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B.C. announces changes to help struggling forest-sector contractors

B.C. announces changes to help struggling forest-sector contractors
PROVINCE OF B.C. — Logs are corralled in Port Alice, B.C. The province recently announced changes to forest-sector regulations after reports found nearly half of all contractors were struggling to stay in business.

VICTORIA — Officials in B.C. have announced regulation changes to help struggling forest-sector contractors.

The province made amendments to the Timber Harvesting Contract and Subcontract Regulation to create transparency in contract negotiations and improve the dispute resolution process between forest tenure holders and the contractors they hire, including log harvesters, log haulers and roadbuilders, who hold replaceable contracts.

One change to the regulation requires licence holders to provide contractors with clearer work specifications to understand the full scope of work to negotiate their rates.

Replaceable contracts are a requirement of some tree farm licences and forest licences. They require licence holders to continue their contracts with contractors who are fulfilling their obligations.

“Our vision for a sustainable forest industry is focused on making sure everyone benefits from our public forests,” said Katrine Conroy, minister of forests, lands, natural resource operations and rural development, in a press release. “We want to make sure forestry contractors and subcontractors can better count on a stable income, support their families, invest in their businesses and communities, and stay competitive.”

The amendments went into effect June 10. They stem from a review of contractor sustainability started in 2017 and finished in 2020. The review revealed nearly half of forestry contractors were losing money or insolvent. Efforts to amend old regulations were championed by Dan Miller, a former B.C. premier, who facilitated the last phase of the review.

B.C. officials noted the amendments were part of a larger effort to modernize the forest sector.

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