Changes made to the outdated five-decade-old Forests Act will bolster Alberta’s competitive forest sector by supporting reliable and consistent access to trees. These changes come at a time when North America is experiencing record demand for wood products.
“As the third largest resource sector in Alberta, forestry is playing a critical role in our economic recovery. At a time when mills across North America are experiencing uncertainty, these important changes increase our forest sector’s competitiveness and lay the foundation for generations of growth.”
Key updates include:
- Setting timber dues in a more timely fashion so that the fees forestry companies pay government in exchange for being allowed to cut down trees on Crown land better reflect current market and industry costs.
- Giving companies more flexibility in deciding when to harvest those trees they have been given access to.
- Cutting unnecessary red tape for forest tenure holders, encouraging innovation and advanced practices.
These amendments will bolster the forest sector’s success while improving the health of our forests so Albertans can continue to enjoy them for generations to come.
“Alberta’s forest industry is committed to our forests and our communities. We take our responsibility to ensure healthy forests for future generations very seriously, make detailed plans for sustainability and plant two trees for each tree harvested. We also take our role to provide well-paying, sustainable jobs for Albertans seriously. By eliminating unnecessary red tape and supporting forestry job creators, the Government of Alberta is supporting a vibrant forest industry and healthy forests that benefit Albertans.”
Agriculture and Forestry took part in meaningful, ongoing conversations with forestry companies and industrial partners, including six companies owned by Indigenous communities, to discuss potential changes to the Forests Act.
Alberta’s government will continue to uphold our world-class forest management requirements for forest companies harvesting trees on Crown land, which includes planting two trees for every one harvested. The forest management planning process still requires companies to consult with the public, Indigenous Peoples and other stakeholders before any harvesting activities can begin.
- The Forests Act was last substantially updated in 1971.
- The Forests Act provides for and defines the powers to establish regulations related to forestry and provides for the establishment of forest tenure or the right to harvest Crown timber.
- The Forests (Growing Alberta’s Forest Sector) Amendment Act, 2020, received royal assent on Dec. 9, 2020, with changes coming into force on May 1, 2021.
- The regulations were also amended under the Forests Act: Timber Management Regulation, Forests (Ministerial) Regulation and Forest Resources Improvement Regulation.
- More than 90 communities and more than 18,000 jobs rely on Alberta’s forest sector.
- Forestry is an important sector of the Alberta economy, contributing $2.6 billion to the provincial gross domestic product.
- More than 60 per cent (roughly 87 million acres) of Alberta is forested.
- Alberta’s forestry industry planted more than 100 million trees in 2020.