QUEEN’S PARK – “Today’s proposed legislation aims to re-energize how Ontario’s forest sector does business in the coming decades, so that this very important industry continues to create jobs and benefits for communities across our province,” states Michael Gravelle, the Minister of Northern Development, Mines and Forestry. The Ontario government is working toward re-energizing the forest sector. The stated goal is “to create new jobs and attract investment while ensuring forests continue to be managed sustainably”.
The proposed Ontario Forest Tenure Modernization Act was introduced today. If passed, the act would change the forest tenure system and allow for greater market forces in the allocation and pricing of Crown timber. The proposed legislation would maintain the government’s existing authority to manage this critical public resource, while bringing more competition and opportunity to the forest sector. This includes providing support for two new forest management models:
Local Forest Management Corporations would be government agencies that manage Crown forests and oversee the competitive sale of the timber in a given area.
Enhanced Shareholder Sustainable Forest Licences would consist of a group of mills and/or harvesters that collectively form a new company to manage Crown forests under the Sustainable Forest Licence that is issued to them.
These two new models would help make Ontario’s timber supply and prices more responsive to market demand, create new business opportunities for entrepreneurs, and facilitate greater local and Aboriginal participation in the sector.