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Repeal, not reform, forestry lien act: Law Commission of Ontario


December 3, 2013
By Pulp & Paper Canada

The Law Commission of Ontario (LCO) completed its final report in its review of the Forestry Workers Lien for Wages Act project and recommends repeal of the Act.

The Law Commission of Ontario (LCO) completed its final report in its review of the Forestry Workers Lien for Wages Act project and recommends repeal of the Act.

The Forestry Workers Lien for Wages Act was enacted in 1891 as a form of wage protection for loggers cutting timber in the northern Ontario bush. It provides loggers with a lien over the logs or timber they work on for the amount owing to them for their work. The Act remains essentially in original form while the logging industry and commercial environment have changed dramatically, LCO explains.

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The LCO began this project with the purpose of updating the Act to reflect modern logging practices. However, after extensive research and consultations with industry stakeholders and commercial law experts, it became apparent that not only the language and procedures of the Act were in issue, but also the ongoing suitability of a lien regime in the modern industry.

Although many loggers continue to bear financial risk due to industrial conditions, the LCO report finds that this risk is no longer comparable to the historical circumstances that the Act was designed to address. The Report concludes that the Act is commercially and legally obsolete and recommends that it be repealed.

“This is a case where reform just didn’t make sense,” says LCO Board Chair Bruce Elman. “The lien regime created by the Act is incompatible with the modern logging industry and modern commercial practice.”

The Law Commission of Ontario is funded by the Law Foundation of Ontario, the Ministry of the Attorney General, Osgoode Hall Law School and the Law Society of Upper Canada, and is also supported by Ontario’s law schools. It operates independently of government to recommend law reforms to enhance access to justice. 


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