Tree Frog Forestry News

Region Archives: Canada

Business & Politics

Canada’s forest sector applauds investments in skills and innovation

Forest Products Association of Canada
March 19, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada

Forest Products Association of Canada (FPAC) applauds the federal government’s commitment to skills development and innovation in Canada’s forest products sector. Today’s budget commits more than $250M in funding to bolster Canada’s forest products industry, which employs more than 230,000 Canadians. “Today the government signaled that it recognizes and supports the transformation taking place in Canada’s forestry communities, noted Derek Nighbor, FPAC’s President and CEO. “Substantial investments dedicated to accelerating research and development, improving market access, and advancing product innovations demonstrate that the government understands where our industry is heading. We look forward to continuing our work with the federal government on these priorities for forestry workers and their families across Canada.”

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2019 Federal Budget Supports Forestry Innovation, New Products and Markets

FPInnovations
March 20, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada

Montreal – FPInnovations’ President and CEO Stéphane Renou, today welcomed Finance Minister Bill Morneau’s commitment to continue investing in the competitiveness of the Canadian forest industry by allocating $251.3-million over three years beginning in 2020-21 to encourage the forest sector to continue growing and develop new technologies. In his budget, Minister Morneau announced that the funds will extend existing innovation, markets, and product diversification programs. More specifically, Minister Morneau announced $91.8-million for the Forest Innovation Program covering the same time frame.

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Western Canadian resource sectors a federal budget focus

By Warren Frey
The Daily Commercial News
March 19, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada

OTTAWA – While pharmacare, housing and skills training took top billing, the 2019 federal budget also focused on western Canadian resource development and the move to a green economy. …The budget proposes an investment of $251.3 million over three years to NRCan starting in 2020-2021 to extend existing innovation and diversification programs for the forestry sector. The investments would include up to $91.8 million over three years for the Forest Innovation Program supporting pre-commercial research and development and up to $82.9 million for the Investments in Forest Industry Transformation program, to support industrial commercialization and innovation in technology and processes. Up to $64 million is proposed for the Expanding Market Opportunities program, which is designed to increase and diversify market opportunity for Canadian forest products in offshore markets and expand wood use in non-residential and mid-rise construction within and outside of Canada. A total of $12.6 million would go to the Indigenous Forestry Initiative which supports forest-based economic development.

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Global softwood lumber trade fell 7% in 2018, US lumber prices took a roller coaster ride and China’s wood demand slowed in the 2H/18

By Hakan Ekstrom
Wood Resources International LLC
March 19, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, United States

In 2018, global trade of lumber fell for the first time in five years, with total trade down 7% year-over-year. The four largest importing countries, the US (-18%), China (-5%), the United Kingdom (-13%) and Japan (-6%) all imported less in 2018 than in the previous year. Much of the decline was the result of weaker economic prospects and reduced housing starts. US lumber prices have gone through a historical roller-coaster ride over the past 12 months. Random Lengths’ composite index for southern yellow pine was at $420/m3 in January 2018, peaked at $554/m3 in June and fell to $372/m3 in January 2019. 2018 softwood lumber exports from Canada were down 5% from 2017, with the biggest decline being in shipments to China. A three-year high of 80% of total exports were destined for the US market in the 3Q/18 despite efforts by Canada’s lumber industry to diversify its export shipments. China’s share has fallen from 13% in 2017 to 12% in 2018. The average export price from Canada declined by 28% this fall.

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Random Lengths Lumber and Panel Market Report

Random Lengths
March 15, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, United States

Framing lumber trading developed a stronger pulse for those serving markets graced with warmer and drier weather. …Structural panel prices shifted mildly amid measured trading. Price trends were mixed in OSB. …For the first time in years, harsh winter weather has slowed consumption of wood products across the vast majority of Canada and the U.S. With the official start of spring slated for next week, traders are openly wondering whether pent-up demand will lead to a surge of business. …North American lumber production edged up 0.8% in 2018 to 62.3 billion board feet, with U.S. output driving the uptick. U.S. production of 34.9 bbf represented a 3.3% increase over 2017. Canadian production fell 2.3% to 27.4 bbf. …Trader’s Notebook: Last year’s record price volatility and anomalous trends will remain fresh in softwood lumber traders’ minds as they assess second-quarter prospects.

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Amendments for Pinnacle Pellet focus of March 28 open house

By Greg Sabatino
Williams Lake Tribune
March 20, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

An application for a permit amendment for Pinnacle Pellet will be the subject of an upcoming open house in Williams Lake. Rose Loerke, project leader at Pinnacle Renewable Energy Inc., is inviting the community to the event coming up March 28 …to share details of proposed upgrades to the Williams Lake plant, listen to members of the community and to have questions answered. “We’re looking at proposing an upgrade to the Williams Lake facility to improve our flexibility to process a variety of different fibre,” Loerke said. “We are requesting to add another dryer so we have the ability to process that fibre. Right now we’re a little bit constrained.” When asked if the upgrade would impact air quality, Loerke said that is a hard question to answer because the air dispersion modeling doesn’t take into consideration the amount of bush residuals which will be used by Pinnacle Pellet rather than burned in the cutblocks.

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What B.C. municipalities can learn from reconciliation on Haida Gwaii

By Justin McElroy
CBC News
March 20, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

Kris Olsen

On Haida Gwaii, signs of reconciliation can be as small as the Indigenous artwork seen on [Queen Charlotte Village Mayor] Kris Olsen’s eyepatch. …It was nine years ago that its name changed under the Haida Gwaii Reconciliation Act, capping off a series of agreements and pieces of legislation that made reconciliation a political part of life, well before the vast majority of B.C.  …the biggest piece of advice Olsen and other local politicians have is the work of reconciliation continues long after the ceremonies are scheduled and the framework put in place. …Jaalen Edenshaw was the lead carver of the Gwaii Haanas Legacy Pole… He believes one of the biggest steps taken by local governments was by Port Clements in 2004, when it took intervenor status on a forestry-related lawsuit that established guidelines around consulting Indgenous communities before developing or exploiting lands. 

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Premier retreats from stand on Catalyst pension

By Les Leyne
The Times-Colonist
March 20, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

Premier John Horgan celebrated the sale of Catalyst Paper this week at the Crofton mill, but the government quietly retreated from a stand it took last summer to protect pensioners, in order to see the deal concluded. …The company was selling U.S. assets at the time, and the fear was it would break up B.C. operations and sell them piecemeal. In response, the government drafted a quick amendment to the pension regulations… required that if any or all of the three coastal mills… were sold or closed, the company would have to fund its outstanding pension obligations “immediately.” …But the pension shortfall remains outstanding, because the deal was exempted from the July regulation. …The premier’s office said Tuesday that Paper Excellence has unconditionally guaranteed the pensions. Catalyst will continue to make pension payments, and Paper Excellence has guaranteed it will step in if Catalyst is unable.

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Premier on hand as Paper Excellence finalizes Catalyst Paper purchase

BC Local News
March 18, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

The addition of Catalyst Paper to the company puts the “paper” in Paper Excellence Canada, said PEP CEO Brian Baarda. Baarda was joined by B.C. Premier John Horgan, North Cowichan Mayor Al Siebring, MLA Doug Routley… to celebrate the completion of the deal that adds Catalyst Paper’s Crofton mill, as well as its two mills in Port Alberni and Powell River, to PEC’s’s assets. Horgan said… “Last year, we stepped up to protect pensions for Catalyst employees and stood up against unfair U.S. trade tariffs because when forestry is successful, B.C. is successful,” Horgan said. …The B.C.-based Paper Excellence, which had five operating mills in Canada and two mills in France before its acquisition of Catalyst Paper and its three mills, has quickly grown to be one of the largest pulp producers in North America.

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Paper Excellence finalizes deal to acquire Crofton’s Catalyst Paper

By Robert Barron
Cowichan Valley Citizen
March 18, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

The addition of Catalyst Paper to the company puts the “paper” in Paper Excellence Canada, said PEP CEO Brian Baarda. Baarda was joined by B.C. Premier John Horgan, North Cowichan Mayor Al Siebring, MLA Doug Routley and other dignitaries and company officials …to celebrate the completion of the deal that adds Catalyst Paper’s Crofton mill, as well as its two mills in Port Alberni and Powell River, to PEC’s’s assets. …Baarda said the acquisition of Catalyst is a continued step towards PEC’s long-term growth plan within Canada’s pulp and paper industry and clearly demonstrates its commitment to B.C. “Together, these combined operations will improve efficiency and sustainability in the forest industry in B.C. and Canada,” he said. “We also look forward to being an integral part of the community here in Crofton and the Cowichan Valley, as well as in Port Alberni and Powell River…”

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Interfor Publishes 2018 Corporate Sustainability Report

Interfor Corporation
March 18, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

INTERFOR CORPORATION—announced today that it has published its 2018 corporate sustainability report; it can be viewed online. The report highlights Interfor’s continuing commitment to making quality lumber products, managing forests sustainably, providing meaningful and safe jobs for employees, investing in its facilities, operating to strict environmental parameters and supporting local and First Nations communities. In addition, a new chapter was added on climate change to highlight the work done by the Company to mitigate environmental impacts and promote the environmental benefits of building with wood.

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Done deal – Paper Excellence owns Catalyst

By Nelson Bennett
Business in Vancouver
March 18, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

Richmond based Paper Excellence now owns three pulp and paper mills owned by Catalyst Paper. The formal transfer of ownership was marked Monday March 18 in Crofton, where one of the three Catalyst mills is located. The acquisition also includes Catalyst’s distribution centre in Surrey, and mills in Port Alberni and Powell River. Paper Excellence has not divulged how much it paid to acquire Catalyst, which has struggled financially for a decade, thanks in part of declining demand for newsprint and other paper products in the digital age. Catalyst, previously a publicly traded company, nearly went bankrupt in 2012, when it sought creditor protection, and emerged from that experience as a private company. …Catalyst employs 1,600 workers in B.C. and is Crofton’s largest employer, so the mill’s closure would be a major blow to to the community.

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Construction to start in a few weeks on Kalesnikoff’s $35 million project

By Betsy Kline
The Castlegar News
March 16, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

Construction is set to begin in just a few weeks on Kalesnikoff Lumber’s new $35 million project. The company is expanding into mass timber manufacturing and they say the new venture will be North America’s most advanced, fully integrated, multi-species mass timber manufacturing facility. The business expansion will create 50 full-time, technology-centered local jobs. “We are excited to grow from 150 to 200 employees and really re-invest back in the community,” said Kalesnikoff’s CEO Chris Kalesnikoff. …One of the products the facility will produce is glulam beams, which are laminated structural lumber. The other is cross-laminated timber, essentially large engineered wood panels. The facility will be able to produce panels that are up to 60 feet in length. …The building should be complete by September, with glulam production starting by the end of the year and cross laminated timber production starting by spring of 2020.

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Budget 2019 Good For Northwestern Ontario – MP Rusnak

Net News Ledger
March 19, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada East, Canada

Don Rusnak

OTTAWA – “The 2019 Federal Budget is good news for Northwestern Ontario”, according to Don Rusnak, Member of Parliament for Thunder Bay-Rainy River. …Rusnak also highlighted Budget 2019’s commitment to supporting Northwestern Ontario farmers and forestry workers. …For forestry workers, they will be helped by the investment of $251.3 million over 3 years to support existing forestry innovation and diversification programs, including the Forest Innovation Fund and the Indigenous Forestry Initiative. Rusnak believes both these investments are critical for the growth of two of Northwestern Ontario’s most important economic sectors.

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As Ontario 50 Million Tree Program approaches the halfway mark, the economic benefits are reported

Forests Ontario
March 20, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada East, Canada

Rob Keen and Peter Emon

Today, Forests Ontario released The Economic Value of Tree Planting in Southern Ontario, a new report by Guelph-based consulting firm Green Analytics.  Committed to re-greening Ontario through tree planting, education and awareness efforts, Forests Ontario is the not-for-profit charity that delivers the Government of Ontario’s 50 Million Tree Program (50MTP). At the Ontario Legislature, Rob Keen, Registered Professional Forester and Forests Ontario CEO along with Peter Emon, long standing County of Renfrew Councilor and Reeve of Renfrew, described how the province has benefited from ten planting seasons of the 50MTP. Since 2008, the Program has facilitated the planting of more than 24 million trees over 14,800 hectares, an area equivalent to one-quarter the size of Lake Simcoe. These plantings sequester 19,000 tonnes of carbon each year – the same amount of carbon emitted from driving more than 80 million kilometres.

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Combo heat and power plant proposed for Thunder Bay generating station

By Gary Rinne
The Thunder Bay News Watch
March 19, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada East, Canada

THUNDER BAY — A group of Thunder Bay residents believes the shuttered Ontario Power Generation plant on Mission Island holds the potential to generate hundreds of new jobs. The members of the volunteer group have developed a plan to repurpose the station as a combined heat and power plant, creating spinoff jobs in greenhouse operations and the manufacturing of residential and industrial wood pellets. …McLeod’s group, however, feels… “The proposal is for a combined heat and power station that would be central to supporting a bio reactor, bio refinery, merchandising yard, greenhouses for locally grown food, [Resolute] paper and kraft mill, Confederation College’s education biomass program, city sewer, city recycle and city water facility while enhancing and supporting the forest industry to produce biomass white (residential) and black advanced (industrial) wood pellets”.

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Rickford says Fort Frances mill remains ‘viable’

By Gary Rinne
The Thunder Bay News Watch
March 19, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada East, Canada

Greg Rickford

FORT FRANCES, ON — The MPP for Kenora-Rainy River, Greg Rickford, says he feels there’s still a chance to re-start the Fort Frances pulp and paper mill under new ownership. Rickford posted his reaction on social media Monday, after Resolute Forest Products announced it had rejected a bid by Repap Resources to buy the idled mill. Resolute stated that Repap’s proposal fell short of what was needed: They failed to provide the required financial deposit, did not mark up the asset purchase agreement, did not address our key requirement to perform environmental remediation, and did not produce sufficient, committed financing to move forward. In addition, their refusal to agree to treat Resolute’s information on a confidential basis prevented them from accessing sufficient information to inform their bid and put forward a responsive offer.

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Disappointed but not surprised, Fort Frances councillor says of rejected mill bid

By Matt Prokopchuk
CBC News
March 19, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada East, Canada

Local and provincial politicians say they’re disappointed that a deal that promised to reopen the shuttered paper mill in Fort Frances, Ont., fell through and that the company that owns the site appears to be focussed on demolishing the plant. Resolute Forest Products informed municipal leaders in Fort Frances on Monday that it rejected a bid submitted by Repap Resources Group. Repap had said it would reopen the mill, which has been idle since 2014, if it could acquire it, and said between 600 and 700 jobs would be created. …”We’re not necessarily surprised by this outcome — Resolute has certainly reflected a disinclination … to sell the property to a buyer that would operate it,” Coun. Douglas Judson told CBC News. 

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Fort Frances Profoundly Disappointed by Resolute Forest Products

By the Town of Fort Frances
The Net News Ledger
March 19, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada East, Canada

FORT FRANCES – The Town of Fort Frances is profoundly disappointed and disillusioned by the announcement yesterday by Resolute that they will not entertain the offer to Rainy River Packaging Inc. (formerly Repap LLC). We remain committed to attempting to transition the mill to an operational entity and will work with all parties toward that goal. We have met with Rainy River Packaging Inc. and Minister Rickford and will reach out to both the potential buyer and to Resolute to enter into discussions to continue our mission to broker a deal. …The Town is preparing for all eventualities for the future of the mill property but continues to work toward an operational future for this key economic asset.

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Province favours Fort Frances mill reopening

By Ian Ross
Northern Ontario Business
March 18, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada East, Canada

Provincial cabinet minister Greg Rickford has thrown his support behind the reopening of the former Fort Frances pulp and paper mill under potential new ownership. Rickford, Ontario’s energy and Northern development and mines minister, is backing the Town of Fort Frances’ efforts to gain control of local wood rights from Resolute Forest Products and save the mill buildings from demolition. “We will work with any successful bidder on securing wood supply for the Fort Frances facility,” said Rickford in a statement released one day before Resolute’s March 15 deadline to take bids on the property. “I stand behind the people of Fort Frances, and I am very focused on seeing this important asset reopen, and bring good jobs back to northwestern Ontario.” …The town’s efforts to save the mill and encourage a new operator has drawn support from other communities, First Nations leadership, business groups and organized labour. 

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Resolute rejects Repap Resources’ bid for Fort Frances mill, says it will proceed with redevelopment

By Matt Prokopchuk
CBC News
March 18, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada East, Canada

Resolute Forest Products has rejected a bid from a private investment group interested in purchasing the shuttered paper mill in Fort Frances, Ont., and says it will turn its attention to redeveloping the site. That was communicated in a letter sent by the forestry giant to Fort Frances mayor June Caul on Monday. Repap Resources Group said on Friday that it had submitted a “multi-million dollar” offer to purchase the mill and its assets. Resolute closed the plant in 2014; the company said Repap’s offer “fell short on multiple fronts.” Resolute had already signed an agreement with a company that specializes in redeveloping industrial sites in January, according to the letter to the town from Resolute president and chief executive officer Yves Laflamme, but entertained interest from other parties, including Repap. Laflamme’s letter said that Repap was the only party to actually submit a bid.

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Wood, Paper & Green Building

Québec City to host Woodrise 2019, an international congress on mid- and high-rise wood buildings

Cision Newswire
March 19, 2019
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: Canada

QUÉBEC – The Québec City Convention Centre, in collaboration with the City of Québec, is pleased to announce that the second World Congress on Mid- and High-rise Wood Buildings will be held in Québec City in the fall of 2019. From September 30 to October 4, Woodrise 2019 will bring together wood construction stakeholders, decision-makers, and professionals to share their knowledge and strengths in order to position wood as a leading construction material for tomorrow’s sustainable cities. …The event is expected to attract over 1,000 international attendees, including some 20 delegations. …The theme for Woodrise 2019 is “Building our cities for future generations” and has been jointly organized by FPInnovations and Institut technologique FCBA (France). 

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Langley home of the Fraser Valley’s first ever residential Mass Timber development

By Peter Meiszner
Urban YVR
March 19, 2019
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: Canada, Canada West

Langley is set to become the home of the Fraser Valley’s first ever residential mass timber development. Legacy on Park Avenue is the first six storey mid-rise project in the Fraser Valley that uses mass timber in the form of Cross Laminated Timber. The Canadian Wood Council has confirmed this is also the very first application in Canada for a CLT Firewall. The project at 204 St. and Park Avenue includes 69 two and three-bedroom condominiums. Construction is underway with completion slated for July 2020. Built by MDM Construction, the project showcases a unique architectural design made possible by the CLT panels… curved balconies.

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The Home Front: Building materials designed with efficiency in mind

By Rebecca Keillor
Vancouver Sun
March 16, 2019
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: Canada, Canada West

We hear a lot about different prefabricated homes these days …all designed to make the building process easier, faster and more efficient. It makes sense then that we’re hearing more about prefabricated building materials that are designed to do the same, such as cross-laminated timber or CLT — mass-produced sheets made from a mix of wood (like spruce, pine and fir) and mixed with polyurethane. “Because our process is very digitized, we can do a lot of prefabrication with our robotic equipment in our factory,”  says Hardy Wentzel, CEO of Penticton-based Structurlam Mass Timber Corporation. “So when it gets delivered to a construction site, you’re actually assembling things; you’re not actually having to build things.” …At this stage, CLT is seen as more of a substitute for concrete and steel than wood stick framing, says Bryn Davidson, designer and co-owner of Vancouver’s Lanefab Design/Build.

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Forestry

Squamish councillor remembers Ethiopian Airlines crash victim

By Steven Chua
The Squamish Chief
March 18, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada

Peter deMarsh

A local councillor is paying tribute to a victim of the Ethiopian Airlines crash who he said had an influence on Squamish’s forestry sector. Peter deMarsh, of New Brunswick, died in the Boeing 737 Max crash in Ethiopia on March 10, along with the 156 others aboard the plane. Coun. Eric Andersen said that he knew deMarsh, who was a lifelong advocate of the Canadian forest sector and woodlot owners. “This guy’s achieved so much in organizing people from the grassroots through goodwill,” he said. Andersen said that deMarsh’s advocacy for small-time woodlot owners in New Brunswick served as a blueprint for many communities across Canada, including Squamish. “It has been an inspiration well beyond Eastern Canada,” said Andersen.

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Forests and Education—Learn to Love Forests!

By Melina Bellows, Chief Education Officer
Sustainable Forestry Initiative
March 18, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, United States

…In my new role as Chief Education Officer at Sustainable Forestry Initiative, I’m particularly excited about the first day of spring this year. In 2012, the United Nations General Assembly declared March 21 as International Day of Forests. Each year, various events celebrate and raise awareness of the importance of all types of forests, including trees in cities (our urban forests), for the benefit of current and future generations. The the me for 2019 International Day of Forests is Forests and Education. The significance of this is near and dear to the heart of the Sustainable Forestry Initiative. As a sustainability organization focused on the future of forests, SFI works in many ways, across all sectors and with all kinds of stakeholders, to manage and support sustainable forests.

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Canada’s forests are thriving

Letter by Derek Nighbor, President, Forest Products Association of Canada
The Star Phoenix
March 18, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada

Derek Nighbor

Re: U.S. plush toilet paper use wiping out Canada’s forests, flushing away the future: report (NP, Feb. 26). On behalf of Canada’s forest sector, I am responding to false statements made in the story on toilet paper use in America and the impact on forests. The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) report used words like “devastating” to describe how American toilet paper use is affecting Canada’s forests. Nothing could be further from the truth. Canada plants over 615 million trees annually and has professional foresters who manage our forests to ensure wildlife, biodiversity and water protection. It is concerning that NRDC suggests alternative sources that are more carbon intensive or sourced from countries with lower forest management, labour and human rights standards. …Canada’s approach to forest management brings environmental, social, and economic benefits to our country. We plan to keep it that way.

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How Widespread Logging in Canada is Escaping Scrutiny

By Courtenay Lewis
Natural Resource Defense Council
March 18, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada

Addressing the threat of climate change is a significant concern for Americans and Canadians, and climate scientists have stressed that protecting global forests is as urgent as stopping fossil fuel use. …Moreover, Canada’s curated image as a model of sustainable forestry is undercut by the evidence that the country’s ongoing loss of intact forest landscapes is only exceeded by Russia and Brazil. Yet Canada’s forest degradation has largely managed to fly under the radar of international scrutiny. One key reason is because Canada asserts that its logged forests are regenerated. The government states, “A forest that has been harvested is still a forest.” Canada’s talking points on regeneration mirror those of powerful industry groups, who have long stated that 100 percent of harvested forests are regrown.

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Wildfire firefighting workshop offered for Kamloops high school students

InfoTel News
March 19, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

KAMLOOPS – Kamloops high school students have a chance to get wildfire firefighter training next month. The Kamloops Thompson School District and B.C. Wildfire Service are asking interested high school students to sign up for the new Junior Fire Crew workshop, according to a school district media release. The three-day workshop is a hands-on learning experience designed to give students an idea of what to expect if they want to join wildfire crews as a summer job. Though no actual fire will be involved in the workshop, other aspects like using firefighting gear and spending time outdoors will be covered, the district says. …“Working on a fire crew during the summer season is a viable way to pay for university,” vice principal Rob Weilgoz says in the release.

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B.C. wildfire prevention budget bulked up as dry spring unfolds

By Tom Fletcher
BC Local News
March 20, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

The B.C. government has increased its base budget for wildfire response to more than $100 million, including new technology for responding quickly when fires start. The provincial government increased its base budget 58 per cent for this year, after two record fire seasons in a row and continued calls for increased prevention efforts in interface areas around communities. Preparations begin as a cold winter recedes, potentially creating dry spring conditions. The base budget is an arbitrary amount, with the actual spending in severe wildfire seasons going as high as $400 million. In the record fire seasons of 2017 and 2018, the total topped $600 million as crews and equipment were called in from as far away as Australia. This year’s base budget includes an additional $50 million community resiliency program to help local governments and Indigenous communities lower the wildfire risk around communities. 

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Sandy Hook residents raise new concerns about logging

By Sean Eckford
Sunshine Coast Reporter
March 19, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

Some residents of Sandy Hook whose homes border an area being logged as a private managed forest say the logging, which started more than a year ago and is mostly complete, is putting their neighbourhood at risk. The residents first went public with their complaints about Managed Forest 503… last January. The property is owned through a numbered company, 0990199 B.C. Ltd., that lists Kin Kwok Chung of Anmore as a director. In a Feb. 13 letter to Environment Minister George Heyman, resident and Sandy Hook Community Association (SHCA) treasurer Cris Rowan outlined three main complaints. …The District of Sechelt responded to the 2018 complaints with a statement that said while it shared “the concerns of our Sandy Hook citizens,” it “no longer has any authority in this matter and all control over the land falls with the Private Managed Forest Council.” 

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Wildfire officials brace for Okanagan fire season

By Jules Knox
Global News
March 19, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

Wildfire officials are gearing up for the fire season in the Okanagan. “We’re on alert for the entire province,” Forests Minister Doug Donaldson said during a press conference in Kamloops. “The behaviour of the fires these last two seasons has been much more aggressive than what we’ve seen before,” he added. Widespread flames in 2017 and 2018 prompted back-to-back provincial states of emergency for the first time in B.C.’s history. Now, there’s concern over this year’s relatively low snowpack in the Okanagan. …“For at least 50 years, the effort has been that fires are bad, we need to put them out because they damage resources as well as threaten communities,” said Mike Larock with the Association of B.C. Forest Professionals. However, Larock said this approach has caused forest fuels to increase and coupled with climate change, it’s led to ferocious fires that have in some places ripped through communities.

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B.C. prepares for wildfire season as residents urged to protect property

The Canadian Press in the Times-Colonist
March 19, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

Doug Donaldson

KAMLOOPS, B.C. — British Columbia’s forests minister says the province is preparing for the wildfire season with some new strategies and people living near forested areas should also do their part by safeguarding property against potential blazes. Doug Donaldson says a $101-million budget, up from $64 million last year, will allow for a more comprehensive prescribed burning program and new technology including night vision goggles to help with early detection of fires will be piloted this summer. He says firefighters will also have more access to computers and iPads in the field and drones will assist with fire mapping and infrared scanning. Donaldson says a program established last September is expected to fund fuel management work on Crown and private land by helping local governments and First Nations lower wildfire risks.

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Tsawout councillor visits Saturna to meet logging protestors

By Nick Murray
BC Local News
March 18, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

Mavis Underwood, a respected councillor from the Tsawout First Nation has travelled to Saturna Island to talk to three community members who are disrupting logging operations there, amid an acrimonious land-use dispute. The Tsawout First Nation has 955 registered members, with more than half living on a small reserve near Central Saanich. Part of Saturna Island is reserve land where members can exercise their traditional practices of hunting, fishing and collecting medicinal plants. Underwood is an elected Tsawout Councillor and she acknowledges that poor communication about the logging plan has led to unhappiness in some quarters. “Some people have good reason to be concerned,” she says. “In hindsight, communication hasn’t been the best and we should have done better.”

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Forests in Horsefly watershed targeted for harvest

By Bruce MacLeod
The Williams Lake Tribune
March 18, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

On April 15, 2010 John Youds and Rob Doligan, who were representing the Ministry of the Environment, presented a 33-page outline to the Horsefly River Roundtable regarding why the Horsefly River watershed should be declared a “Fisheries Sensitive Watershed,” which made a whole lot of sense to those of us who were present. …Since that time it seems the logging industry has been putting a concerted effort to harvest the area’s trees before the designation comes into effect in the summer of 2020. …The Horsefly sockeye run was once considered the largest in B.C., supplying over 50 per cent of the sockeye caught by fishers in the province. …There doesn’t seem to be any sense to the Ministry of Forest’s logging plan, if in fact there is one at all.

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Training underway as Alberta’s wildfire season starts

CBC News
March 17, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

Mike Flannigan

There may still be snow on the ground — but Alberta’s wildfire season has already started. Mike Flannigan, professor of wildland fire at the University of Alberta and director of the Western Partnership for Wildland Fire Science, said there’s the possibility of wildfires in March, and the season has already started. …”May is our busiest fire month. For the rest of the country it’s June or July, with the exception of B.C., which is August,” said Flannigan. The Polar Vortex may have caused the coldest winter in Calgary in 40 years, but that will do little in the way of preventing wildfires this summer, he said. …He said 495 crew members will be prepared for this spring. Trainees learn to battle wildfires with formal classwork, mock field work and a lot of physical exercise.

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Wolf cull is no caribou solution

By Bryce Casavant
The Times-Colonist
March 17, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

I recognize that this is a difficult time for debates on caribou-recovery options, especially predator controls such as wolf culls and organized predator bounties. However, this does not mean we invent science to support age-old predator rhetoric. Robert Serrouya… made several concerning comments regarding the viability of killing wolves to save caribou. …These conclusions… are at best an attempt to rationalize a century-old management practice of “killing to conserve.” …First, and most important, the study did not receive any ethics approval. …Second, the proximate cause of caribou population decline is identified as “predator” (largely wolf) while habitat loss is identified as the ultimate cause of decline. …Third, the B.C. government in the past 12 months has approved more than 80 logging cut blocks located, in part, within critical caribou habitat.

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Can Ontario’s Endangered Wildlife Survive Doug Ford?

By Reykia Fick, Greenpeace Forest campaigner
The Huff
March 19, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada East, Canada

Humanity has caused populations of mammals, birds, fish and reptiles to decline by 60 per cent since 1970. …Here in Ontario, Premier Doug Ford… is preparing to change the province’s Endangered Species Act, the legislation created to protect our most at-risk plants and animals. But Ford’s review doesn’t have a goal to reverse the startling drop in Ontario’s animal and plant species, or to better enforce the law. Instead, the review’s discussion paper describes the supposed inconvenience of the legislation itself, stating that “authorization processes can create significant administrative burdens and delays.” …Specific logging and other industrial projects have enjoyed sweeping exemptions from the ESA’s strict requirements since 2013. …Yet rather than close loopholes for big businesses, Ford looks to be preparing to further weaken the rules for industry.

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Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy

Canadian biomass delegation seeking Swedish export partners

Northern Ontario Business
March 18, 2019
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: Canada East, Canada

A Canadian delegation of innovators in the biomass market will search out new export partners during a trip to Sweden this April. Biomass North Development Centre, based in North Bay, will lead the envoy, which will first attend the World Bio Markets forum in Amsterdam, April 1-3. This year’s conference is focused on the theme Commercializing the Bio-Based Value Chain. The delegation will continue on to Stockholm, Sweden, to participate in business-to-business meetings with potential export partners on April 4, followed by a day of site tours on April 5. “We are eager to bring Canadian innovation to the global market,” said Dawn Lambe, executive director of Biomass North Development Centre, in a March 18 news release.

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Health & Safety

Wood stoves largest contributor to air quality issues in Houston

Houston Today
March 20, 2019
Category: Health & Safety
Region: Canada, Canada West

Wood stoves are the largest contributor to air quality issues in Houston, according to the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Strategy. …A Wood Stove Exchange Program introduced in Houston last year offered residents a rebate if they swapped their wood-burning stove for a more energy-efficient appliance, but the program had no usage, said Gerald Pinchbeck, Houston’s chief administrative officer. …The ministry said Canfor and its pellet plant, which is run in partnership with Pinnacle Renewable Energy, are “generally in compliance” with their permit, which sets out limits for emissions. …Michelle Ward, a spokesperson for Canfor, said their Houston mill passed both inspections conducted by the ministry in 2018 with no deficiencies. …When asked if the curtailment of mill operations is advised during air quality advisories, the ministry said not necessarily, as curtailment can sometimes lead to increased emissions.

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