In an effort to aid B.C.’s forestry industry, the Provincial Government has made the call to defer stumpage fees for three months.
“As a government, we had already taken a number of steps to help forest communities and the industry because they were facing tough times even before the COVID-19 crisis came along,” said Premier John Horgan. “Now, we’re deferring stumpage fees so companies can maintain their financial liquidity, which will not only benefit them, but ideally, forest workers and communities as well.”
The Province said that stumpage fees are what a company pays to harvest, buy or sell trees from crown land.
Those with a Tree Farm Licence, Replaceable Forest Licence or First Nations’ Woodlands Licence will be eligible for the deferrals with interest. The B.C. Government noted that license holders must continue to uphold their reforesting commitments.
According to the Province, this move will leave an estimated $80 million to companies to pay employees, contractors and bills to keep them open or to allow them to reopen.
“We’re building on other measures we’ve taken to help the forest sector navigate this crisis,” said Doug Donaldson, Minister of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development. “What we’re announcing today may allow some companies to get back online sooner rather than later when we get through the situation we’re in now – or it may save other companies from having to shut down altogether.”
This assistance will add to other supports previous supports for the forestry sector put in place by the Provincial Government.