Nov. 20, 2017 - A coalition of municipal and Indigenous leaders, chambers of commerce, unions, and forest professionals are coming to Queen’s Park on Wednesday, November 22nd to dispel misinformation about Ontario’s forest sector and to urge the government to avoid unintended consequences from rushed species at risk (SAR) policy.

Recently, a co-ordinated effort by groups opposed to forestry has attempted to label Ontario’s forest sector as unsustainable. On Oct. 25 an opinion piece in the Toronto Star, authored by the David Suzuki Foundation and Environmental Defense, asked, “will anyone act to save the caribou? Ontario is not.” Similar comments were made by CPAWS Wildlands League and the American activist group Natural Resources Defence Council (NRDC).

In response, Federation of Northern Ontario Municipalities (FONOM) president and mayor of Kapuskasing, Ont., Al Spacek said, “To claim Ontario has not acted to save caribou is conveniently ignoring over 20 years of work, 600 tracked animals and $11 million dollars of government research.”

On Oct. 18, Ben and Jerry’s ice cream wrote a letter to provincial ministers and premiers to say that they are concerned about “unsustainable logging practices” in Canada’s boreal forest. Northwestern Ontario Municipal Association (NOMA) president and mayor of Shuniah, Ont., Wendy Landry, stated, “These attacks on forestry are extremely concerning. Decisions on policy need to be made on the best available science and informed by the people who are most impacted.” She went on to say, “Arguments presented by those with special interests and no skin in the game cannot be viewed as credible. We are forestry. This is our backyard and we deserve to have a say in the policy that governs it.”

Chair of Rural Ontario Municipal Association (ROMA) and mayor of the Township of Rideau Lakes, Ont., Ron Holman, said, “Each day, we grow more concerned with how activist rhetoric may threaten forest sustainability. New policy based on misinformation will have unintended consequences for communities in every region of this province.”

Chief Ed Wawia, from Red Rock Indian Band, stated, “The socio-economic impacts of the proposed species at risk rules have the potential to negatively impact Indigenous communities. If these proposed new regulations are implemented, the sustainable forestry businesses we have built and the jobs dependent on them will be lost.”

Jamie Lim, president and chief executive officer of the Ontario Forest Industries Association (OFIA) said, “Since 2013, we have been asking the Ministry of Natural Resources to act on their commitment to establish a panel that would review the linkages between the Crown Forest Sustainability Act (CFSA) and the Endangered Species Act (ESA). A change in timelines and an extension to the current Section 55 Rules in Regulation is required to take the appropriate amount of time to get things right.” She continued, “These are the affected stakeholders that need to form the panel. 57,000 direct jobs in this province are at stake and we can’t let misinformation get in the way of evidence-based policy decisions.”

Unifor’s research director, Bill Murnighan, concluded by saying, “Forestry is one of the most important sectors of the Canadian economy, shapes many of our communities, and affects a wide and diverse range of stakeholders. Policy can dramatically affect forestry and workers need to ensure their views are heard and their interests are represented. Their livelihoods should not be threatened and undermined by misinformation and policy should be based on solid science.”
Nov. 16, 2017 - With public consultations and testing completed, FSC Canada anticipates the final version of the standard to be ready for 2018.

Following the field testing of the National Forest Management Standard in spring 2017, the Standards Development Group has been working diligently to reach consensus on a final version of the standard. 

The new standard has several key elements that differentiate it from its predecessor such as Indicators that deal with free, prior and informed consent (FPIC) and managing species at risk. FSC Canada will be releasing a public summary of significant changes from Draft 2 to the pre-approved draft once the standard is finalized. 

Upon approval by the Standards Development Group, the Standard will be sent to the FSC Canada Board of Directors in December 2017 and then will be submitted to FSC International for final approval in January 2018. We anticipate approval from FSC international by spring 2018. 

Intact Forest Landscapes and Indigenous Cultural Landscapes
Indicators for intact forest landscapes and Indigenous cultural landscapes will continue to be developed until 2019. These requirements will be developed to be aligned with species at risk indicators; other landscape requirements; and Intact Forest Landscape approaches. 

Scale, intensity and risk
Scale, intensity and risk indicators specific to smallholders and community forests will not be included in the final draft of the standard. With FSC International’s ‘New Approaches’ program aiming to enable smallholders to design a certification system that works for them, FSC Canada will work with FSC International to develop a smallholder and community standard and will adapt requirements in the next revision of FSC’s forest management standard. Until the new scale, intensity and risk related standard is ready, smallholder and community forests in Canada will be able to continue using existing regional forest management standards (BC, Maritimes and draft Great Lakes St-Lawrence Standard).

What happens once the standard is approved?
As of the effective date, Certificate holders will have 1 year to transition to the new standard. Within the transition period, certificate holders can choose to be audited to the current forest management standards or the revised National Forest Management Standard. But all certificate holders will be evaluated against the revised National Forest Management Standard within 1 year.

FSC Canada will support certificate holders and certification bodies with the transition and implementation of the revised standard with training beginning in 2018. 

FSC Canada initiated the standard revision process in 2012 to align to the new international generic indicators and merge all four regional standards into a single National Forest Management Standard that properly reflects the realities of forestry in Canada in 2017. Draft 1 of the standard was released for public consultation in 2015 and a second draft was released in 2016 for a 60-day public consultation. The draft standard was then field/desk tested in spring 2017. FSC Canada plans to have the final version of the standard approved in 2018.
Nov. 13, 2017 - Canada's Minister of Natural Resources, the Honourable Jim Carr, and his provincial counterparts discussed on Friday final determinations by the U.S. Department of Commerce in the countervailing and anti-dumping duty investigations into imports of certain softwood lumber products from Canada.

Minister Carr and the other members of the Federal–Provincial Task Force on Softwood Lumber denounced the unfair and punitive duties on Canadian softwood lumber imports that threaten the livelihoods of workers and communities that depend on the forest industry across our country.

The ministers and the Task Force discussed the economic impacts of the dispute and  the rollout of the Softwood Lumber Action Plan, which made available $867 million to diversify Canada's forest products and international markets and support affected workers and communities.

The ministers and the Task Force reaffirmed their commitment to forest workers and communities that rely on softwood lumber and reiterated the importance of coordinating and consulting with forest sector stakeholders and engaging with Indigenous communities and companies affected by the dispute. They also declared their continuing commitment to helping the industry transform and use wood in new ways, by selling to new international markets and continuing to lead as a major player in the low-carbon and bioeconomy. Market diversification for wood products will create Canadian jobs and benefit the communities that rely upon the forest industry.

The ministers and the Task Force will continue to consult closely on Canada's response to these duties. Canada will remain in close contact with the provinces, territories, Canadian industry and its workers on this issue. 

The Government of Canada maintains the view that a negotiated agreement that brings stability to the softwood lumber industry is in the best interest of both countries. The government will also continue to engage our American counterparts to encourage them to come to a durable, negotiated agreement on softwood lumber.
Nov. 2, 2017 – Bad news for Canadian softwood lumber producers. The U.S. Department of Commerce just slammed a 20.83 per cent duty on most Canadian softwood lumber producers.

The decision is final, following preliminary taxes that were announced in April.

Anti-dumping taxes are required to be paid right away, but the decision on countervailing duties will be made in December 2017.

“The U.S. Department of Commerce’s decision on punitive countervailing and anti-dumping duties against Canada's softwood lumber producers is unfair, unwarranted and deeply troubling,” Canada’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Chrystia Freeland, and Minister of Natural Resources, Jim Carr, said in a joint statement on Thursday.

“We urge the U.S. Administration to rescind these duties, which harm workers and communities in Canada,” the statement read.

A less dreary side of this decision is that the overall duty rates have been decreased from the preliminary round. They went down to 20.83 per cent from 26.75 per cent previously.

“While I am disappointed that a negotiated agreement could not be made between domestic and Canadian softwood producers, the United States is committed to free, fair and reciprocal trade with Canada,” commerce secretary Wilbur Ross said in a news release.

"This decision is based on a full and unbiased review of the facts in an open and transparent process that defends American workers and businesses from unfair trade practices.”

Ever since the softwood lumber agreement between Canada and the United States expired in October 2015, relations on this front – and chances for co-operation ­– have been dismal. 

The U.S. Lumber Coalition’s decision to launch a petition in November 2016 asking the U.S. Commerce Department to impose duties on Canadian softwood lumber imports only made matters worse. The coalition cited unfair subsidies for Canadian lumber producers. 

"We are pleased the U.S. government is enforcing our trade laws so that the U.S. lumber industry can compete on a level playing field," the coalition’s co-chair and co-president of Pleasant River Lumber Company Jason Brochu said in a statement. 

"The massive subsidies the Canadian government provides to their lumber industries have caused real harm to U.S. producers and their workers,” he said. “With a fair-trade environment, the U.S. industry, and the 350,000 hardworking men and women who support it, have the ability to grow production to meet much more of our country's softwood lumber demand."

The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) said the decision could not have come at a worse time amid rebuilding efforts in the aftermath of major hurricanes and wildfires in the U.S. “This tariff only adds to the burden by harming housing affordability and artificially boosting the price of lumber,” chairman Granger MacDonald said in a statement. “It is nothing more than a thinly-disguised tax on American home buyers, home builders and consumers.”

"This is particularly disappointing given that NAHB met recently with commerce secretary Wilbur Ross to express our concerns on this issue,” he said. “Unfortunately, the administration is taking protectionist measures to support domestic lumber producers at the expense of millions of U.S. home buyers and lumber consumers.”

In June 2017, the Canadian government announced it would be providing close to $870 million in support for all affected Canadian softwood lumber producers.

"Canada and the U.S. need to work co-operatively to achieve a long-term, stable solution in lumber trade that provides for a consistent and fairly priced supply of lumber,” MacDonald said.

The Alberta Softwood Lumber Trade Council’s co-chair Paul Whittaker said the council is deeply disappointed by Thursday’s announcement. “Unfortunately, the U.S. lumber industry appears to have blocked all attempts at a fair resolution of this issue and we remain at an impasse. It now appears that the only path to resolution is through litigation,” he said.

The BC Lumber Trade Council echoed similar sentiments. “This trade action is being driven by the protectionist U.S. lumber lobby whose sole purpose is to constrain imports of high-quality Canadian lumber and to drive up lumber prices for their own benefit,” said president Susan Yurkovich. “Ultimately, this punishes American consumers who are now paying higher prices for Canadian lumber when they buy, build or renovate their homes.”

The U.S. Department of Commerce announced final combined anti-dumping and countervailing duty rates as follows:

Irving: 9.92 per cent; 

Resolute: 17.90 per cent; 

Tolko: 22.07 per cent; 

Canfor: 22.13 per cent; 

West Fraser: 23.76 per cent; 

All others: 20.83 per cent

“We will forcefully defend Canada’s softwood lumber industry, including through litigation, and we expect to prevail as we have in the past,” Freeland and Carr said. “We are reviewing our options, including legal action through the North American Free Trade Agreement and the World Trade Organization, and we will not delay in taking action.”

The Canadian government said Carr will convene the Federal-Provincial Task Force on Softwood Lumber in the coming days to discuss developments.
Oct. 31, 2017 - Unifor National president Jerry Dias and U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross have agreed that addressing the core issue of low Mexican wages is the key to breaking the impasse at NAFTA renegotiations.

“There is a clear understanding that Canadian and American workers have both been injured by the siphoning off of manufacturing jobs to Mexico,” Dias said. “We agreed that Canada and the U.S. must work together to pressure Mexico to drive up wages significantly or face joint retaliatory measures.”

Unifor has previously called on both the Mexican government and on international corporations to end the exploitation of Mexican workers and create a level playing field for workers in all three countries. Dias and Ross believe that a united front is needed to raise Mexican living standards and forge a path to a new trade agreement.

Monday in Washington D.C., the Commerce Secretary acknowledged the benefits of trade with Canada, telling Dias that the U.S. wants to negotiate a new NAFTA deal.

During the meeting, the third between Dias and Ross, key trade issues were discussed including NAFTA, the auto sector and the unfair imposition of duties on Canadian softwood lumber exports to the U.S.

“We had a frank discussion but were unable to find common ground on the softwood lumber issue,” Dias said. “Given the wide difference in our positions I don’t anticipate a resolution to the dispute anytime soon.”

Unifor continues to maintain that all new trade deal must address the needs of workers and their communities.

For more information visit unifor.org/NAFTA.

Unifor is Canada’s largest union in the private sector, representing 315,000 workers in every major area of the economy. The union advocates for all working people and their rights, fights for equality and social justice in Canada and abroad, and strives to create progressive change for a better future.
Oct. 25, 2017 - Canadian lumber producers may still have a long wait ahead of them if they’re hoping for a peaceful resolution to the wearisome softwood lumber dispute that has been plaguing relations between Canadians and our neighbours to the south.

This, according to West Fraser Timber chief executive officer Ted Seraphim.

Seraphim spoke Tuesday morning in a conference call saying the U.S. Lumber Coalition’s actions to date are damaging to U.S. homebuilders and home buyers in the long run.

“I want to reiterate that at West Fraser our preference continues to be to find a durable long-term solution. And as such we are prepared to be patient,” he said. “I can’t stress enough the appreciation we have for the support of our provincial governments in B.C. and Alberta and the Canadian government that work tirelessly to find a solution to this dispute.”

The softwood lumber agreement between Canada and the U.S. expired in October 2015. In November 2016, the U.S. Lumber Coalition launched a petition asking the American government to impose duties on Canadian softwood lumber imports, citing unfair subsidies to American lumber producers. 

The U.S. Department of Commerce applied a 24 per cent countervailing duty on West Fraser in April 2017 — the highest of any other Canadian lumber producer affected. It also applied an antidumping duty of seven per cent in June 2017.

West Fraser has paid $65 million in duties so far in 2017. The countervailing duty requirement was suspended in August 2017 until the U.S. International Trade Commission comes to a final decision.

“The softwood lumber dispute has taken significant time and effort from many of our employees,” Seraphim said.

“The Coalition ultimately is the decision maker at least at this point in time in the U.S., and they haven’t shown a willingness to effectively negotiate,” he said. “I think patience on the Canadian side will be a virtue in the long run.”

West Fraser’s softwood lumber countervailing and anti-dumping duties cost the company $31 million for its current third quarter.

Its third quarter results also reported the company’s acquisition of six sawmills and a finger-joint mill in Florida and Georgia — all formerly part of Gilman Companies.
Oct. 17, 2017 - The forestry industry is poised for a strong future if governments and all stakeholders act now, Unifor wrote in a new policy publication.

"After painful restructuring over the last decade, we see many opportunities to rebuild and create jobs that benefit our communities and sustain the environment," said Unifor's national president Jerry Dias.

The Future of Forestry: A Workers Perspective for Successful, Sustainable and Just Forestry is a report from Unifor's Forestry Industry Council, representing Unifor's 24,000 forestry members. The full document can be accessed from unifor.org/resources

Given the challenges faced by unjustified U.S. tariffs on softwood lumber, this timely publication argues that making the right policy choices will boost the value of the forestry industry and create good jobs by taking advantage of innovative technologies, new forest management practices and increasing skills.

Following a rigorous and wide-ranging consultation among forestry workers in every region, Unifor's report highlights the opportunities and challenges facing the nation's third largest export industry.

Unifor's key forestry recommendations include:

  • Pursuing fair trade and higher global standards
  • Improving forest management to ensure sustainability at home and globally
  • Expanding public investments in forestry
  • Prioritizing reconciliation with Indigenous communities
  • Partnering with stakeholders to maximize job growth and skills development
  • Reinstating National Forestry Council
"Unifor has a strategy to build the forestry sector and create good, sustainable jobs. It's time for employers and governments to put a plan in to action," Dias said.

Unifor is Canada's largest union in the private sector, representing more than 315,000 workers in every major area of the economy. The union advocates for all working people and their rights, fights for equality and social justice in Canada and abroad, and strives to create progressive change for a better future.
Sept. 20, 2017 – President Trump’s campaign to put "America First" may be backfiring on him where the lumber industry is concerned.

Lumber prices have surged and costs have increased for American buyers, while Canadian producers are benefitting from a profit boost.

At a time when the U.S. is dealing with the aftermath of Hurricanes Harvey and Irma, higher lumber prices are making re-building even more challenging for Americans who have lost their homes.

The U.S. Department of Commerce added preliminary countervailing duties on Canadian softwood lumber imports heading to the U.S. in April 2017. They ranged from three to 24 per cent across Canadian lumber companies and further increased in June.

Tensions between Canada and the U.S. have escalated with this new development.

Read the full story by Bloomberg.
Sept. 15, 2017 - Canada's Minister of Natural Resources, Jim Carr, and his provincial counterparts today renewed their commitment to strongly support and defend the Canadian forest industry.
Sept. 14, 2017 - The federal government is calling for proposals for funding innovative, first-in-kind technologies that will transform Canada's forest industry and bioeconomy.
Aug. 9, 2017 - Leaders from the Northwestern Ontario Municipal Association (NOMA), the Federation of Northern Ontario Municipalities (FONOM) and the Rural Ontario Municipal Association (ROMA) are expressing deep concerns with the proposed Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry (MNRF) plans to post a draft Species at Risk (SAR) Guide to the Environmental Registry for 28 species.
Aug. 3, 2017 - The federal government has released its draft caribou protection and recovery plan and is now accepting written feedback. The public consultation period will close September 27. 
July 25, 2017 - B.C. Premier John Horgan is set to meet with U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross in Washington this week to discuss the softwood lumber issue.

Softwood lumber is B.C.'s largest export to the U.S. and Canadian forestry leaders say Horgan is playing an important role in working to resolve the dispute.

President and chief executive officer of the BC Council of Forest Industries Susan Yurkovich said Horgan is "very key on this file."

During his election campaign, Horgan promised to get involved in the softwood lumber dispute if elected.

Read the full story.
July 13, 2017 - In response to new polices that will significantly impact northern and rural Ontario, a coalition of Indigenous and municipal leaders, chambers of commerce, unions and the forest sector have come together to voice their concerns over a lack of meaningful consultation by the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry (MNRF).
July 5, 2017 - A researcher with C.D. Howe is recommending Canada move from a flat stumpage fee to an auction system and a tax in order to avoid future softwood lumber disputes with the U.S. 
Page 1 of 11

Subscription Centre

New Subscription
Already a Subscriber
Customer Service
View Digital Magazine Renew

Popular Articles