We’re fortunate to have an abundance of trees with 87 million acres of public forests in Alberta. Alberta’s forest sector is a critical part of our economy, contributing $2.6 billion to the province’s GDP, accounting for 8% of our manufacturing sector and employing more than 40,000 Albertans.
In a year where COVID-19 had an impact on everyone, we ensured our agriculture and forestry sectors could still thrive and create well-paying, stable jobs for Albertans. With that in mind we passed Bill 40, the Growing Alberta’s Forest Sector Amendment Act, 2020, which modernized the Forests Act.
In short, the act gives and defines the powers to make regulations related to forestry. It also allows approvals for the right to harvest timber from public forests and sets the framework for conditions to harvest.
It’s also what will attract new forest industry investment to our province while protecting our natural resources so Albertans can enjoy our forests for generations to come.
It hadn’t been updated since 1971, and clearly a lot has changed since then.
In the 1970s the province was developing the forest industry and the act enabled the creation of a forest sector in Alberta. Today, we are shifting gears away from industry development to reinforcing a strong regulatory framework to ensure Alberta’s forests are managed sustainably and ensuring that Alberta has the most competitive forest industry in Canada.
We consulted with the forest industry early in 2020 found way to help the industry succeed and at the same time, ensuring responsible stewardship of our forests.
The amendments achieve the following:
- cutting unnecessary red tape, like the redundant licensing requirement, for long-term forest tenure to make our regulations clearer and easier for government and forest companies to work with
- reducing red tape while ensuring a long-term supply of trees and tree products
- making our timber dues formula publicly available and transparent
- ensuring foresters pay dues which reflect current markets and financial conditions
We work hard and carefully to ensure our legislation balances the forest sector’s success and growth. This fall’s amendments are just the start – we’re looking forward to working more with our forest industry partners in the future.
To find out more about Bill 40, visit the Legislative Assembly site.
Devin Dreeshen served as Minister of Agriculture and Forestry from April 30, 2019 to November 5, 2021.
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