. The convenient hyperbole and emotionally-charged rhetoric from the Wildlife Society Bulletin editorial might generate fundraising dollars, but it does not belong in active forest management.  Ian Dunn lives in Toronto and is a registered professional forester. He has a masters in forest conservation and is the director of forest policy at the Ontario Forest Industries Association.  Literature Cited  Fortin D, Barnier F, Drapeau P, et al (2017) Forest productivity mitigates human disturbance effects on late- seral prey exposed to apparent competitors and predators. Sci Rep 1–12. doi: 10.1038/s41598-017-06672-4  Masood S, Zuiden TMV, Rodgers A, Sharma S (2017) An uncertain future for woodland caribou (Ranger tarandus caribou) The impact of climate change on winter distribution in Ontario  Rudolph TD, Drapeau P, Imbeau L (2017) Demographic responses of boreal caribou to cumulative disturbances highlight elasticity of range-specific tolerance thresholds. 1179–1198. doi: 10.1007/s10531-017-1292-1  Sleep DJH, Loehle C (2010) Validation of a Demographic Model for Woodland Caribou. J Wildl Manage 74:1508–1512. doi: 10.2193/2009-474
June 12, 2018 - A federal investment of $23.8 million is set to help the people of Prince Edward Island improve energy efficiency in their homes, businesses, industries, and farm operations across the province, as well as reduce carbon pollution in the forestry sector. This joint investment between the Canadian government and P.E.I., totals $47.8 million.
June 12, 2018 - FPInnovations, the Laurentian Forestry Centre (LFC) of Natural Resources Canada, Université Laval and its faculty of forestry, geography and geomatics have announced the signature of collaboration agreements aimed at developing the full innovation potential of the wood and forest sectors.
May 23, 2018 - The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced today that domestic manufacturers and importers of softwood lumber have voted overwhelmingly to continue the efforts of the Softwood Lumber Board (SLB).   In the referendum conducted by USDA from April 17 to May 14, 2018, to determine the future of the softwood lumber industry’s market promotion check-off known as the Softwood Lumber Board, a super-majority of manufacturing and importing companies established a strong new mandate to advance the program for another term.  In a notice to the trade issued today, USDA reported that 78 per cent of companies participating in the referendum representing 94 per cent of volume voted to continue the program. For comparison, when the program began in 2011, 67 per cent of voting companies and 80 per cent of voting volume, respectively, voted to establish the program. Additional details will follow. This super-majority mandate to continue the program reflects strong industry confidence in the diligence, determination, and effectiveness of the SLB and its staff to increase market demand for softwood lumber by supporting pro-wood communications (Think Wood and Wood, Naturally), code and standards expansion (American Wood Council), educating and assisting architects, engineers and construction specifiers (WoodWorks), and supporting innovative new applications and markets for softwood lumber products. “This vote shows the softwood lumber industry’s strong support for a nation-wide promotion program," said chairman of Idaho Forest Group and chairman of the SLB Marc Brinkmeyer. "The vote affirms the industry’s view that the Softwood Lumber Board is an effective investment vehicle to grow the market for the benefit of all producers.” “The industry has realized that we all have common competitors in the form of other building materials," said president and chief executive officer of Sierra-Pacific Industries George Emmerson. "The SLB has unified the industry’s efforts to compete in the marketplace — something that none of us can do acting individually.” “With these changes the SLB is ready to move to ‘version 2.0’ and expand its activities to take advantage of new trends to more off-site construction and factory-built housing, the opportunities awaiting with mass timber applications and expansion to off-shore markets," said Don Kayne, president and chief executive officer of Canfor and chair of the SLB Programs Committee. "We are posed to build on our strong and successful campaign results of the last six years to ensure that softwood lumber is the material of choice not only in residential construction but also non-residential market segments.” 
Feb. 6, 2018 – N.B. Premier Brian Gallant is travelling to Washington this week to meet with U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross. The agenda items include trade, softwood lumber, and the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). “New Brunswick is Canada’s most trade-driven province and the United States continues to be our province’s biggest trading partner. This economic relationship is important to New Brunswickers,” Gallant said in a statement. “New Brunswick’s and Maine’s integration of softwood lumber is a great example as to how the tariffs imposed on New Brunswick softwood lumber will hurt the American economy. This is Gallant’s third meeting with Ross in the past year.
Jan. 4, 2018 – Canada is now in the appeals stage of the softwood lumber dispute after the U.S. Department of Commerce imposed final duties on Wednesday. The International Trade Administration (ITA) published documents outlining the Commerce Department’s decision of final countervailing and anti-dumping duties on certain softwood lumber products from Canada. Canada responded by saying it will not back down. “The Government of Canada will continue to vigorously defend our industry and its workers against protectionist trade practices,” Minister of Foreign Affairs Chrystia Freeland said in a statement. “U.S. duties on Canadian softwood lumber are unfair, unwarranted and troubling. “They are harmful to Canada’s lumber producers, workers and communities, and they add to the cost of home building, renovations and other projects for American middle-class families,” Freeland said. U.S. Congress-themed newspaper The Hill reported that the U.S. Lumber Coalition’s co-chairman Joe Patton called the duties “a fair enforcement of U.S. trade law.” Patton also said that, “For decades, the Canadian government has abused the law and provided massive subsidies to its lumber industry, harming U.S. producers and workers.” The United States Trade Representative Tweeted, “We are completely confident that @CommerceGov and the U.S. International Trade Commission closely followed U.S. law and that their actions are consistent with our WTO obligations. We will of course defend this case and expect to prevail.” We are completely confident that @CommerceGov and the U.S. International Trade Commission closely followed U.S. law and that their actions are consistent with our WTO obligations. We will of course defend this case and expect to prevail. https://t.co/jsIcoo24gh — USTR (@USTradeRep) January 3, 2018 Amid the final duty announcement, Commerce also marginally amended West Fraser’s countervailing, and Canfor’s anti-dumping duties. West Fraser “submitted a timely, properly filed allegation that Commerce made certain ministerial errors,” according to the document. Commerce investigated and agreed that an error was made, thus decreasing West Fraser’s subsidy rate from 18.19 per cent ad valorem to 17.99 per cent ad valorem. The “all-others” rate was consequently decreased to 14.19 per cent ad valorem. Canfor also submitted an allegation citing errors in Commerce’s decision. Commerce agreed with Canfor’s submission as well and decreased its subsidy rate to 7.28 per cent. The “all-others” rate in this case was decreased to 6.04 per cent. Nevertheless, the fact remains that final duties were imposed and Canada said it will be taking legal action. “Canada has already begun legal challenges of these duties under NAFTA and through the WTO, where Canadian litigation has proven successful in the past,” Freeland said. “We will continue to work with the provinces and territories, as well as with Canadian industry and workers, to find an enduring solution. “Canada will also continue to engage with the U.S. Administration and with American legislators to come to a new agreement on softwood lumber,” she said.
Dec. 18, 2017 - Kate Lindsay is the Forest Products Association of Canada's vice-president of sustainability and environmental partnerships.She recently wrote a Letter to the Editor which was published in The Chronicle-Journal in response to an opinion piece criticizing the forest industry's views on saving caribou populations while still implementing sustainable forestry practices.In an excerpt from her letter she writes, "The misrepresentation of the purpose and content of our informational website at www.cariboufacts.ca is unfortunate. To be clear, on behalf of Canada’s forest sector and our 230,000 direct employees, we are asking for three simple things:1. Any land use decision must be based on the most recent and comprehensive science that looks at all factors, including incorporating unique local forest realities and the impacts of action on other species in the forest.2. All impacted groups should be meaningfully engaged in the discussion, including governments, Indigenous communities, scientists, industry, tourism and recreation groups, and labour organizations.3. Socio-economic analysis should be conducted to understand what, if any, impacts might be felt by local communities."Read the full piece here.
Dec. 12, 2017 - This fall, B.C.’s forest sector released a new economic study that highlights the fact that the B.C. forest industry continues to be a cornerstone of the provincial economy and a significant economic contributor to communities around the province.  
Dec. 8, 2017 – The U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) voted 4-0 unanimously on Thursday in favour of the U.S. lumber industry. The ITC holds the position that the Canadian government’s subsidies to its softwood lumber producers have harmed U.S. producers. The U.S. Lumber Coalition supports the decision. “The massive subsidies that the Canadian government provides to its lumber industry and the dumping of lumber products into the U.S. market by Canadian companies cause real harm to U.S. producers and workers,” said the U.S. Lumber Coalition’s Jason Brochu. “Now, with a level playing field, the U.S. lumber industry, and the 350,000 hardworking men and women who support it, can have the chance to compete fairly.” “With the enforcement of U.S. trade laws, lumber mills across the country will be able to make important investments in employees and mill operations so we can expand production to meet demand,” the U.S. Lumber Coalition’s Joe Patton said. The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) said the tariffs will increase the price of an average single-family home built in 2018 by $1,360. "We are disappointed by the ITC ruling and believe this is a protectionist measure designed to safeguard the interests of major domestic lumber producers at the expense of American consumers,” chairman Granger MacDonald said. “The U.S. and Canada need to hammer out an equitable agreement to resolve this ongoing trade dispute that will provide American consumers a steady supply of lumber at a reasonable price," he said. BC Lumber Trade Council president Susan Yurkovich said the decision “is completely without merit.” “The ITC finding of ‘injury,’ despite the current record-setting profitability of the U.S. lumber industry, makes it very clear that this was not an objective evaluation of the facts,” she said. "There can be no doubt that this process is biased in favour of the U.S. industry.” The BC Lumber Trade Council said it plans to fight the decision and initiate appeals as soon as possible. “The U.S. Coalition’s claims of injury ring particularly hollow given the extraordinary financial performance that the U.S. lumber industry is enjoying, and given that Canadian imports are at a lower level today than at the levels deemed non-injurious under both the 2006 Softwood Lumber Agreement and by the ITC itself in the last round of litigation,” Yurkovich said. The Lumber Coalition petitioned the U.S. Commerce Department in November 2016 to launch an investigation to determine whether or not the Canadian government was providing unfair subsidies to its lumber producers. The Commerce Department launched its official investigation in December 2016. Over the course of the investigation, preliminary countervailing and anti-dumping duties were applied to Canadian producers. The average preliminary countervailing tax was 19.88 per cent, while the average preliminary anti-dumping tax was 6.87 per cent. Combined, that meant most Canadian producers were paying 26.75 per cent in duties. West Fraser, Canfor, Tolko, Resolute and J.D. Irving were individually investigated and paid combined taxes ranging from 9.89 to 30.88 per cent. The Commerce Department ruled in November 2017 that the two softwood markets are unequal due to Canadian producers having unfair advantages over their American counterparts and announced its final duties. However, the overall rate dropped from 26.75 to 20.83 per cent for most Canadian producers. So far, Canadian companies are reported to be doing well thanks to record-high lumber prices and a steady demand for wood from the U.S.

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