On March 31, 2003, Bill 28, Forestry Revitalization Act, passed 3rd Reading and received Royal Assent. This legislation forms part of the BC Government’s forestry revitalization plan, which is aimed at creating new forest sector opportunities, opening markets for BC forest products and ensuring sustainable forest practices.
The Forestry Revitalization Act contains three main contributions to the BC Government’s forestry revitalization plan.
First, under Section 2 of the Act, the annual allowable cuts of major licence holders are reduced by an amount set out in an attached schedule. In addition, section 2 provides for a 20% reduction in the area of Crown land in each timber licence.
The second aspect of the Act, which ties in with the 20% reduction of Crown land, is the reallocation of logging rights in those areas to other licence holders, under Section 3. The government aims to eventually make up to 45% of the province’s total harvest available through the open market.
Finally, Section 6 of the Act creates an entitlement for forest companies to be compensated for the reduction in allowable annual cuts. Disputes over the amount of compensation will be revolved by arbitration under the Commercial Arbitration Act. For the 2002-2003 fiscal year, the Minister of Forests is authorized to pay up to $200 million for the purposes of compensation.