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Reform of forestry act sought

The Law Commission of Ontario (LCO) today launched a public consultation for its project on the Modernization of the Forestry Workers Lien for Wages Act (the Act), the first stage of a project that will develop recommendations for changes to the Act.


October 1, 2012
By John Tenpenny

Under the Act, which is restricted in its application to Northern Ontario and the County of Haliburton, forestry workers are entitled to claim a lien for wages on certain wood products. Since its enactment, the forestry industry has changed significantly, yet the Act’s terminology and procedures remain cast in 1891. Its frame of reference and procedural mechanisms can fairly be described as antiquated. The outdated drafting of the Act frustrates workers’ attempts to protect their interests since complex and costly litigation is required to interpret the Act in contemporary circumstances.

“Recent cases have shown that the Act does not reflect modern logging practices or legal processes,” said the Executive Director of the LCO, Dr. Patricia Hughes, “and if it is to fulfill its purpose of protecting workers in the logging industry, reform is essential.”

The Consultation Paper outlines a number of problems with the Act, sets out issues for consideration, and asks a series of questions about those issues. Written submissions on the Consultation Paper will be accepted until December 14, 2012. The Paper also explains how people may provide feedback in more informal ways.

Launched in September 2007, the LCO is funded by the Law Foundation of Ontario, the Ministry of the Attorney General, Osgoode Hall Law School and the Law Society of Upper Canada and supporteåd by the law deans of the other Ontario law schools. It operates independently of government to recommend reforms to enhance access to justice.

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Click here to view the Consultation Paper.