BC defers stumpage fees for three months to aid forest sector
By P&PC Staff
By P&PC Staff
The British Columbia government is deferring stumpage fees for three months in response to the COVID-19 crisis.
The deferral with interest is available to Tree Farm Licence, Replaceable Forest Licence and First Nations’ Woodlands Licence holders who are in good financial standing with the province.
They also must be following through on their reforesting obligations.
The province says the deferral will leave eligible companies with an estimated $80 million so they can pay employees, pay contractors and pay other bills needed to keep their doors open or reopen them faster.
Stumpage is the fee operators pay the province to harvest, buy or sell trees from Crown land, calculated every three months. In B.C, it’s based on volume of timber, species and grade.
“The deferral of stumpage fees is an important short-term measure to help alleviate some of the unprecedented financial pressure brought on by the COVID-19 crisis,” says Susan Yurkovich, president and CEO, Council of Forest Industries.
“It will help B.C.’s forest companies put people back to work in communities as markets come back and we move towards economic recovery.”
Other measures in place
Major industries, like pulp and paper mills and mines, will also have the opportunity to defer 50 per cent of their BC Hydro bill payments for three months.
Ravi Kahlon, parliamentary secretary for the ministry of forests, lands, natural resource operations and rural development, says that the $69 million fund announced last fall to support the province’s forest workers affected by mill closures and shift reductions in several B.C. Interior communities included new supports for services.
This includes training, work placement and early retirement. It also includes community support grants for communities that have been hit by a mill closure or curtailment.
The government also issued a $1,000 boost to any employee eligible for employment insurance (EI) or the new federal emergency benefits for those who don’t qualify for EI.