New legislation regarding timber harvesting rights worries BC forestry companies
By Ellen Cools
On April 1, the B.C. government announced Bill 22, the Forest Amendment Act, which, if passed, stipulates that all forestry companies receive approval from the forestry minister before transferring tenure agreements to another party. This means the minister is able to refuse a new arrangement, or put conditions on it, if it’s not in the public interest.
According to the Vancouver Sun, Bill 22 has now passed second reading and is in the committee stage. B.C. Forestry Minister Doug Donaldson said he has spoken to many small operators who are interested in purchasing a timber tenure, and that this will result in further diversity in the industry.
The Vancouver Sun reports that one of the goals of the amended Forest Act is to make sure changes of control don’t lead to further concentration of harvesting rights.
West Fraser CEO Ted Seraphim voiced concerns about the bill in a recent conference call on the company’s Q1 2019 earnings.
“There are a lot of uncertainties about what it would take to get a transaction approved…I think it puts the whole B.C. industry on pause right now,” Seraphim told investors on April 26.
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