Monday 15 August 1994

Crown Forest Sustainability Act, 1994, Bill 171, Mr Hampton / Loi de 1994 sur la durabilité des forêts de la Couronne, projet de loi 171, M. Hampton

Ministry of Natural Resources


Len Wood, parliamentary assistant to the minister

Dr David Balsillie, assistant deputy minister, policy and program division

Ken Cleary, manager, program development, renewable resources

David McGowan, policy adviser, legislation and special projects

Bob Elliott, director, terrestrial ecosystems branch

Northshore Firewood and Logging

Darcy Alberta, representative

Robin MacIntyre

Jo Anne Fleming

Lajambe Forest Products

Mike Barker, woodlands manager

Mark Crofts

*Chair / Président: Brown, Michael A. (Algoma-Manitoulin L)

*Vice-Chair / Vice-Président: Daigeler, Hans (Nepean L)

Arnott, Ted (Wellington PC)

*Dadamo, George (Windsor-Sandwich ND)

Grandmaître, Bernard (Ottawa East/-Est L)

Johnson, David (Don Mills PC)

*Mammoliti, George (Yorkview ND)

Mills, Gordon (Durham East/-Est ND)

Morrow, Mark (Wentworth East/-Est ND)

Sorbara, Gregory S. (York Centre L)

Wessenger, Paul (Simcoe Centre ND)

White, Drummond (Durham Centre ND)

*In attendance / présents

Substitutions present / Membres remplaçants présents:

Bisson, Gilles (Cochrane South/-Sud ND) for Mr Wessenger

Carr, Gary (Oakville South/-Sud PC) for Mr Arnott

Fletcher, Derek (Guelph ND) for Mr White

Hodgson, Chris (Victoria-Haliburton PC) for Mr David Johnson

Jamison, Norm (Norfolk ND) for Mr Mills

Miclash, Frank (Kenora L) for Mr Sorbara

Ramsay, David (Timiskaming L) for Mr Grandmaître

Wood, Len (Cochrane North/-Nord ND) for Mr Morrow

Clerk / Greffier: Carrozza, Franco

Staff / Personnel: Luski, Lorraine, research officer, Legislative Research Service

The committee met at 1004 in the Water Tower Inn, Sault Ste Marie.


Consideration of Bill 171, An Act to revise the Crown Timber Act to provide for the sustainability of Crown Forests in Ontario / Projet de loi 171, Loi révisant la Loi sur le bois de la Couronne en vue de prévoir la durabilité des forêts de la Couronne en Ontario.

The Vice-Chair (Mr Hans Daigeler): The standing committee on general government is now in session. Welcome, everyone, to the beautiful city of Sault Ste Marie. It's a little bit cool, but I understand it's going to warm up outside, and inside hopefully not too much, but I think we'll be able to cope with it.

For those who are not familiar with the proceedings, we have the government side over here and then the official opposition and the third party.

This morning we will have briefings from the ministry, but first, however, the opening statements both from the parliamentary assistant and from the two official opposition critics. Then in the afternoon we will begin the hearings. Once we've completed the hearings here today, we'll be moving on to Espanola and then to North Bay this week.

I should also introduce the researcher, Lorraine Luski, from the parliamentary research office. From Hansard we have Pat Girouard, and Jim Petselis from the recording service, and we do have simultaneous translation for anyone who later on wishes to address the committee in French. Il y a la traduction simultanée, alors simplement parlez dans la langue que vous voulez. Alors, il y a les facilités qui sont disponibles.

Two business items before we get going with Bill 171, An Act to revise the Crown Timber Act to provide for the sustainability of Crown Forests in Ontario: The first one is that on Thursday, for anyone who might think they are flying out from Timmins at 6:30 in the morning, as your ticket says, this is not the case. We're flying out at 4:40 in the afternoon. We're flying out after the business is done, not before, so your ticket is erroneous. I understand they'll let us on the plane anyway. It's not 6:30 am, it's 4:40 pm.

The second very important subject is that it's been suggested that before we move on to the bus for the three-and-a-half-hour ride to Espanola we have dinner here in the hotel after the proceedings this afternoon so that we leave about an hour or an hour and a half after 5 o'clock. Is that agreeable to the committee? We'll have supper here and then we'll leave, after supper is completed, by bus to Espanola.

I'm now pleased to ask the parliamentary assistant, Len Wood, to give some opening remarks with regard to the bill that is before us. These opening remarks will then be followed by opening statements from the two opposition critics and then we'll be moving into a technical briefing from ministry officials. I'll ask the parliamentary assistant, when the time comes, to introduce the officials.

Mr Len Wood (Cochrane North): Thank you very much, Mr Chair and members of the committee, for this opportunity to outline the significant elements of Bill 171, the Crown Forest Sustainability Act.

Bill 171 is perhaps the most important piece of legislation on forests that has ever been put forward in Ontario. It will take Ontario into a new period of sustainable forest management. With this legislation, Ontario will have the ability and necessary powers to ensure that forests are managed as a whole ecosystem and not just for the products that go into mills. Through this legislation we will be putting the forests first. We will be ensuring the long-term health of our forests and we will be developing an ecosystem approach to managing forests. By putting the health of our forests first, we will be able to make sure that we can sustain our forest industries, the jobs those industries provide and the many communities that forest industries support, while providing for a wide range of other economic and environmental values.

I have a major personal stake in sustaining the forests and jobs in northern communities like Sault Ste Marie. I have lived in the north for three and a half decades. For 20 of those years I worked on a shop floor as a millwright with Spruce Falls Power and Paper Co. For eight years of that I was president of the local Canadian Paperworkers Union. My wife and I raised and educated two daughters in Kapuskasing on the strengths and opportunities provided by the forest industry. Today we're grandparents, and we want to provide our grandchildren and the grandchildren of our neighbours with the same type of opportunities that were offered to us, and we want these opportunities to be located right here in the northeast in communities like Sault Ste Marie and Kapuskasing. For that reason, I'm delighted that the provincial government is acting on its commitment to sustain forests, jobs and communities in the north.

I can point proudly to my former employer, the Spruce Falls Power and Paper Co, as an important example of that commitment. As you know, the provincial government supported a buyout of the company by employees and the local residents. In doing so, we helped to sustain 800 jobs that are vital to the survival of Kapuskasing. Less than three years later, the company is generating profits and expanding. This year a new sawmill complex has created a total of 126 new full-time jobs.


Spruce Falls is just one of the several examples of our commitment to sustain forests, jobs and communities in the northeast. In Hearst, for example, the Ministry of Natural Resources staff are working with the Nord-Aski Economic Development Committee. They are identifying new markets for value added forest products and for new uses of underutilized forest resources. Also, near Hearst we're helping Constance Lake First Nation develop tending businesses that will increase the productivity of the forests. Near Cochrane we're helping the New Post First Nation develop tending businesses.

Bill 171 is the latest expression of our commitment to sustain forests, jobs and communities in the north. If we consider the economic and environmental importance of forestry to Ontario, we will see clearly why this legislation is so important, not only to the future of communities such as those that I've mentioned today but also to the province as a whole.

Forest industries in Ontario produce nearly $12 billion annually in forest products for our economy. They are one of the most important segments of our economy. More than 200,000 jobs are tied to forest industries and nearly 50 communities depend on them for their economic stability.

The economic contribution of the forest industry is one of the many values that we must address. Ontario's vast forests provide habitats for a diversity of wildlife and ecosystems. They provide a wide variety of recreational opportunities for all Ontarians. Ontario's forests draw tourists from around the world, and for local citizens they are an invaluable cultural resource as well as a mainstay of the economy.

The introduction of Bill 171 builds on a series of initiatives undertaken by this government to learn more about the forest and to develop the tools needed to improve forest management and develop an ecosystem approach to managing forests. In all our actions, we're clearly establishing ourselves as a government that is ready to make the decisions and changes needed to improve forest management.

I want to take a moment now to outline some of the actions that have led to the development of Bill 171.

This government has adopted the province's first policy framework for sustainable forests. It is a historic first for Ontario. It marks the first time we've had a sustainable forest policy and a clear direction that we must manage for all forest values. The policy framework will make Ontario a North American leader in ensuring the long-term health of the forest ecosystems.

The policy framework builds on the recommendations the Ontario forest policy panel made regarding comprehensive forest policy framework for the province. Its goal, to quote the framework, is "to ensure the long-term health of our forest ecosystems, while enabling present and future generations to meet their material and social needs."

The policy framework brings us closer to our vision of sustainable forestry, but we need to take the theory and put it into practice today. Bill 171 give us the means to do that.

Another of our actions was to commission an audit by an independent committee to determine the success of regeneration of the boreal forest. The audit told us that while the boreal forest is generating well, there is still room for improvement. This act will enable us to make the necessary improvements.

One of the key improvements will be on how we pay for forest renewal. The government is committed to full renewal of all harvested areas and we are committed to making sure renewal is done to high standards. Among other findings, the independent audit committee told us that uncertainty about funding for forest renewal is a long-standing concern. In response to this concern, the committee recommended that before harvest is conducted, forest managers should know what funds will be available to reforest the areas they are cutting. With this new legislation, we are responding to that concern as strongly as possible.

This act will establish a forest renewal trust fund to make sure that funding for forest renewal is secure and that this money is dedicated to the task of renewing our forests. Large forest companies will pay directly into this renewal trust fund so that money is always available to renew the forests they harvest. This kind of improvement has been long needed in Ontario and we are ready to make sure it happens.

This act also responds to the concerns about forest renewal in another way. It will require that forest management plans, work schedules and prescriptions are in place before any harvesting operations are conducted in the forests. This means that we will identify how a forest can be renewed before the forest is harvested, one of the many improvements in forest management in Ontario.

I mentioned the forest renewal trust fund. The act will also set up a second type of trust fund, known as the forestry futures trust fund, to ensure that money is always available to pay for the renewal of forests that have been destroyed or damaged by wildfire, insects or other natural causes. In the unlikely event that a company goes out of business, this fund will provide the money to renew areas that the company has harvested.

Again the money for this trust fund will be paid directly by forest companies into the trust fund to ensure it remains dedicated to renewal. Through this provision in the act, we will be making good forest management the law.

Ministers and governments will be accountable for ensuring the sustainability, because the act clearly states that the minister shall not "approve a forest management plan unless...satisfied that" the plan "provides for the sustainability of the...forest." These plans will be developed using improved standards for sustaining our forests.

With this act, we will be able to continue the development of our ecosystem approach to managing forests because the legislation will require forest companies to provide more detailed information about the forest. With better information, we can do a better job of planning.

The act will bring about a new age of accountability. MNR and forest companies will be accountable through forest management planning, which is a public activity with opportunities for public input. Local citizens' committees will be set up to enhance cooperation between local communities and forest industries and further improving the public input.

The province and the forest industries will be required to report regularly to the public on how their forests are being managed so that the people will be able to judge for themselves whether our forests are being managed properly. Through the act, independent audits will be undertaken to review the performance of government and forest industries. These audits will be done regularly and will be made public.

Another element of accountability is enforcement. Here we will make a significant improvement in our ability to hold people accountable for how they operate in the forest. The act will establish strong enforcement procedures and an incremental process for compliance to make sure forest operations are carried out properly.

For those who don't follow the rules in the forest, there will be strong penalties. Penalties will fit the problem, and repeated problems will be dealt with more severely. Administrative penalties range from $2,000 for a minor violation up to $15,000. These fines will be imposed by MNR. For more serious offences, the courts will be able to impose fines as high as $1 million.


The $1 million fine could apply to anyone who refuses to comply with a stop-work order issued under the act. Such orders would stop operations that are causing or are likely to cause loss or damage that impairs the sustainability of the crown forest. The stop-work order is another important new feature of the act. And in addition to being able to order a stop to work, MNR will be able to order a company to undertake remedial action to repair damage and to pay the full cost of remedial work.

Before concluding, I'd like to outline the public support for the course we are pursuing. Earlier I mentioned the work of the Ontario forest policy panel. The panel travelled the province, speaking to 3,000 people about the importance of our forests to society. To me, the response of people who participated in the panel's consultation is a signal that the public is concerned and interested in how our forests are managed. We have responded to the interest and the desire to be involved, first with a policy framework and now with this act that puts our goals for sustainable forests into practice.

That's why I strongly support our efforts to pass Bill 171, which is crucial to ensuring the long-term health of our forests. Bill 171 is essential to the economic health and wellbeing of communities like my home, Kapuskasing, and the city of Sault Ste Marie, our host today.

The Vice-Chair: Thank you for your opening remarks. Now, Mr Mike Brown, the critic for the official opposition.

Mr Michael A. Brown (Algoma-Manitoulin): I'd like to thank the parliamentary assistant for somewhat enlightening us as to what the government thinks this bill is about.

As I start my comments, I think it's only reasonable to talk about the state of the forests and what has been happening with the state of the forests since this government came to power.

Since this government came to power, we've seen a 30% reduction in the amount of reforestation in the province of Ontario, a 30% reduction in the amount of trees being planted in the crown forests. We've also seen a remarkable 50% reduction in the amount of tending that goes on in the forests, and as members are aware, certainly my northern colleagues, if you do not tend a forest after replanting you stand a great chance of losing all your good work.

So we have seen a government that has moved away from good forest practices for the last four years. We are pleased at this point to see that they are bringing a bill before the Legislature that will, in our view, if properly done, again provide Ontario with a reforestation policy, with a forest policy, with an ecosystem-based policy, after the regression of the last four years of this government's activity.

I would also point out that during the government's backing away from its commitment to the forest, it has also already raised significantly the fees to people operating in the forest. We've seen a doubling of the area fees. We've seen significant increases already in the amount of stumpage. At the same time, the government was spending less and less money in the forest, so some guarantee, I think everyone would agree, that the money taken from the forest will be replaced back into the forest is something we can support.

Our problem initially is somewhat of a process problem. The problem is that Bill 171 is a very, very vague piece of legislation. It is very permissive, and we understand the need for the legislation to be flexible and to react to changing methodology in forestation etc.

To understand what the government intends, therefore, it was necessary to have copies of the regulations, copies of the manuals, to understand how all the fine and lovely words the parliamentary assistant has just put before us in terms of how we're moving into this brave new frontier actually is going to happen. To that end, two weeks ago the committee received this material, which we appreciate greatly.

Unfortunately, I'm not a forester and I don't pretend to understand what is in these manuals, as much as I would love to. I look forward to the hearings, as this is fleshed out, and I look forward to the ministry trying to help us understand what's in these manuals. But I would have to say to the Chair that we've had many inquiries from people who are interested in Ontario's forests saying they either haven't received these -- and these are people who are going to present to us -- or received them at such a late date they are not sure they can digest these hundreds of pages of material in time for the committee to understand, which I think all members need, to have the people who are directly affected by these regulations and manuals tell us how it will affect their operations.

The first reservation I am putting forward about this legislation is that I'm not certain the committee hearings will be as fruitful as they could be, given the fact that there is very limited opportunity for many people to come before this committee and give us their best shot at how this affects them. I'm sure that for us to do our job as legislators, to make improvements to this bill, we need the best advice possible. We need the advice from people who are directly affected. I am somewhat -- well, I'm more than somewhat; I'm very unhappy that people have not had a chance to thoroughly review the manuals and the regulations.

But moving on from that first concern, we have a number of others, and there may be more as we go through.

The first one relates to the suggestion by the Forest Industry Action Group that an allowable cut in Ontario's forests could be increased by up to 50%. The environmental assessment has also suggested that there is much wood out there that could be harvested in a sustainable way and that hasn't been allocated yet. We know the bill speaks somewhat to this issue, but we don't understand what criteria will be followed, and nowhere in the regulations or manuals or in the bill itself do we see an understanding of what criteria will be placed against proposals to harvest additional wood. We also don't know what the government's attitude is towards the forest action group's suggestion that there's 50% more fibre to be harvested. We don't know whether they believe that, whether they don't believe that, and how it will be allocated. For many northern communities, in fact for the whole province, that's an issue that is very important to employment, to the good of the province.

So we will be interested and we will be asking questions of the ministry people later on to determine how that additional fibre is to be allocated, what criteria they're placing, so that people who have plans for either increasing capacity or even in some cases maintaining their production at current levels will be able to put proposals to the ministry, and how they will be judged by the ministry. I think those are very important issues.

We have a concern about tenure. We have heard from people who are presently involved in the forest management agreements who are very concerned that, unlike the previous piece of legislation, there is no guarantee of tenure in this particular piece of legislation. That is of course of great concern to those companies. If you are required to look after a forest in Ontario, if you are required to do the renewal, if you are required to do a lot of things and make capital investment to take advantage of that, I think you want to know down the road that that will be yours.

I want to give a recent example that I'm familiar with just through my own constituency work, and I'm sure the member for Cochrane South will be aware of this one also. It is the recent experience of E.B. Eddy on the FMA, two FMAs, they hold north of Espanola and running up towards the Timmins area.

There was an infestation of budworm. Eddy, the company, went to MNR and worked with MNR, and MNR was very active in working with them in order to put a spray program together to control this pest that destroys forests.


At the end of the day, MNR decided that it would be permissible for Eddy to spray, at their own expense, the forest that is on their holdings. Unfortunately, and I believe the number's around 10,000 hectares but I could be wrong, the same infestation occurred on crown land units. The government, in its wisdom, allowed those trees to be infested. It did not do anything to stop it.

The moral of the story is that Eddy, having tenure, decided that it was important, for their forest, to spray. The question is: If their tenure wasn't guaranteed would they have done it? I'm not sure they would have done it.

The government didn't do it. If it's just crown land, I guess the government can say: "Gee, we don't have enough money. Too bad, so sad. The forest will have to bear this infestation." On the other hand, somebody with an interest in that land went out and spent about $1 million of their money -- money that by their agreement with the government was supposed to come from the government, but because the government chose not to do it, Eddy themselves decided to do it.

I'm sure there are examples of that happening in the forest industry all along, but they will only occur if there is some guarantee of tenure. I think that's an important point that we would like clarified.

We are also interested in another issue, and that's the local citizens' advisory committees. We think that's a good idea. Unfortunately, we have not been able to determine -- again, maybe the ministry staff can help us in knowing what the criteria for appointment is -- who is on these boards, how they get there.

That is a critical notion because if they are not a balanced board we could have industry, for example, control them, and I don't believe that would necessarily be in the interests of the people of Ontario; we could have some other group with some other agenda control them, and I do not believe that would necessarily be in the best interests of the province of Ontario. So we will be looking for a clarification of the criteria for people sitting on local advisory boards, or community advisory boards, and we think the ministry should be able to help us with that.

We want to raise a concern about the Environmental Bill of Rights. We would like to know, and it is far from clear, whether the Environmental Bill of Rights applies to this legislation. Again, we're hopeful that the ministry, in their briefing, will be able to tell us whether in fact the Environmental Bill of Rights applies to this legislation.

Having briefly -- well, over a period of days -- looked at these manuals and the regulations, we're perplexed because we don't understand what kind of cost-benefit analysis has been done. We want to know what these regulations cost the forest companies and the province itself to administer and what benefit we get for spending additional money if in fact additional money is spent.

I'm hopeful that the ministry will be able to tell us what additional costs they believe will be incurred not only by the forest companies, but by the ministry staff -- there's a lot of other people besides forest companies obviously involved here. We want to know what impact it will have on tourism, on the NODA members. We want to know what kind of impact it will have on hunting and angling.

There are a large variety of interests in the forests besides the forest companies, and we want to know what kind of impact it will have on them when increased costs -- how it might affect the way people do business in the forest today. We have seen nothing of all that.

Despite the parliamentary assistant's chatter about sustainability and the ecosystem approach, we are very unclear about what exactly we are trying to maintain. What are we trying to sustain? What is an ecosystem? How does this all work? For example, are we attempting, when we harvest the forest, to have the same forest replace it, and why the same forest?

In many cases, probably in the majority of cases, we're talking about second cuts. This is not the first time that many forests have been cut over. We want to know, why do you want to put jack pine in that particular area when maybe that wasn't the original species? We want to understand how this all comes to play.

It's great to throw around the buzzwords of the 1990s in terms of sustainability and ecosystem approach and all those nice-sounding things, but we want to know, where the rubber hits the road, how does this really work and what is it you're really talking about? Again, we would be asking the ministry to clarify that when it comes before us in the briefing, and the parliamentary assistant can be of some assistance, I hope, in answering those questions.

We are likewise concerned: We understand at least somewhat how the new "business arrangement" works as it relates to forest management agreements. We understand that essentially it's fairly close to what has happened before, other than in this case there's the trust fund, which we think is a good idea. But we don't understand at all, and we'll be looking for help, how this works on crown management units. Much of Ontario's forests are managed under crown management units, not under forest management agreements, and we don't understand how the trust funds, regeneration, cutting, forestry in general will work on those crown management units, and have to this point not gotten answers that we think are satisfactory.

I want to just mention that I'm a northerner. My two colleagues here are northerners. We represent ridings from the Quebec border to the Manitoba border. Our communities depend on the forest. I think all of us have mills in our areas; all of us have tourist operators in our areas; all of us have provincial parks in our areas; all of us have first nations in our areas; all of us have the same concerns about managing this renewable resource in the best possible way for the people of Ontario.

There are many facets, and over the next three weeks of hearings I think we, as members, will probably come to understand more and more about the impact of forestry and what goes on in the forest from many different views. We, the Liberal caucus, published a paper last year, talking about sustainable jobs and sustainable forestry and the criteria within that. Clearly we believe, as Liberals, that the forest can be renewed, that the forest can be harvested, that economic and environmental activity can go on in this province for eternity, provided we are proper stewards of this resource.

We will work with the government as much as we can to improve this legislation and ask the appropriate questions at the appropriate times in order that we get a piece of legislation that lives up to the parliamentary assistant's billing.

The Vice-Chair: Thank you, Mr Brown. Now the Progressive Conservative critic, Mr Chris Hodgson.

Mr Chris Hodgson (Victoria-Haliburton): Thank you very much, Mr Chair. It's a pleasure to be in northern Ontario. It's a real opportunity to be able to travel across the northern part of the province and find out what concerns the people who live and earn a living from forestry have in regard to this bill of forest sustainability. I'd like to thank the parliamentary assistant for outlining the government's intent on this bill.

I would just like to say that on behalf of myself and the party, I'd like to thank the minister and the minister's staff for the open process. The ministry top staff came over and briefed us on the impact of this bill and some of the details. I'd like to thank all the people who are attending today and the people who are going to attend throughout the next two weeks in northern Ontario, and again back in Toronto for the public hearings. I realize that most people have busy schedules and I really appreciate their taking the time to come out and inform us of their concerns so that we can hopefully work with the government and make positive amendments to ensure that our forests are sustainable and that they do sustain jobs in our communities.


I personally come from an area that has a mixed economy of lumbering and tourism. This bill, while it's not solely dealing with all the forest industry -- it's dealing with the crown land -- is being billed as a sustainable forest act. Part of the reason for this that wasn't mentioned by the parliamentary assistant but has been mentioned before by the minister is that we want to send a message to the world that products coming out of Ontario come from sustainable forests, and this is particularly important to our markets in Europe.

We in Ontario have a doubly difficult job in doing this. People from Europe don't distinguish between parts of Canada, so we have to inform them and say that our forestry practices are somewhat different than maybe other parts of Canada. From a marketing point of view, I believe the Ontario government's got a challenge ahead of it. I think in cooperation with the industry we can meet that.

The concern we have is that we don't rush into this. Some in the industry would say, "Well, the crown timber EAs have been going on for six years." It's been an open process and I'd like to see that continue.

The manuals that the critic from the Liberal Party mentioned are quite detailed. I believe this is only the second draft, and there's a lot of detail that has to be added yet. I would encourage a second workshop to be done at the end of these hearings. That doesn't mean that I'm asking for a delay past the fall for third reading, but I think that a second workshop at the end of public hearings would be helpful, seeing how a lot of the detail, as I read it, is to be filled in as we go.

The sustainability, as a concept itself, has to live up to the rhetoric. As I mentioned in the House, and this is an issue that's more of a concern in central Ontario than in the north, there is the private forest aspect. All the timber products coming out of Ontario are going to be sold as coming from sustainable forests. Some 80% of the timber comes from crown land and most of it from up here in the north. Some 20%, or 5 million cubic metres of board feet, comes from private lands. This government has cancelled, without notice, the private managed forest tax rebate. I'm assured by the minister, not only to myself but to the House, that by the fall there will be a template of some type of redress to this to allow that all the forests that produce timber will be sustainable in the future. I'm looking forward to seeing that.

As the minister has pointed out, we're going to deal with the crown land first and then address the private. I understand and I'm aware of, and our party's been very involved in the past with, the role that forestry plays in northern Ontario. I appreciate the efforts of the ministry to try to make it more than just wood that comes off the forest for its value. We have a great interest in seeing the tourism economy and all the uses of the forest incorporated.

The manuals have to be flexible to reflect the different areas of Ontario, but I have some concerns. With the bill itself, it's enabling legislation, and it's been mentioned before that it's rather vague and it's got a lot of motherhood statements which we agree with. In broad scope, we're in agreement that the Crown Timber Act needed to be modernized and improved. I think there's general agreement and consensus on the goals set forth in this bill. It's in the detail where we have some concerns, and that's why I'm looking forward to all the presentations that we're going to hear in the next couple of weeks.

In some of the concerns, as a party, the PCs, we've been concentrating on how to make Ontario more competitive, how we can sustain jobs in our community, which is the second part of this bill, not only future use of the forests as an ecosystem, but to sustain economic viability of our communities here in northern Ontario and central Ontario. Competitiveness is the heart of that. To sustain jobs in the future, we're going to have to be competitive with neighbouring jurisdictions like Michigan and places like that.

If this bill is done properly, it should enable us to be competitive, to secure tenure, to have access to wood products, to have multi-use of our forests to encourage tourism and hunting and recreational activities in northern Ontario.

That's the goal and I intend to work towards that. The government record in terms of forestry has been outlined by the critic of the Liberals; I don't need to repeat that. I would just like to say that there were campaign promises made back in 1990, long before my time, that talked about four-laning the Trans-Canada Highway and a lot of northern development, which hasn't happened. So hopefully, with this forest sustainability, it will help the north in some way in the last four years.

We have concerns, in terms of access and tenure, about the large companies getting tenure and the first rights of refusal, that that be done consistently and fairly throughout the province. We also have concerns for the independents. When you're talking about a sustainable economy, a large part of our economy is made up of one- to 10-person operations that need to have stability in their access to timber, and I'd like to see some type of provision put in here where people are unorganized. We often hear from the big special interests, but a lot of the people who work in the forest industry are jobbers, independents who work hard, long hours, and they find it hard to take time off to come into committee meetings that are held in the daytime or just to pull together the resources to type up a finished report that hopefully somebody will read. I would like to see some provisions put in here that independents are secure in their sustainability, their jobs in the future.

I'm interested in hearing the comments on the enforcement. The whole issue around these citizen groups of multi-use of the forests and competing interests, determining what will be the best forest plan in the future: In the manual, so far I haven't found where it sets out the criteria for appointment, if they are to be appointed, who's to be appointed, are we just taking special-interest groups, are we just sticking with the communities involved, what are the criteria involved in the makeup of these committees, and what power will these committees have?

If we're looking at multi-use of the forest, what will be the criteria on the use? Will it be strictly votes or will there be a process where we ascribe a value to the timber? That's easy to do, but do you ascribe a value to moose or fish? I've read some studies where they've taken five, six or seven different factors and they try to ascribe values to them and then they try to see what the cost-benefit analysis is of the forest rotation. Of the studies that I've seen, it comes out very close to what the forestry's guide in existence already produces. In some instances it's shortened up the rotation period, but will there be criteria set down that these committees are to follow? That would give the flexibility for different areas of the province of Ontario.

Part of the problem with trying to set criteria like that is that the ministry doesn't have any scientific proof, what we have in the value of forests. We can tell what the economic impact is if we cut a stand of white pine. To determine what the rotation factor is for a forest in relationship to the moose population, I understand we're still doing those studies. We don't have it down to a science yet. So there are going to be grey areas and what priority takes precedence over the use of the forest, and these committees will become important in that regard.

I understand that a lot of the companies that operate up here already take a lot of these things into consideration. It becomes a question of dollars and cents and it goes back to the question of compatibility. So I want to see that addressed, and I'm interested to hear what the people who actually live here and work in the industry have to say about that.

The cost-benefit analysis: We as a party would like to see that as well, not only in terms of what the forest companies have to pay in the new -- how the audits are going to be paid. Is that going to be downloaded on to the forest companies or is that included in the minister's discretion for spending under the forest renewal fund? Is that part of the futures fund, the money to be spent, the audits?

I'd like to see what the analysis is of the ministry for the costs to the provincial government, both in the short term and the long term, and how this act, I guess it's enabling legislation that allows for the implementation of the Carman exercise to become complete if they can reach a negotiated settlement on the additional tax above the two trust funds to be set up, and the stumpage fee.

In general, I would just like to applaud the government for the ecosystem approach and say that we as a party have been calling for things like the trust funds to be set up to ensure that there's money in place for the renewal and replanting of the silviculture of our forests. We're very aware of the importance that the forests play in our communities and in our lifestyle, but also in terms of our economy of Ontario in terms of recreation, tourism and the forestry industry itself.

The consultation, both now and once the bill becomes law, must be meaningful and must include the primary stakeholders. We've had experiences in this province -- I think most recently of the Keep it Wild campaigns in some areas, where they've been implemented without any public consultation or very little, or changes to the fishing- and tourist-based economy, the fishing seasons or the limits, without any consultation or very little consultation. I'm hoping and all indications are that this has been an open process to now and it will continue to be so.

The problem with the manuals is that they're quite voluminous to start with and they have to be flexible. So I'm willing to give the ministry the benefit of the doubt and hopefully we can get these out to all the interested stakeholders and work with them as they're being developed and fleshed out.

I would just like to remind the minister of his promise to recognize the private forests as well as the crown. Gary Carr and I look forward to meeting many people from the north and visiting the villages and hopefully making this an improvement for the economy of northern Ontario as well as all of Ontario.


The Vice-Chair: Mr Wood, if you want to respond, now is the time, and then perhaps you want to move on to the technical briefing by the ministry.

Mr Wood: Yes, I'll be very brief before I turn it over to our ministry people. I'm not going to try to address all of the questions that were raised by my good friend, Mike Brown, and Chris.

The trust fund is a way of providing guaranteed funding, the way we see it, that hasn't been there by any other government. It's for forest renewal, and this is the third government in the last 10 years that's been struggling with this and we feel that with the area charges and the funds and that, there's going to be a fund set up now. As I think we pointed out in second reading, myself and Howard Hampton and Bud Wildman, this year I believe it's $189 million that's going to be going into it, when you take the MNR's portion that goes into it.

The manuals, there's no doubt about it, there are a lot of pages, there's a lot of material in there. The effort was made when we talked about it in the subcommittee to get them out in as timely a fashion as possible, realizing that we were into a civic holiday at the same time, and I understand that people are receiving the manuals and have had a chance to look at them. With people on vacation and one thing and another, I understand that it could be not as timely as what it might be when everybody's at work, but the attempt was made to get them out so that they would have a couple of weeks before the hearing started today.

When we talk about long-term sustainable wood supplies, we've made three announcements in the last little while: a new operation in Wawa, one in Kenora and one in Thunder Bay using the hardwood species that we felt there was a surplus out there. It's going to help out all of these communities to create new jobs and it's long-term investment on the part of these companies.

We have brought in the timber EA decision which is legally binding on the MNR and it sets a direction on how the committees should be set up and who should be on the committees and I'm sure that MNR is going to be involved in that.

As was mentioned, a commitment was made on first and second reading, I guess, that private lands would be looked at this summer and into the fall and that by the end of the year we should have more information that I'm sure you'd be pleased with, Chris and Mike.

One of the things Mike raised in his opening remarks was the dollars out there. Every government has been struggling with dollars, as to how you manage them and which ministry gets dollars and which ministry doesn't get dollars. When you look at hospitals, schools, municipalities, forests, who is going to be able to make the strongest pitch? A building can go up in a matter of a short period of time, and you can look at that as an example. When you're renewing forests, some of it takes 90 years, so you don't see the results of it until a long way down the road.

As I said before, the three governments that have been in power in the last 10 years have been faced with that: new highways, new hospitals, new schools and other buildings that have to be put out there. But with the two forestry funds which were covered under the budget bill in June, it's legislation that has been passed and has had third reading, so they're there and the guarantee is there that there will be money flowing into renewing the forests.

With that, maybe I'll introduce David Balsillie, who is the assistant deputy minister of --

Mr Brown: Mr Chair, just before we move on, I have a question of the parliamentary assistant, or perhaps actually of yourself. I wrote to the Chair on August 5 asking that he distribute or see that the ministry distribute copies of the regulations and manuals. It's just a question of, has this been done? Has the committee been made aware by the ministry? All the presenters who are coming before us, have they had the manuals and the regulations, and, if so, for how long?

The Vice-Chair: You're referring to the letter, a copy of which was distributed this morning. Mr Wood, did you want to respond to that?

Mr Wood: I saw the letter and I understand that the manuals and regulations are available and have been mailed out and we have copies here that people can look at as well when they're making their presentations or before they make their presentations, so I understand that has been taken care of.

I'd like to call on Dr David Balsillie. He's assistant deputy minister of MNR's policy and program division. He has a number of people he would like to introduce for technical briefing, if you want to come forward to the chairs we have here and introduce your people who are going to be making the presentation.


Dr David Balsillie: Good morning, everyone. As was indicated, my name is David Balsillie. I am the assistant deputy minister, policy and program division of the Ministry of Natural Resources. With me is Mr Bob Elliott, who is the director of our terrestrial ecosystems branch and has been involved in the development of the manuals and will speak to the manuals this morning. Mr David McGowan has been involved in the development of the regulations and he will speak to regulation development this morning. Mr Ken Cleary has been what we call the head of the core team with regard to the development of the entire Crown Forest Sustainability Act. He will be speaking to the process of developing the act and the content of the act.


I have a few opening remarks to put the Crown Forest Sustainability Act into context. We have some overheads, and hopefully the committee members will be able to see them from their places, in order to assist in visualizing some of the things which we want to be able to speak to you about today.

This act is one which is designed to replace the Crown Timber Act, which was put in place in 1952 and has long needed an overhaul. As was mentioned by Len Wood, the act grew out of our sustainable forest policy and the development of that sustainable forest policy, which was undertaken to develop a framework policy which is designed to lead other more specific forest policy development. It was developed, as Len Wood said, by a policy panel, and it was based on province-wide consultation. Approximately 3,000 briefs were submitted to the panel.

The panel was composed of Peter Duinker of Lakehead University, Margaret Wanlin of the Quetico Centre, Tom Clark, a consulting biologist, and Fred Miron from the International Woodworkers of America. I believe most of these panel members will be addressing the committee during these hearings, and you'll hear at first hand from them some of the observations which they had as they criss-crossed this province.

They produced a widely accepted report in June 1993 called Diversity: Forests, People, Communities. Based on this report, MNR developed and released what we call the Policy Framework for Sustainable Forests. That framework policy contains, as is indicated on the overhead, the goals for Ontario's forests, principles for sustaining forests, strategic objectives for community and resource use sustainability, principles for decision-making and essential steps towards ecosystem management. These principles are now contained within the act.

The question then was, why did we need new legislation to replace the Crown Timber Act? It was needed in order to support the ministry's goals of ecosystem management, biodiversity conservation and forest sustainability. We want to move away from strictly timber management to total forest management and take into account a number of those other values that have been mentioned this morning.

We want to provide a legislative framework to help the government deliver on the various sustainable forestry initiatives, one of which was the policy framework; others are the alternative silviculture methods, the independent audits and community forests. We want to assist in providing a stable economic environment for forest industry and communities and clearly define the roles and responsibility for users dependent on the forest resources.

We want to move to an increased emphasis on a results-oriented approach. In other words, we're looking for outputs rather than inputs. We'll be looking for free-to-grow forests rather than the number of trees planted, because, as has been pointed out already this morning, although you may plant a number of trees, they may never reach free-to-grow forests if they're not tended properly. Therefore, we might have a false sense of security that we've planted enough trees but they didn't come through to free-to-grow forests. We want to incorporate those elements of the existing Crown Timber Act which are in tune with this new direction, and those have been lifted from the old act into the new.

There has also been discussion about supporting the new business relationship with the forest industry, now commonly called the Carman exercise, and the development of trust funds and a new stumpage system and as well the final decision of the environmental assessment for timber management, which contains some 125 legally binding terms and conditions which we need to implement.

Also, as has been pointed out this morning, we need to provide assurances to the world community, client groups and partners that our forest resources are being properly managed, and we need to be able to guarantee that forest products which are going to be exported from our forests need to be able to be shown to be from sustainably managed forests in order to achieve the ecolabel marking which will make them marketable in the United States and Europe; and, finally, to establish a framework for a more proactive approach to resource management and a greater local involvement in forest management through such things as the local citizens' committees.

Therefore, the act is seen as tying together a number of things so they're linked to our sustainable forestry initiatives, to the new government-industry business relationship, to the terms and conditions of the timber management class EA. It ties in with the Environmental Bill of Rights and the work that's being done there. It's looking at the action plan of the Forest Industry Action Group which was set out in the report called Hard Choices -- Bright Prospects. We're looking to implement some of those recommendations. There is a crown land planning review under way. It's going to be necessary in order to be able to manage forests in a sustainable fashion. We need to stay in tune with Keep it Wild or our endangered spaces program, which calls for withdrawals of ecologically representative areas for protection in the future.

I just want to quickly touch on the provisions of the act and then I'll turn it over to the other folks for more detailed discussion of the act, the manuals and the regulations.

The act calls for:

(a) Establishment of standards for the management of crown forests, that is, silviculture and performance measures; protection of forest-related values and ecosystem health; information collection and management standards.

(b) Development of forest management plans for crown forests. The new forest management plans will replace the long-standing timber management plans which have been in place for a long time. The act will talk about the content and duration, information collection and reporting, planning methodologies and procedures, public involvement in planning, implementation of plans. These plans must conform to higher-level land use plans.

(c) Setting out of requirements for compliance monitoring and reporting as well as a penalties regime. There will be monitoring and reporting requirements and recordkeeping requirements, the penalty structure as set out in the act. There will be a requirement for periodic independent audits. There will be the opportunity for the minister to take corrective action or remedial action where necessary and charge offenders for the cost of that remedial action. There will be state-of-the-forest reporting to the Legislature on a regular basis.

(d) Resource pricing, fees, charging royalty and licensing regimes. Timber use and use beyond forest extraction will be licensed. There will be the ability for the minister to reallocate what's considered to be excess timber and there will be the establishment of trust funds and other financial mechanisms.

(e) There will be the opportunity for new partner and tenure relationships to allow cooperatives, local forest authorities or community forests. There will be the opportunity for comanagement agreements with aboriginal people. There will be research partnerships. There will be the authority to delegate approvals for components of plans and small-scale licences.

(f) The ability to create committees and boards, to assist in the development of forest policies and standards, development and monitoring of implementation of forest plans, managing the independent forest audits and dispute resolution and appeal mechanisms.

(g) There will be an enabling clause for compensation in dealing with specific cases of allocation reduction or for loss of past capital investments such as roadbuilding and mill construction.

Finally, it's important for us to be seen as managing Ontario's crown forests such that products could be certified as coming from sustainable forests for exports abroad. That's extremely important. We feel that ultimately the marketplace will drive us to managing forests in a sustainable fashion.

That's a quick introduction and hopefully puts the act into context with a number of other issues which are going on. Now we'd like to continue with the briefing.


Mr Ken Cleary: Thank you, David. My name is Ken Cleary. I am the manager, program development, renewable resources, with the resources stewardship and development branch of the Ministry of Natural Resources.

Mr Chairman, committee members, good morning and welcome to Sault Ste Marie. As a ministry employee, contributing to this legislation has provided a rare opportunity, and as a resident of Sault Ste Marie, I appreciate being able to address the committee in this location. I will provide you with an overview of this legislation and give some insight into how it improves the existing Crown Timber Act.

As stated, the purpose of this act is "to provide for the sustainability of crown forests and, in accordance with that objective, to manage crown forests to meet social, economic and environmental needs of present and future generations."

Simply put, the Crown Forest Sustainability Act should provide the legislative authority to make the public forest sustainable and from that sustainable forest provide the opportunity to realize the benefits of sustainable environments, sustainable forest-related industries and sustainable forest-dependent communities.

Understanding the content of an act that is focused on the fundamental way we manage our forest and use that forest is not an easy task. It is easy to become impatient with the vast majority of people who simply want some assurance that the forest is being properly managed. The other trap is to explain the act in such detail that you leave the audience equally confused. I hope this presentation this morning finds some middle ground.

There are four central concepts in this act which will move us towards forest sustainability. These concepts are information and planning about the forest ecosystem; responsible stewardship; accountability for forest management actions and decisions; and compliance with rules, guidelines and standards. Supporting these concepts are the specific elements of the act.

We have illustrated these elements with a series of icons which represent the key provisions of the bill, such as information, forest management plans, licences, trust funds and local citizens' committees, to name a few. Through this presentation, I will attempt to explain how these elements of the act support the four concepts that I have listed. This act replaces the Crown Timber Act.

The Crown Forest Sustainability Act has 10 major parts. The act contains a purpose statement which captures the broad objectives of the ministry's forest policy framework.

This act will bind the crown.

The act applies to crown forest but excludes provincial parks except for forestry activities inside Algonquin Provincial Park, which will be guided by the general provisions of this act.

Forest sustainability will be determined by the principles and objectives which will be detailed in the Forest Management Planning Manual.

The definitions section of this act is structured to focus on an ecosystem approach to forest management planning.

Forest resources are defined, for now, as trees, with the potential to designate other vegetation and other uses in the future.

This act will respect existing and future rights of aboriginal people.

In the development of this act, the government recognized the fundamental need for legislation which placed a priority emphasis on information and planning. Over the past few years the ministry has completed extensive public consultation around major policy initiatives, such as the comprehensive forest policy framework and the environmental assessment on timber management activities.

It has become clear that good information about the forest ecosystem must be the starting place for any natural resources planning process. Because the act is more than about trees, we will collect a range of data. This will include wild life habitat, wild life populations, trees, other vegetation, users of the forest and natural and human heritage values. We refer to these data collectively as forest information.

Forest information is tempered and refined through an ever-increasing knowledge of the forest and a continuing focus on pure and applied research. In the long term, this information will contribute to an understanding of forest ecosystems which will allow us to make decisions on forest uses that are based on fact and science.

Specifically, forest information provides the basis for developing and implementing sound forest management plans. These plans lead to annual work schedules which set out the what, where and how of forest operations and forest prescriptions which will describe the existing forests and the steps required to renew those forests.

All of these planning elements are mandatory requirements under this legislation which must be in place before any activity can begin. The plan and its attendant documents lead to approved forest activities such as harvesting, which is planned and appropriate, and renewal, which is also planned, funded and meets the objectives set out in the forest management plan.

Part II of this act contains the provisions for forest management planning and information.

For planning purposes, areas of forest ecosystems will be designated as management units. Forest management plans will be required for all designated management units.

Plans, work schedules and eventually forest prescriptions must be certified by a registered professional forester.

The minister will have ultimate authority to approve and amend plans and work schedules.

The Forest Management Planning Manual will guide the preparation of plans.

There are provisions for appeals of a decision to approve a forest management plan which will complement the public consultation process of the planning manual and the bump-up provisions of the Environmental Assessment Act.

This act provides for the appointment of local citizens' advisory committees.

Licensees who collect forest information in cooperation with the ministry or are required to provide specific information such as a forest inventory must meet the standards detailed in the forest information manual.

There are requirements for annual reports and five-year state-of-the-forest reports to the Legislature as per the environmental assessment terms and conditions.

As this government proceeds with nation-to-nation negotiations with aboriginal groups, the act will enable the minister to sign stewardship agreements for planning activities.

The second major concept that this act captures is that of responsible stewardship. This act may be viewed as a means of obtaining a balance between the responsibilities and the benefits associated with stewardship. The Ministry of Natural Resources has the legislated responsibility for overall stewardship of the public forest resources. Both licensees and the public share in the responsibilities and the benefits of this stewardship.

Licensees, as defined by the act, extract direct monetary benefit from the use of the forest resources.

The act provides authority to ensure that crown forest resources are shared by all users in a fair and equitable manner.

Licensees will have the responsibility and the obligation to contribute to the replacement of the public resource.


These contributions and obligations will be set out in licences, renewal and maintenance agreements, and in the regulations and manuals.

The public contribute to sustainability of the crown forest through the activities of the Ministry of Natural Resources. In turn, the public receives revenue and other benefits from a healthy forest ecosystem.

Part III of this act provides for the licensing of forest resources. Specifically, notice is required when forest resources are made available, along with a competitive process for making those resources available.

The provisions of the Crown Timber Act which permit the minister to sign, with order-in-council approval, long-term forest supply agreements have been retained.

The licence structure of this act includes two major types of licences: the first, forest sustainability licences, which will include the existing forest management agreements. These licences will include evergreen renewal provisions dependent on the licensees' performance and will require the licensees to prepare forest inventories and forest management plans, complete renewal and maintenance activities, and submit periodic reports on licence activities to the minister.

The second major type of licence will include a variety of sublicences which will be issued by the minister for periods up to five years and will include licences for medium and small commercial harvesters, salvage licences, tendered sale licences and small personal use permits.

The minister will have authority to set prices administratively and to amend or cancel licences under the circumstances which are set out in part VII of this act.

The Crown Timber Act contains provisions requiring the manufacture of crown timber in Canada. These provisions have been retained.

Approximately one quarter of all timber harvested in Ontario is harvested by companies which must obtain their timber from larger licensees.

The minister will have strengthened powers to ensure that this timber is provided in a fair and equitable fashion, and ensure that the rights of these third-party licensees are reflected in licence documents.

When licensees cannot agree on harvesting and renewal arrangements, the minister will have the authority to impose dispute settlement.

Part VI of the act contains provisions for forest resource processing licences which also contribute to stewardship.

A licence is required to operate a mill. When a major mill construction is proposed, a feasibility study and wood supply analysis will be required. These provisions are intended to ensure that mills which are dependent on crown forest resources have an adequate supply of timber before the mill is constructed.

The Vice-Chair: Just briefly, if you could try to be as quick as possible, because we do want to leave a little bit of time, because we're adjourning at 12, for the members of the committee to ask any questions for clarification.

Mr Cleary: Okay. The third major concept embodied in this act is accountability.

The minister believes that those who benefit from and are responsible for the management of the resources should be accountable for sustainability. Before any activities commence, forest managers must prepare forest management plans, work schedules and prescriptions. Forest managers are accountable when preparing plans for seeking input from the public and local citizens' committees.

When operations are approved, they must be conducted as per the forest operations and silvicultural manual. All harvesting and renewal activities are guided by these manuals in addition to the specific terms and conditions imposed through licences.

Audits and monitoring activities will be conducted by the ministry and independent audit groups.

The collection, storage and use of this information will be directed by the forest information manual. Finally, there will be accountability for the condition of the forest in the reports to the Legislature.

I'd like to address revenue flows next. The collection of revenue for forest renewal was a key objective in the government's review of its business relationship with the forest industry. The dedication of revenues to provide assured funding for forest renewal is a significant feature of this legislation.

Revenue is obtained primarily through charges and fees paid by licensees who harvest or in the future use forest resources. These revenues relate to volumes and species of forest resources harvested which are measured by licensed scalers and are collected through a measurement and billing system which is controlled to exacting standards set out in the scaling manual.

The fees and charges are collected and applied in two ways: as forest renewal charges into the forest renewal trust and as flat rate fees that go into the forestry futures fund, and secondly, as fixed minimum stumpage charges, residual value charges and area charges which are paid into provincial consolidated revenues.

Part of the consolidated revenues will flow back into the ministry activities through the budget allocations of the ministry. The trust funds are a significant achievement by providing dedicated funding for forest renewal and maintenance operations.

The final concept that this act supports is fair and effective compliance. Compliance begins with rules, responsibilities, standards, obligations and guidelines. There are a number of documents that describe how people should treat the forests, including forest management plans, work schedules, forest operations prescriptions and licence terms and conditions.

Ministry standards and directions are also set out in regulations and the four manuals which are designated under the regulations. Collectively, these documents serve as the education part of compliance. The role of the Ministry of Natural Resources is to monitor forest operations to ensure that the obligations are met, forest information is generated and to reinforce the education side of compliance.

If something goes wrong, the Crown Forest Sustainability Act has a number of measures to correct the problem. These enforcement provisions firstly are directed at remedial action which is intended to correct the problem on the ground. The act will provide for administrative penalties which are intended to reinforce obligations and fines imposed by the court and also the ability to seize timber. These provisions represent incremental steps in a layered enforcement system.

In all, the compliance provisions of this legislation are fair and appropriate and the remedies and enforcement provisions of the act have been significantly revised to provide more balanced enforcement provisions than the existing act.

There are three other parts of this act that speak to miscellaneous provisions, including the four manuals which we will be discussing shortly. There are also transition provisions which provide for the smooth transition of management plans and licence documents from the Crown Timber Act into this act but, for the sake of brevity, I think I'll pass the presentation over to my colleague, Mr Dave McGowan, who will explain the regulations in more detail.

The Vice-Chair: Quite short, because time is running out.

Mr David McGowan: As Ken has said, my name is David McGowan. I'm a registered professional forester who also works for the Ministry of Natural Resources, particularly the legislation section. I too am pleased to be able to make my presentation on the regulations portion of the Crown Forest Sustainability Act here in my home of Sault Ste Marie.

The manuals and regulations are the key means by which the enabling nature of the act is translated into more specific direction. It is through the regulations and rules that rules, responsibilities, guidelines and obligations are more specifically defined. They are the primary mechanism by which the force of law is transferred to the activities of information, planning and operations.


Regulations allow the government, through the MNR, to regulate the business of forest administrative activities. They allow the enabling nature of the act to be translated into more specific direction while still retaining the force of law. Finally, they provide a mechanism for government to establish firm policy direction.

The CFSA contains 29 regulation-making powers. The present intention is to act on 23 of these powers. The 23 powers have been grouped into three broad subject areas: first, forest resource processing facilities, or mills; second, area charges, forest renewal charges, forest futures charges; and third, forest resource licences. There are three powers that don't fit these categories, two related to scaling, or the measurement of wood, and one related to the designation of manuals.

Efforts are continuing to improve the regulations through responding to input we are receiving from our clients and the public, and we expect to carry this on as the hearing progresses and the committee's findings are noted.

The first group of regulations I'll deal with are the forest resource processing facilities. These powers relate to the licensing of mills. They are largely unchanged from the current Crown Timber Act.

New under the CFSA is an increased emphasis on adequate upfront planning. This is reflected in the requirements of applicants to provide a detailed business plan and to conduct a forest resource supply analysis prior to issuing a licence. This requirement will provide better information on demand and source of proposed mill supplies and better enable MNR to properly allocate the resources it manages.

The regulations will set out classes of mills to be licensed by the type of product and capacity as well as establishing the fees for those licences.

Finally, the regulations on mills will set out conditions under which the minister can suspend or cancel a licence. In all cases, the minister must provide the licensee with notice of the intention to suspend or cancel and then provide the licensee with the opportunity to make a representation to the minister in regard to the action proposed.

Through an error, a copy of the schedule to the regulations that shows mill classifications was not included in the packages. This slide shows that information, and I have copies for the committee or others who may wish and I have passed those to the clerk.

There are several regulation-making powers that allow the government to set charges that are to be paid by those licensed to operate in a crown forest. The first of these deals with setting an area charge for each licence issued. This regulation will set a dollar amount per square kilometre to be paid into consolidated revenue. The forest futures charges are also specified under the regulations. Again the regulation will set a dollar amount per square kilometre, to be paid into the forest futures trust fund for the purposes Ken outlined earlier. Finally, the regulations in this general grouping will specify forest renewal charges to be paid. Here the dollar amount per cubic metre of wood harvested, to be paid into the forest renewal trust fund or into the special-purpose account that Ken alluded to earlier, will be established. For your information, the proposed rates are $6 per cubic metre for white pine and red pine conifers and other conifers; 50 cents per cubic metre for poplar and white birch; and $1 per cubic metre for grades 1 and 2 hardwoods.

These charges are expected to generate revenues of approximately $60 million for the forest renewal trust fund, $6 million for the forest futures trust fund and about $14 million in area charges to go to consolidated revenue.

The regulations for forest resource licences detail a number of items from the act. The standard terms and conditions that must apply to every forest resource licence issued will be laid out here, such as the length of the licence and the species it authorizes; for example, the period for review and the conditions for renewal of a forest resource licence, such as the current evergreen provisions in today's FMAs.

The power in the act to amend a forest resource licence is defined. The regulations will specify what can be amended and the procedures that must be followed; for example, the modification of the area under licence.

These regulations will cover provisions for transferring the ownership of a licence and the associated fees.

The act provides for more than one licence on the same piece of land but for different forest resources. It requires that licensees with overlapping licences attempt to agree on the nature of how their operations will interface. Finally, it establishes a dispute settlement mechanism for those situations where the licensees cannot agree. These regulations spell out the minimum requirement for these agreements between the licensees, and they also define the process for the dispute settlement provisions.

Regulations here define the grounds for suspension and cancellation of a forest resource licence. As with mill licences, the act requires that the minister, in the case of an amendment, suspension or cancellation of a forest resource licence, first, provide the licensee with notice of the intent, and second, provide the licensee with an opportunity to respond to the proposed action.

Lastly, there are provisions of these regulating powers to deal with the disposition and harvest of trees owned by the crown but that are not in a crown forest; that is, they are on land that has been patented but whose patent did not include some or all of the trees.

As I mentioned earlier, there are some regulation powers which are not being acted on at the present time. When it is appropriate, the act provides the opportunity in the future to describe any other plant life as a forest resource. This will require that a solid base of science, knowledge and information be established from which to work. Similarly, the act provides a future opportunity to prescribe other uses of the vegetation of a crown forest, thereby requiring those uses to be valued, licensed and otherwise subject to the act. This would apply to both consumptive and non-consumptive uses.

The provisions for an appeal process regarding forest management planning are not being acted on at this time. The decision of the EA board, which is now law, has made a number of recommendations that will apply over the next nine years. They require extensive public consultation and establish an issue resolution process. These need time to be allowed to work and produce results before the prescription of appeal provisions.

Conditions on forest resource processing facilities respecting location, efficiency and operating methods are not required at this time.

Forest management boards are an evolving concept. The MNR has only recently established local citizens' advisory committees and is undertaking pilot projects with community forests. The results of these will eventually yield models for the establishment of the boards.

Finally, the timber EA decision makes provisions for a range of monitoring, auditing and evaluating processes, both dependent and independent. These will be in force over the next nine years and under considerable scrutiny. Also, as I'm sure the committee knows, MNR has in the recent past completed an independent audit in relation to crown forests. It is believed that these items need time to work and to be evaluated and that the CFSA needs to be enacted and implemented before regulations for an independent audit are established.

This concludes my remarks on the regulations. My thanks to the committee for its time and this opportunity. I would now like to introduce Mr Bob Elliott, who will talk to the manuals under the CFSA.

Mr Bob Elliott: Good morning, Mr Chair, members of the committee. I am going to talk about the manuals that are required under the proposed legislation. Four manuals are prescribed in the proposed legislation. These manuals follow the direction given in the act, will meet our obligations set out in the timber management environmental assessment terms and conditions, and are consistent with the new forest policy direction in Ontario, like the forest policy framework and the conservation strategy for old-growth red and white pine.

Natural resource management is done in the field by competent staff. Good legislation, policy, and research and technology provide support. These manuals give the required technical direction and guidance to forest management planning and forest operations. The fact that these manuals are required by legislation gives stronger weight to this direction and guidance.

The manuals are set up in a way that provides an opportunity for update and improvement based on new knowledge and new policy direction; for example, the application of new silvicultural guides as they're developed, or the development and application of new guidelines for pine marten habitat, as required by the timber class environmental assessment.

These manuals have been developed over a period of about six weeks. Writing teams were established and staffed from within the Ministry of Natural Resources, with the help of non-government organizations that were invited to participate either as members of the writing teams, as reviewers of material as it was produced, or as participants in a workshop that was held in late July to provide advice and input. Interest has been high and the organizations have chosen to participate in one or more of the processes. I can just say that there's a second workshop planned for late in September or early October.


The proposed legislation requires that an approved forest management plan be in place prior to any operation taking place. The Forest Management Planning Manual prescribes the content of the plan and the planning methodology to be used in developing the plan.

The forest management plan contains a description of the current forest conditions on the management unit, and this is where we get at the business of ecosystem approaches. It provides strategic direction for the management unit by defining long-term objectives, strategies and targets in the time frame of 20 years or more. It will describe the future forest conditions desired and the treatments required to get there, and it will describe the forest sustainability levels for the management unit.

The operational part of the plan covers a five-year period. A new plan will be prepared at the end of that period. This is where silvicultural techniques that will work on the management unit are defined, this is where harvest levels that can be sustained on the unit will defined, and this is where harvesting methods that can be used in the forest types in that management unit will be described.

This will describe the renewal and tending methods needed to produce the new forest after harvest. The methods and techniques prescribed in the plans result in a wood supply for the forest industry, the provision of habitat for wildlife species, the protection of areas such as nesting sites for eagles and cultural heritage sites. These areas are identified as values during the planning process.

The forest management plan describes the monitoring program that needs to be put in place on the management unit so that the results of operations and treatments conducted under the operational prescriptions can be tracked and recorded. The results are reported as an evaluation of progress in achieving the objectives and as a record of what has happened on that management unit. Public involvement in the development of the forest management plan is documented as a part of the plan.

The Forest Operations and Silviculture Manual provides standards and guidelines for the natural resource manager. They are based on current science and technology and are to be used by natural resource managers to ensure that best management practice is applied in the forest.

All the guidelines and technical standards described in this manual must be used in planning and conducting forest operations. The manual provides resource managers with access to current knowledge to ensure that forest operations are planned and conducted in a scientifically and environmentally sound manner.

There are currently five silvicultural guides that describe methods and techniques for the establishment of forest stands and controlling their composition and growth. These are written for jack pine, spruce, poplar, white pine and red pine forest types and for tolerant hardwood species such as maple.

These guides are supported by direction and guidance by the use of ecological classification systems, by guidance and direction for the assessment of results of these operations, and by standards that describe successful forest renewal.

Forest operations are governed by standards and guidelines that describe best practices for roadbuilding, bridge building, culvert installation, aerial spraying operations, forest operations near lakes and rivers, prescribed burning operations and utilization standards.

Habitat for wildlife and fish is a value that has to be provided and/or protected through good forest management practices. There are in the order of 16 guides identified in the manual that cover the habitat requirements for wildlife species such as moose and deer, eagles and osprey, hawks and songbirds. These guides provide the direction on how to plan and operate in areas where these species are present. Fish habitat guidelines prescribe ways to protect fish habitat during forest operations by doing things such as establishing a suitable width of uncut forest to help maintain the correct water temperature for species such as trout.

The Forest Operations and Silviculture Manual makes provision for additional direction and guidance required as a result of the timber class environmental assessment, like the development of habitat guidelines for pine martin, or as a result of new knowledge and its applications, like landscape management approaches to forest management.

Direction and guidance are provided for the application of socioeconomic values like old growth red and white pine, tourism and cultural heritage in planning and conducting forest operations.

The need for standards and guidelines that deal with the qualifications of people involved in forest operations and audit and evaluation is defined. Current standards, like licences for wood measurement, are identified, and the need for additional standards, like tree marker certification, is described. The need for and the approach to audit and evaluation are described in the manual.

A third manual is the Forest Information Manual. Good natural resource management is based on good information. The type of information and the way it's collected, stored and used needs to be done in a standard way. The manual describes the need for information, the responsibilities for collecting, storing and using it and the methods for standard development and maintenance for both forest information and the technology required to handle it.

The manual supports good forest planning and operating practices by setting out standardized data and information requirements and associated management standards intended to ensure that the right quantity and quality of information on the forest ecosystem inventory are available and that the results of planning and operations are properly and consistently reported.

Forest management functions are described and the information requirements are defined in relation to these functions. Getting ready to do forest management planning requires certain information on the forest management unit and results of past operations on that unit. Information is also required on things like committee memberships, what consultation processes have taken place, along with the results of these processes, and the production of forest values maps.

This manual describes what information is necessary, where the information can be found and who is responsible for the information. The forest management plan needs information of the forest inventory to describe the current forest on the management unit and the forest values that are on that unit. Information needs for reporting at the local and provincial levels for both the current forest situation and the results of operations are important to be able to assess and evaluate the results of forest management and so that the local forest manager can assess performance and make any changes required.

Finally, we need to produce a provincial state of the forest report required by the timber class environmental assessment. Methods and techniques to collect, update and use the inventory information are described.

The need for a set of rules and guidelines with respect to data is important so that it can be shared, so that there's a common understanding of what's being described and measured and so that there's a consistency of application and that it can be done with confidence in the decision-making process.

I'd like to move on to the Scaling Manual, which is the fourth manual we want to talk about. Scaling or wood measurement is the way the volume of wood harvested by species is calculated so that a record of harvest from a forest management unit is available to the forest manager and so that revenue owing to the crown can be determined and collected.

There are eight ways of measuring wood harvested in Ontario. The manual describes a detail of each method in terms of the measurements that need to be taken and the calculations that need to be done to record and report on the volumes harvested. Anyone who applies these methods must be qualified to do so. There is an approved course of study that must be successfully completed, including an examination before a licence to measure wood is issued.

The manual makes provisions for the reappointment of the boards of examiners to be appointed by the Minister of Natural Resources to set and mark the exams and to recommend those who should be granted a licence.

Just by way of wrapping up, the need for change in forest management practice has been well defined by both government and non-government organizations, provincially, nationally, and internationally. The work that is being done in Ontario towards the goals of sustainable forestry by all interested organizations is in response to this need for change, and it complements the national and international goals. New legislation like the Crown Forest Sustainability Act will provide a solid foundation for continued progress.

The Vice-Chair: Thank you. I presume that concludes the presentation by the ministry officials?

Dr Balsillie: Yes, it does.

The Vice-Chair: I understand, of course, that it took some time, as the documentation is rather voluminous. Nevertheless, I should give at least two minutes to each caucus to ask some questions. There may be opportunities later on during the hearings -- I presume some of the ministry officials will be travelling with us, so if there are questions arising during the hearings, I'm sure some answers can be given later on.


Mr Brown: I'm sure we have a number of questions. I was concerned when you talked about the evergreen "tenure." That's in the regulations, I take it. Is that how it works, Mr Cleary?

Mr Cleary: The evergreen provisions are embodied within the forest management agreements, and those forest management agreements, through the transition provisions of this legislation, will become forest sustainability licences; therefore the evergreen provisions will be intact.

Mr Brown: It's not in the legislation or in the regulation. It's through the agreement itself with a particular corporation or individual involved?

Mr Cleary: That's correct. The legislation itself speaks to providing for the term of a forest sustainability licence. The agreement itself speaks to the evergreen provisions and the renewal provisions subject to the licensee meeting the terms and conditions of the licence.

Mr Brown: So it will work essentially the same as it does today. Is that what I'm hearing?

Mr Cleary: That's my understanding, yes.

Mr Brown: I have quite a few questions, but in the interests of being fair I think we should allow other members.

Mr Hodgson: I'll have lots of questions throughout the hearings, but in terms of the trust funds that were established under Bill 160, who's the trustee? Has anybody been appointed yet? That was done back at the budget time, when the trust funds were set up.

Dr Balsillie: If I might answer that, it's my understanding that the request for proposals is out right now and it will come back to determine who will be the trustee.

Mr Hodgson: So it hasn't happened yet.

Dr Balsillie: As far as I know, it has not been concluded.

Mr Hodgson: I mentioned this in my presentation. The money for the audits that we speak of and the compliance with all the information gathered -- who's going to pay for this? Is the ministry going to have criteria, like a GIS, geographic information system? Is that what's ultimately envisioned here, that the manuals will all fit on this same hardware? In the short run, who's going to pay for the audits? Does that come out of the forest renewal trust fund or does the company bear that, or does the ministry?

Dr Balsillie: Some of it will come from the interest which will be on the money in the forest trust fund and some of it will probably be borne by the industry itself as well.

Mr Hodgson: One final little point: How come the discrepancy? When Bill 171 was first announced in the press announcements, the Toronto media picked up on the dollar figure that was announced by the minister that would be in the trust fund, of about $100 million, and now today it's $60 million plus in the futures fund about $6 million. Is there anything that's happened since the announcement or was the $100 million just a guess?

Mr McGowan: My understanding is that the $60-million figure is based on what would come from the forest renewal charges and that there would be a transition provision to get the trust funds up and going, where the government supported the trust fund in the first year.

Mr Hodgson: So the government's going to kick in $40 million to bring this up to the $100 million?

Mr McGowan: That's my understanding. I'm not sure how accurate the $100-million figure is.

Mr Hodgson: We've had trouble in the past raising money for forests and we're going to, in the first year, kick this up to $100 million? I need that clarified. I thought maybe the $100 million was just a guess, but if you're telling me there's a plan that in year one there's going to be $100 million, will there be some cost breakdown on where it's coming from?

Mr McGowan: I'm not that familiar with the specific figures myself, but I believe that as the trust fund kicks in that is money that the government is not spending, and therefore there are provisions to take some of that money and transfer it in in support of the trust fund as the two pass each other in the night, as it were. As the government slows down its input and the companies increase their input, there is a transition so that the total number tends to remain stable. The initial input into the trust fund is estimated to be somewhere in the neighbourhood of $60 million from the forest renewal charges by the company. The balance would then come as a transition provision supported by the government.

Mr Hodgson: So in the future the industry will put in up to $100 million a year thereafter.

Mr McGowan: You have a mix in that the trust fund supports part of the forest renewal that's happening and the special purpose account supports the other part. The trust fund is only contributed to by those companies that are participating in the trust fund. The balance of the forest renewal charges for companies that are not participating in the trust fund go to the special purpose account in consolidated revenue. As those companies move to participating in the trust fund, then their contributions would move from the special purpose account into the trust fund.

Mr Hodgson: You're calling it the special purpose account. Is that the area charge?

Mr McGowan: No, that's forest renewal charges that are not paid into the trust fund but are paid into consolidated revenue for those companies that haven't signed up with the trust fund.

Mr Gilles Bisson (Cochrane South): Just a couple of really quick questions. One of them is in the first part of the act where we say the sustainability of the forest is described as what's found within the actual planning manuals. In discussions I've had with people in industry, there's a mixed review when it comes to that. One of them is that it allows, as the technology changes and our understanding changes, to move the yardsticks along at the same time. I guess what I'm asking is, is the whole idea to not keep us locked in one particular point in time, where we would have to go back and change actual legislation, and to allow the technology to move with it? Is that the idea? -- just to clarify.

Mr Cleary: That is part of the concern about having a rigid definition in the legislation which becomes fixed and does not support the concept of sustainability as it evolves. The other problem, of course, is that sustainability and defining how to achieve sustainability is not an easy matter. It's rather complex. Our feeling is that the best place to address that is within the planning manual that addresses how to approach the plans, which will in fact be the documents that ultimately address sustainability. Our preference would be that defining how we achieve sustainability be addressed in the manual, recognizing that there is the other point of view there.

Mr Bisson: In the act we talk about forest resource licences. Can you put that in context, what that would be equal to under the present legislation? Is that the licence the operator gets or is that the licence the mill gets, that has the FMA? I'm not quite sure, through the act.

Mr Cleary: These are forest resource processing licences?

Mr Bisson: The forest resource licence under part III.

Mr Cleary: In the existing act, those would include what we refer as to order-in-council licences, tendered sale licences.

Mr Bisson: District cutting licences as well?

Mr Cleary: DCLs in that as well, yes.

Mr Bisson: So rather than having a DCL or an order in council, you would have to get a forest resource licence and you would operate in a crown unit with that.

Mr Cleary: Yes, either in a crown unit or in a third-party arrangement on one of the major licensees.

The Vice-Chair: We're kind of at the end, but as the Liberals didn't take too much time and Mr Ramsay still has a question, we'll ask that question and then adjourn for the morning.

Mr David Ramsay (Timiskaming): Thank you, Mr Chair. On page 9, subsection 27(4), I just want you to clarify, in regard to lumber chips, what this actually means, that, "for the purpose of subsection (2)," which refers to wood being consumed in Canada, "chips produced as a byproduct of the manufacture of lumber shall be deemed to be manufactured into lumber." What's the reason for that, the rationale? Stumpage purposes or --

Mr Cleary: No, I believe it's simply to clarify the point at which a log has been manufactured. When a log is manufactured, if it goes into lumber it's considered to be a manufactured product. It's simply to clarify that chips are as well --

Mr Ramsay: A manufactured product. Okay.

The Vice-Chair: Thank you very much for appearing before the committee, and I thank the members for their attention. This afternoon we'll be beginning at 2 o'clock, not at 1:30 as was originally planned, so you have a little longer to take for your lunch.

Mr Ramsay: Checkout?

The Vice-Chair: Checkout time is 1 o'clock, apparently, or you make arrangements with the hotel.

This afternoon we begin the public hearings. You know what the process is: half an hour, and I'll explain it at the time. Thank you very much again, and we'll see you at 2 o'clock.

The committee recessed from 1159 to 1402.


The Vice-Chair: The first presenter is Mr Darcy Alberta, from Northshore Firewood and Logging. You may not be familiar with the process. You have half an hour, and you can take as much time as you want, but it would be advisable if you leave some time for questions and answers, usually 15 minutes for presentation, 15 minutes for questions and answers. For those as well in the audience, we start with a rotation. It begins with the official opposition and then the third party and the government and the time will be split evenly in terms of the questions, just in terms of the process so that you are aware. If you wish to begin your presentation now, please go right ahead.

Mr Darcy Alberta: Sure. My name is Darcy Alberta. I'm representing a small fuel wood operation called Northshore Firewood and Logging. We are located in Bruce Mines, on the east side. We mainly deal with processing and selling this fuel wood at a local area, which is dealing mainly between Blind River and the Sault. Our fuel wood is mainly supplied by the Blind River office at the moment. The main problem is that we don't have enough fuel wood to supply the Sault office, and this is why I'm here. I think Bill 171 should have a section in it controlling the district offices on the distribution of fuel wood to the public.

Prior to five years ago, the Sault office used to give out personal fuel wood permits. They were $10 permits where the public would go into the bush and cut their own personal-use fuel wood. They have had problems with this, so five years ago they decided to do away with it at a district level. They decided to get rid of it and replace it with a commercial fuel wood operation. They figured that this way they get a lot of people out of the bush who are inexperienced with chainsaws and that. They'd have one or two main operators in the area and the public would buy their fuel wood from these guys.

As I said, we have set up an operation in Blind River with that office, and we have been pursuing this constantly with the Sault office in trying to get some fuel to supply this area. We haven't been successful at all. As a matter of fact, the Sault office hasn't supplied any commercial fuel wood permits or private permits in this area east of the Sault at all in the last five years.

Okay, who's been supplying the fuel wood to this area? The majority of the processed firewood in this area has been coming off private and reservation land. Northshore has made up for the rest of the supply, mainly coming from this commercial fuel wood licence out of the Blind River office. But the Blind River office has stated in the next five years it will not make up for the wood needed in the Sault area. They don't have the resources, and they just can't continue to do it.

What are some of the damages caused by this, that the Sault hasn't supplied the fuel wood? The area east of the Sault is almost all rural area where they don't have access to natural gas. So the use of alternative heating and burning of fuel wood is largely used and has been used by some individuals all their lives. These people have not been voicing their concerns because there hasn't really been a lack of fuel wood. They've been able to buy it from individuals, as I stated, cutting off of private land and off the reservation, but that is coming to an end because the private timber is getting more scarce. It hasn't been properly managed, partially due to the fact that in a fuel wood operation, if the guy has to bid extremely high for the timber or even has to buy the land, you're looking at a fairly high cost. In order to get his money off it and keep his employees working as long as possible, these areas are sometimes stripped right down to four inches. You can take firewood down to three to four inches, therefore leaving basically a clear-cut.

I feel that if the Sault office would have contributed a portion of the wood needed, at least the amount of that harvest in the crown land could have been controlled. The whole area east of the Sault, as I've been stating, has become mainly supplied by private and reservation. If they would have supplied even a portion of the fuel wood to these commercial fuel wood operators, it could have been controlled anyway, that amount of the cutting.

How much crown timber is left in this area that can be utilized for firewood? The hardwood that would be viable for the use of fuel wood in this area is in the range of 3,000 to 4,000 hectares. This would last the public approximately 15 to 20 years in a selective-type harvest system. The Sault office is currently tendering these parcels out with no clauses that the wood has to be destined for the use of fuel wood, and it could be sold as pulp.

In the next five-year plan, this area may be licensed out to one of the two local sawmills that currently do not deal with commercial fuel wood mills at all in this area. The main reason for this is cost. The sawmills are looking for top dollar for their pulp in order to stockpile their sawlogs, and as a commercial fuel wood operator we need to get top dollar for our sawlogs in order to stockpile our fuel wood. People want this wood to be relatively clean, and in the last three years we've been stockpiling the wood in a yard at a fairly high cost to us in the wintertime and selling our sawlogs to the local mills at the going rate. So if these mills end up with this timber in the next five years, this timber that is only viable for fuel wood could be gone within the next 10 years. As I stated, these sawmills end up with the sawlogs anyway, so why is it necessary to give them complete control of the fuel wood supply also?

Waste of merchantable timber: In the tendered sales that have taken place, there is a clause that the timber has to be taken down to a certain size, approximately five and a half to six inches, 20 centimetres in diameter. As a commercial fuel wood operator, we take the wood down as small as possible, including down into the limbs. The Sault office will agree that our operation utilizes the wood to a greater extent than if it was going for pulp. In the tendered sale that was done three years ago, there was enough waste in the bush that it would have supplied our operation for at least one year. The private citizens lost the fuel wood, the crown lost the dues and Northshore lost the work. It states in the Forest Operations and Silviculture Manual under section, Wasteful Practices, on merchantable timber that "if a market exists for smaller material than 20 cm it should be taken."

I would like to see this put in place and enforced, especially within the next two weeks. It is during this time frame that the Sault office will decide what to do with this area, and if it is given to one of the sawmills within this period of time there will not be a retraction of the wood for commercial fuel wood operators or anybody else.

In the new regulations manual, under paragraphs 7 and 15, subsection 67(1) of Bill 171, 2.2 states that the forest renewal charge for any species of timber destined for a fuel wood mill is zero. In other words, we don't have to pay when these extra costs are going into effect. I would like to know how this is supposed to help an area where fuel wood isn't being supplied to us.


Northshore was told that this was a district problem and should be resolved at a district level. We've been trying to do that but haven't gotten any results in the last three years.

I would like this to be considered as an issue that has been handled inconsistently at the district level and should be legislated at a provincial level. This is why Northshore feels that there should be something in the new Bill 171 to govern this issue. If Northshore is having this problem, there are probably other districts having the same inconsistencies, other problems, same things.

The Vice-Chair: Thank you very much.

Mr Brown: Thank you for coming, Mr Alberta. This is not a problem that is totally unique to the Sault area. One of the things you've identified in this is a problem that I think my colleagues from the north here from the Liberal Party are all familiar with: I'm told often of wood that's left in the forest after a logging operation and people are rightly upset, I believe, that they don't have the opportunity to go in there and clean up the forest, so to speak, and make valuable use of a resource that we would hope to be able to use. You said you have some limits in the --

Mr Alberta: Blind River office.

Mr Brown: -- Blind River office. How would you see this working? I think your suggestion's valuable, but how would we write this into the legislation? What kind of protection are you talking about?

Mr Alberta: I would think just something controlling that they would at least supply some fuel wood to the public. They have told us as of five years ago that they were going to get away from the private sector dealing with the $10 permits and they were going to go through commercial fuel wood lots. Okay? They were supposed to promote it and they have not been promoting it. I would like just to see something in the bill to enforce that they have to do so.

Mr Brown: One of the questions we've asked the ministry I think relates directly to your concern. There is some suggestion made that there could be an increase in cutting of about 50% across northern Ontario. I don't know the Sault district. I don't know that it would apply in the Sault district, but there is something like 50% of fibre now available. The question we've asked is, how are you going to allocate that?

So far we have received no criteria on how they rate a sawmill against a pulp mill against a fuel operator; how this all would work. Do you think that might be a line of attack we might follow in trying to improve the legislation: to have the criteria spelled out in the legislation so everyone knows what they have to meet in order to --

Mr Alberta: Right, sure, if they have some kind of criteria where they have to meet the fuel wood demand for the area; sure.

Mr Hodgson: Thank you, Mr Alberta. I just want to follow up on Mike's comments on what type of criteria you'd see that implemented as. You're stating that there should be a component in any of these crown reserves for fuel wood operators, as well as pulp and as well as sawlogs?

Mr Alberta: There is supposed to be. This was an issue. This was not set at a district level in the past, where they were supposed to change from private permits to commercial. If I'm not mistaken, it was done at a provincial level. Okay, that was something that was supposed to be done. I think everybody was supposed to convert over to commercial fuel wood operators.

Mr Hodgson: Was that an improvement, in your opinion? Getting away from the private: Was that an improvement?

Mr Alberta: Yes, it is, because especially in the new bill you're supposed to be qualified to be in the bush. If you have everybody out there who doesn't have the chainsaw course and all that, yes, you're going to have incidents where people are hurt.

Mr Hodgson: I see. Now, this legislation allows for third parties to have rights.

Mr Alberta: Okay, again, what you're getting at is we work through another operator. Is that what you're getting at: through a third party?

Mr Hodgson: No, on a crown limit an independent operator would have a certain percentage that they could cut. They'd have to work it out with the licence holder. If they couldn't work that out, there'd be an arbitration process, as I understand it. Does that address your concerns?

Mr Alberta: In other words, you're basically saying working off somebody else's licence, and we've done that in the past. No, our operation's been in place for five years and I have worked for both the local sawmills at that level and as I've stated in the proposal, the sawmills are looking for top dollar for their pulp in order to bring their sawlogs home, into their yards to stockpile them. As a fuel wood operation, it's based almost completely the opposite. We need at least the going rate for our sawlogs, for an example, $320 a thousand, to bring our fuel wood home because it is mainly cut in the wintertime because the public wants clean wood. So in other words, we need top dollar for our sawlogs to bring this fuel wood home and stockpile it.

If you work through these licensees, there's so much competition out there right now that they go for the guy who can work for the cheapest, which right now the going rate is $100 a thousand, and we have done it. We've tried working for these guys, putting our machine on their licences, and it hasn't worked.

Mr Hodgson: I'm referring to section 35 of the act, page 11. It might be what you're talking about. I think it's something a little bit different, where you would actually have the right, but it doesn't specify fuel wood operations.

Mr Alberta: I see. Yes, in other words, you're talking about just working off somebody else's licence, so basically that boils down to -- like I said, I've done this in the past.

Mr Hodgson: Even if you had an arbitrator, you wouldn't be able to work out a deal --

Mr Alberta: You see, it hasn't worked in the past. I've not completely ignored the issue. I have a meeting this week with one of the local sawmills again to try to work something out. I'm hoping that we can, but my problem with that is that I've done this in the past and they weren't forced into it in the past and they took full advantage of it. What happens is, I'll sign this contract for this five-year plan; five years down the road, what's going to happen then? Am I going to have to go through all this all over again in order to lock in some fuel wood for the public for the next five years again?

Mr Hodgson: So there's no sustainability in terms of your employees and your operation?

Mr Alberta: No.

Mr Hodgson: In five years, it could be --

Mr Alberta: We currently have seven employees; I would like to keep them working, yes.

Mr Bisson: Just a couple of questions. First of all, how many people do you actually have working at this?

Mr Alberta: Currently we have seven. In the wintertime we increase that.

Mr Bisson: Are there any other people like you around doing your type --

Mr Alberta: Dealing between here and Bruce Mines, we are the only commercial fuel wood operator process mill that deals with the ministry at the moment. There are a couple of other ones that deal on the reservation; another one that deals on private land.

Mr Bisson: Most of your sales, I take it, are in Sault Ste Marie?

Mr Alberta: No, most of my sales are in the rural area between here and the Sault where they cannot receive natural gas. They look for an alternative way of heating, and as stated, some of these people have been heating their house with wood all their lives.

Mr Bisson: I'm just trying to envision what you do here. It's like you cut a load of birch, put it on the tractor and bring it into a guy's yard, and he cuts it or do you cut it into --

Mr Alberta: No, it's a process mill. This is why we need top dollar for our sawlogs. In the wintertime we make hardly any money. People want the wood relatively clean. Our best sales are in the spring and in the fall, and some people buy all throughout the summer, but they don't want dirty wood and you cannot cut and haul this wood out of the bush without getting it dirty in the summertime, so it's done in the winter months.

Mr Bisson: So it's stove size and split is what you're basically selling?

Mr Alberta: Yes.


Mr Bisson: In regard to the shortage of being able to get access to it, obviously each area is different. Where I am, that's not so much an issue; it would be more third party agreement stuff. I'm wondering, what kind of relationship -- or not relationship; that would not be a fair question. What kind of ability and cooperation do you have in regard to the people who are out there who presently have either district cutting licences, or actually other mills that have FMAs or whatever? Do you get any wood from those sources, or is that really an impossibility?

Mr Alberta: You're talking about dealing with other mills again? Is that what you're stating?

Mr Bisson: Yes. Basically, their end is --

Mr Alberta: There are only two mills operating in this area. Right now there's only one mill. The area of concern is from the Sault to Bruce Mines, as stated, and right now there's one -- Midway has a licence directly behind Bruce Mines but that wood for this operation is almost too far back. The main area of concern is around the Tower Lake area, and at the moment it isn't licensed to any of the mills at all. One of the two mills is going to receive it as area. At the moment, all that has been up for tendered sale, as I stated, where there are no clauses in there stating it has to go for fuel wood or anything.

Mr Bisson: Is it mostly birch that you're going after?

Mr Alberta: No, maple.

Mr Bisson: Maple, okay. In our area it would be birch. I guess the question I have is that if there's a forest company in there doing cutting, and I take it that the maple is not a commercial wood that they're using for their sawmills -- I take it that's the case -- what you're saying is, you don't have the ability to go in and take those stands of maple that might be within their areas that you could have access to. I take it that's what your problem is?

Mr Alberta: My problem, as I stated -- the going rate for the sawlog, instead of making $100 a thousand, which is what the sawmills would like to pay us, we basically have to make it the going rate which is, if it was on my own DCL, around $320 a thousand to cover the cost of bringing this fuel wood home.

I have sent a cost list to the district office with all this material and nobody argues the fact. Fuel wood is a very touchy subject when it comes to cost. As a matter of fact, in Bill 171, you're proposing that we are even going to get a break, as I stated. In the regulations manual, 7 and 15 of subsection 67(1), it states that any fuel wood going to a fuel wood mill does not have to pay this forest renewal charge.

Now you're telling me that you want me to go through a local sawmill, where they're going to charge me money over and above --

Mr Bisson: To get access. Just so that I understand, the issue is that you have to pay to get the wood from the private company in that case, if it's on an FMA.

Mr Alberta: Yes.

Mr Bisson: And the money that they want and what you can afford to pay because of what you get for the resale doesn't make it --

Mr Alberta: It is not feasible. That's why there's nobody in this area working for these guys doing processing of firewood.

Mr Bisson: So what you're asking us to do is to try to find some mechanism, on FMAs anyway, that you have some ability, where there's wood left standing that the forest companies are not going to get, that you can get access to without paying an arm and a leg.

Mr Alberta: Basically. I'm basically just asking you to enforce something that this ministry said it was going to do in the first place.

Mr Bisson: Now, that's the question I was coming to because you had mentioned that. What part were they supposed to enforce that wasn't enforced?

Mr Alberta: They said that they were going to supply fuel wood to the area through commercial fuel wood operators. They said they were going to promote it and they did not promote it.

Mr Bisson: Was that said through regulation or legislation? Where was that said? Was that just something said by the ministry or was that a policy?

Mr Alberta: As I stated, I think that was done at a provincial level. Does anybody else know anything about that, that it was a concern about five years ago, not just at district level? I think it was more or less at a provincial level that there were problems with private individual permits. Nobody else knows?

Mr Bisson: I've never heard of that. That's why I'm asking the question.

Mr Alberta: Yes. I don't think it was just a private talk at the district level.

Mr Bisson: I was just curious, because you had said in your presentation that the ministry was supposed to sort of go ahead with that, but I've never heard anything about it. You have nothing to refer back to? Was it a statement made?

Mr Alberta: Yes. I had a meeting with the ministry confirming all this two days ago -- I mean, on Thursday.

Mr Bisson: So that's out of the Sault office?

Mr Alberta: That's out of the Sault office, yes.

Mr Bisson: I can get the information through them.

Mr Alberta: I had the meeting confirming all this information for this.

Mr Bisson: Okay. Thank you.

Mr Wood: Thank you, Mr Alberta, for coming forward with your presentation. Just a couple of brief questions and some follow-up from what Mr Bisson and some of the other ones have said. I'll ask the two questions and then you can respond.

What I'm curious about is, why has it not worked under the other licences? You were saying you were cutting under them. Why has it not worked? Why has the system not worked, and what would you think we should put in the legislation that would address your concerns that you're talking about right now?

Mr Alberta: It boils down to, why it hasn't worked is cost. If you don't work off of your own commercial fuel wood permit licence, say, you cannot afford to stockpile the wood at home. As I stated, the wood has to be brought home in the wintertime in order for the public to use it, for our process machine to cut it up, and if you try dealing with one of the local mills, like I have in the past -- I've worked for both companies in the past at this level; we're talking about within the last four years -- it's boiled down to cost. As a matter of fact, one year when I was working for one operation, they wanted to audit me because they were wondering why I was working for nothing.

That's basically what it boils down to. They want to know, "Why are you doing this?" So we stopped doing it. The Blind River office up to three years ago was still giving out some of these private permits. The Sault office was even sending people to Thessalon. When people were coming into the Sault office looking for private permits, they were sending them down to the Thessalon office, which works out of Blind River. They were sending them down to Thessalon to get these permits out at Cooper Lake. In other words, Blind River for the last five years has been supplying wood to the Sault office, to their area.

Again, like I state, it's more or less just cost. We've tried all different methods, and it's because we got larger. Since the Blind River office wanted us to get into a larger or get out of it, because they have other people who want to get into the system, we went and we processed a fuel wood processor and we hired a few more guys to get into it to the extent where we could fill in the orders, like I said. But this operation is set so you have to have a fairly good dollar for your sawlogs to cover the cost of the fuel wood.

Mr Wood: So the biggest portion of your dollar would come from supplying pulpwood or sawlogs to the sawmills and then the firewood is a spinoff.

Mr Alberta: No, we don't get any profit out of that. I don't have the figures with me. The money you get from your sawlogs covers about a third of your cost of bringing the wood home; nothing over and above. The fuel wood still has to pay for the other two thirds. The sawlogs just pay for approximately a third, I think it is. No, there's no profit made off of sawlogs at all. It just helps cover the cost.

The Vice-Chair: Thank you very much for your presentation. The committee appreciates your appearance and I'm sure we will try and take your concerns into consideration.


The Vice-Chair: The next presenter has cancelled. However, I understand that the 3 o'clock presenter is here. Perhaps Robin MacIntyre would come and make her presentation now. That would be appreciated.

Ms Robin MacIntyre: Mr Chair, I have one copy for you, and I have an extra copy that I'm reading from as well.

The Vice-Chair: Please give it to the clerk. The clerk will try and Xerox it. You know what the procedure is, about 15 minutes' presentation, then some time for questions and answers.

Ms MacIntyre: Thank goodness. I thought you wanted me to fill up the space until 3 o'clock.

The Vice-Chair: It's up to you. No, you will not have more than half an hour. That you don't have to worry about.

Ms MacIntyre: If I seem to be taking too long, just speed me up, because I'm going to try and talk slow.

The Vice-Chair: It's up to you. You have half an hour, if you want, leave some time for questions and answers, but you can take the 30 minutes if you wish. It's all up to you.

Ms MacIntyre: I'd like to give you a little bit of background. First of all, I'd like to thank you very much for this opportunity to address these hearings on the Crown Forest Sustainability Act. My name is Robin MacIntyre. I live in Goulais River, which is a community 15 miles northwest of the Sault.

Every aspect of my life has always been dependent on the forest. Since settling here in 1978, I've worked as a tree planter, a museum archivist, a ski lodge employee, a landscape labourer and a carpenter's helper, as well as my chosen profession as an illustrative artist. My emotional wellbeing and inspiration centres around my time I spend in the woods. Presently, I work for my husband's landscaping business as a designer and a labourer. As well, we run a bed and breakfast and telemark skiing business that offers lessons and remote wilderness excursions. Our home was bought with these plans in mind. Since that date eight years ago, I've been involved in the Ministry of Natural Resources planning and management processes, hopefully, usually as a constructive partner petitioning for change. I've always hoped that the MNR would entertain a more holistic vision of forests along with the recognition of our responsibility to protect the biological system as we learn to manage the resource in a sustainable manner.


As a member representing environmental and local tourism concerns, I've worked on the Tupper/Shields Cooperative Management Committee since 1989. I represent the same interests and experiences as a participant in the local citizens' committee, begun in 1991. I also work on a provincial planning review project as one of the six focus group members.

In the past four years, I've made presentations, written submissions or participated in workshops for the Class Environmental Assessment on Timber, the Environmental Assessment Advisory Committee, the Megisan Lake Environmental Assessment, the Policy Advisory Committee on Old Growth Forests, the Wildlife Strategy for Ontario, the Municipal Planning Act, and I'm certain that there are others I've forgotten about.

Looking back upon all of this, I understand what's happened to any leisure time that I might have had, but it will all be worth it if the Crown Forest Sustainability Act delivers upon the promise inherent in its name and incorporates the consensus findings from all of these initiatives and projects. It's long been obvious that the old Crown Timber Act is not adequate to deal with the expanded vision of the forest system and the social needs.

Becoming aware of the finite resources of the land and conflicts over these resources as the land base shrinks has proven to us that the need is there to change our thinking to a more conservational approach to use management. As early as 1871, this premise was seen. Sir John A. Macdonald wrote to the Premier of Ontario in 1871, "We are recklessly destroying the timber of Canada and there is scarcely the possibility of replacing it." Unfortunately, our first Prime Minister was alone in his thinking in pointing out that our forest resources were not necessarily infinite and could not be expected to look after themselves.

When the Policy Framework for Sustainable Forests was announced in April 1994, Ms Hampton stated his intentions to introduce new legislation for crown forests based on the principles found in this policy framework. I expected he would wait until all of the initiatives and reviews had been completed, but I was thrilled by the announcement.

Reading over Bill 171, my elation was tempered by growing concerns. Primarily, I kept asking, "What actually constitutes sustainability?" Nowhere in the act itself is there a definition of what the promise in the term "sustainable forestry" really entails.

This makes all uses of the term itself within the document utterly meaningless. At a local MNR public briefing last week, I asked where the principles of forest sustainability, which were included in the policy framework and approved by cabinet, occurred in the act. The answer was that in the interest of greater flexibility such definitions would be written into the regulations behind the act itself. Although the time has been very, very limited between receiving the draft documents last Thursday and appearing before you today, I tried to discern where these policies might be written.

Section 1.1.3 of the draft Forest Operations and Silviculture Manual deals precisely with achieving sustainability. It states directly that, "The purpose of the act is to provide for the sustainability of crown forests, and in accordance with this objective to manage crown forests to meet social, economic and environmental needs of present and future generations."

Then it proceeds to lay the responsibility for helping the MNR meet this objective with other initiative programs without ever defining "sustainability." As such, the only definition really offered is a concept of sustainable local economies.

I started to wonder about the insistence of using this terminology. A few pages further a possible reasoning comes to light: the idea of the recommendation of full support of domestic and international certification of Canadian forest products through the Standards Council of Canada and the International Standards Organization. This would "ensure criteria and principles that govern sustainable forest management are reflected in the international marketability of products."

This page goes on to place the responsibility for Canadian standards for sustainable forestry management to be set by a national committee, at which point the provincial guidelines and manuals within the Forest Operations and Silviculture Manual would be developed or revised to reflect this criterion. I find it rather frightening to think that this term can be used and accepted as a given by the world market without a solid definition written into the provincial act.

Similarly, the next section dealing with biodiversity, 1.1.4, again places responsibility for defining and incorporating biodiversity as it relates to sustainable management with legislation such as the Endangered Species Act and the Provincial Parks Act. I disagree strongly that these acts would implement biodiversity criteria in conjunction with a timber management plan within an FMU, a forest management unit, or a crown lands harvest block. Mostly, these initiatives instead deal with islands within the land base that are exempt from harvest activities.

The end of this section on biodiversity again reiterates that the MNR is committed to ensuring that its forest sustainability and biodiversity ambitions are incorporated into each of the guidelines and manuals as they are prepared and/or reviewed. All that this sentence means to me is that they can talk about the need for sustainability as long or as many times as they want without actually defining it or meeting the objective. It is imperative that a concrete definition of "sustainability" be incorporated into the purposes section of the act before it becomes law.

Much of the criteria that apply to harvesting licences is unclear. Considering that the attempted direction is one of delegating responsibility for forest management and renewal to industry from government, the sections that deal with these responsibilities must be clarified and defined. As an example, licensees are required to carry out renewal and maintenance activities -- this is section 23 -- necessary to provide for sustainability, yet as I've mentioned before, there is no definition of what this entails.

Section 26 says that harvesting of forest resources is subject to the condition that the harvested amount shall not exceed the amount described in the forest management plan as available for harvest, assuming that this is based on sustainability and not on the current wood demand needed by the local industry. This is the closest this act comes to defining what the sustained yield of timber really is. I remember the old Crown Timber Act had a section on this, and it is a necessary inclusion to understanding the concept of timber yield.

Section 25 exempts licensees from this condition if the licence is for one year and under 25 hectares in size and if the minister directs it.

Further on, section 44 exempts a licensee from all of the forest operations -- this is part IV -- of the act under the same criteria.

I asked at our public meeting what actually would constitute an exemption. Forest fire management and fuel wood permits were the examples given. While the standard planning may initially be seen as excessive for such operations, without listing such specific examples and making sure that all harvesting is included in the local timber management plan, we are in real danger of denigrating the whole sustainability of operations. These exemptions should at least go through the same process as any allocation in a current timber management plan.

In an MNR news release, June 1, 1994, the minister commits to completing a system of parks and protected areas by 2000 and continuing to identify and protect new sites, yet the amount of wood volume withdrawals for other uses has been capped at 5% per area in subsection 32(4). It seems that this amount is only possible if the licence is transferred, assigned, charged or otherwise disposed of.

Along with section 31, "Amendment of licences," these criteria intimate that withdrawals of identified park or protection areas are only possible through the timber management plan process. This is more restrictive than present regulations and seems contradictory to the government's mandate to identify and complete a protected areas system. It must be obvious in the articles of the act that the minister may continue to identify areas for other uses or withdraw them from the harvest operations roster at any time.

It is heartening to finally see, through the trust fund ideology, a responsibility to use funds to directly influence forest renewal and management. In my experience on crown management units, the technology and the knowhow has been present for proper sustainable management for at least 10 years, but money and manpower have been lacking. I'm very interested to see to what level the industries will be able to fulfil these needs. I've always been frustrated by the MNR's inability to monitor and report in its stewardship role due to these constraints. Hopefully, the trust funds will free up or add to investments that will benefit the forest environment and all users, and the ministry will benefit from a closer partnership with a responsible industry and greater manpower in the field.


A final concern I have deals with responsibility to all users, as well as to environmental health. Throughout this act, provisions referring to aspects of the forest other than timber management and objective strategies seems quite vague and interpretational. An example of this can be seen in part II, contents of forest management plans, clause 7(2)(b). The plan is only directed to "have regard to the plant life, water, soil, air" and various "values, of the management unit." "Have regard" can be interpreted in many ways and certainly does not direct the forest managers to identify conditions that are present before a harvest operation, or during.

A better wording would be "to describe the plant life, animal life, water, soil, air and social and economic values, including recreation values, tourism values and heritage values, of the management unit." The key word there is "to describe."

This also applies to subsection 8(2) on the same page. The present wording is: "The minister shall not approve a forest management plan unless the minister is satisfied that the plan provides for the sustainability of the crown forest, having regard to the plant life..." etc. This implies that the minister decides what constitutes sustainability, mostly from a timber extraction perspective.

A more concrete wording would be, "The minister will not approve a forest management plan unless the plan provides all users and values of the crown forest with sustainability, as defined by the principles of the act, in accordance with the purposes and strategic objectives of the act."

I'd like to highlight some changes that I feel are required to make this act fulfil its promising contents.

(1) First of all, the legal principles of forest sustainability, as defined in the Policy Framework for Sustainable Forests, April 1994, must be included in the purposes section of Bill 171, and not left to be defined in the forest management planning manuals, as suggested.

(2) Exemptions to the act and designations of the land base for non-timber uses must be explained and defined. This act must not restrict the current protection process for identifying areas suitable for the park system or the Keep it Wild initiative.

(3) Independent audits of government and forest industries must be provided for to allow for a public viewing of forest management and funding directions. If responsibility shifts from government to industry for forest renewal and maintenance, the process must be measurable and visible. Recognition to other values of the forest other than resource extraction must be identified as at least of equal importance to timber concerns, and identified in the planning manuals.

In conclusion, I'd like to say that a new forest act, one that requires a holistic approach to forest management based on sustainable ecosystems, is desperately needed by the province.

Even though the time frame allowed for review of Bill 171 has been totally unreasonable and, I feel, insufficient for a thorough response, I believe this bill can work if the aforementioned changes are made before the last reading. Forest managers must be assured, along with the rest of the people of Ontario, that this act will have the substance to provide the tools and the fiscal ability to effectively deliver on the promise of sustainability.

I'd like to thank you very much for this time, and I will take some questions if you have any.

The Vice-Chair: We have about five minutes per caucus, the Progressive Conservative caucus first.

Mr Gary Carr (Oakville South): You've obviously done a great deal of work in preparing and I want to thank you. You were very thorough. You've had a chance to read through the regulations as well, then?

Ms MacIntyre: I started on Thursday night when I got them and I read through most of them. I pretty much skipped over the part on the tree scaling, because I figure that the technical knowhow is not in my head, so it must be there.

Mr Carr: You certainly have a lot of knowledge, that's for sure. You have ministry staff here, the number two person in the ministry and the parliamentary assistant, so you have a good opportunity to sort of sum up some of the changes you would like to see. If you were to tell them specifically, just sort of sum up what changes or amendments you would like to see, what would you tell them?

Ms MacIntyre: I think my three points -- hopefully we'll get a copy to you -- but definitely the legal principles of forest sustainability should be defined in the act. There's a lot of reasons for this, but from my layperson perspective, most people -- the draft regulations and manuals are meant to be working copies. They are meant to be flexible and they are meant to be able to be used with impunity when changes come along, as in the revisions every five years that are planned.

I believe the act itself should lay out the concrete definitions of what the meanings are, the concrete definitions of what the reasoning is, because people tend to refer to the act a lot quicker, in a legal sense, than they would refer to the draft manuals. Definitely, if you ever had a situation where there was a legal consideration or it needed to be used in a court of law, the definitions must be there, in a legal sense.

Mr Carr: Good. You not only know a lot about forests, you also know a lot about legal too.

Ms MacIntyre: About what?

Mr Carr: Legal as well, so that's excellent.

Ms MacIntyre: I hope not.

Mr Carr: With regard to the input to the process, is there anything that the government has missed now in terms of what you've been hearing from other sources rather than yourself? What else have you been hearing out there? I take it a lot of these are your concerns, but is there anything else? As somebody who's been actively involved, is there anything else you've been hearing from either the industry or the average person?

Ms MacIntyre: Yes, something I didn't really elaborate on, and that is very strong concerns about on-ground operations and the ability to manage effectively from a monitoring and stewardship point of view.

A good example of this is that a friend of mine is involved with a citizens' committee in Sudbury. Sudbury is a very large region, and they -- I believe this region as well. We only have one biologist for the whole region, and there are so many aspects to managing the forests it's almost totally impossible, I think, for somebody to do their job effectively the way we want them to do if there's only a limited amount of time -- manpower -- to do something.

I'm very concerned about the trust funds, and other people are concerned about the moneys, that it's going to go directly to effectively working with the forest aspects, not only with things like silviculture and tree planting, but the actual forest aspects that make up the ecosystem, the biology, the water-soil-air quality. The situation is needed where we have a lot more responsibility from the MNR's point of view to on-the-ground operations, to people who are actually in the field and searching out the things that need to be looked at.

Mr Carr: Thank you. Very helpful.

Mr Hodgson: Thank you very much, Robin. I enjoyed that. You mentioned a sustainable volume. There's some debate on what is the sustainable volume of timber. Have you been involved in that? Right now, what is it, 25 million cubic metres we're taking out, 20 off the crown land and five off the private?

Ms MacIntyre: I can't speak for the province, but I can definitely speak for what the aim has been within the local district in terms of rotational areas, using smaller hectares for operations, trying to diversify operations so that we're using different qualities and quantities of wood. I think the idea of what a sustainable yield is is definite. I think there's a technical definition which was in the crown forest act which said per hectare for the public lands and the private.

Mr Hodgson: Related to that, then you talk about sustainability for all users. Sustainability for all users: Is that possible, or is there a compromise you're ascribing a value to to the use?

Ms MacIntyre: Don't get me into this; we'll be here for ever. My personal feeling is that --

Mr Hodgson: You want that defined for the whole province.

Ms MacIntyre: I can define it for the whole province. If we want to get into the values use and the multiple use and integration, we have to look at the whole province. We can't look at little blocks or Algoma region or different regions, because in that case you're all fighting over the same pie.

When you look at the whole block, the whole region, you're faced with a lot of different types of land base. You've got types of land base you can use for different uses. You've got land base that's cities, you've got swamps, you've got large areas of boreal forest, you've got large areas of crown management units involved with hardwoods. You also have larger areas that have human invasion and human use and you also have areas that don't have, to the extent of roads, to the extent of major uses, such as timbering or mining extraction.

When you look at it over the whole province, it's pretty obvious to see that a lot of the uses aren't compatible and that there's going to always be a problem with conflicts at the local level unless we come up with some type of policy that says what makes compatibility a quotient in the sustainability yield, what makes it possible for people to use these different regions. Until we have the proper definitions, we will never have that.

As it stands now, remote tourism is a major conflict in this area. Throughout all of Ontario, remote tourism's been backed into the corner, has been denigrated to the very farthest reaches of the back corners, because everywhere you get roads and timber extraction opportunities, you also have an increase in tourism use, and the idea of remote tourism, which is fly-in, or travel that is restricted to wilderness travel, self-propelled travel, is denigrated. There isn't the space for it any more.

Mr Hodgson: Just as a follow-up to that --

The Vice-Chair: Sorry, but that's the time for the Conservative caucus. I am sure some of the other questioning will continue that line of reflection.


Mr Derek Fletcher (Guelph): Thank you for coming today. I just want one clarification on sustainability. As you know, when we travel around in a committee it's to hear what people are saying about the first reading of the legislation, and then we usually make amendments according to what people are saying. Are you asking for the definition of sustainability that's in the manual and the regs to be put into the legislation?

Ms MacIntyre: Yes, the one that's in the policy framework.

Mr Fletcher: Okay, that's all. I wasn't quite clear.

Mr Wood: Thank you very much. You've come forward with a real knowledge of legislation and knowledge of forestry. Mr Fletcher touched on one of the questions I was going to ask. I'll go into another area. You mentioned subsection 32(4), which allows the minister to reduce the amount of licence by 5% at the point of transfer, only when it's being transferred. I want to know if you have any further comments on what you'd like to see, whether you're happy with that or would like to see some changes.

Ms MacIntyre: I think that's very restrictive, considering that each site is different. When you deal with a point-by-point situation where we are in the process of defining areas that are suitable candidates for protected areas such as the Keep it Wild spaces -- there is a definite assent within Parliament that we haven't finished with that yet. If you were faced with the situation of being in the middle of a timber management plan which was going to exhaust a certain area within five years and, let's say, 10% of that area was considered an endangered space or an atypical area that needed protection, the way the legislation stands now, as far as I understand it, you would not be able to remove more than 5% of that. The way it stands now -- what I've understood from my very brief reading of it -- is that it's more limiting than the legislation that we have in effect now.

Mr Wood: I understand that there's a possibility in the legislation to withdraw more. The 5% refers to at the time of transfer of licence, but there is in the legislation an option for more.

Mr Bisson: I'm really curious about the whole question of sustainability when we talk about different users of the forest. I live in Timmins, so on a very regular basis I deal with constituents who are trying to get firewood, who are trying to access fish, who want to protect the fish for the outfitters, who want the forests for the companies -- onwards and onwards and onwards.

You say, and I agree with you, that we need to utilize the forests in the best possible way, keeping in mind the balance between all those various users. In your view, how would you actually balance that? I'll tell you, I haven't been able to figure it out. All I know is that the minute the MNR tries to do the right thing when it comes to, let's say, the outfitter, I've got every fisherman in my riding banging at my door telling me they can't get access to a particular lake vis-à-vis --

Ms MacIntyre: That's certainly my experience too working with the local district. I think it falls right back to education and responsibility to the resource. If you've got the chance to educate people about why you're doing this -- for instance, if you're closing a road, if you'd never put a road in in the first place, you never have to close it. If you put the road in and you have a sign up as soon as you put it in that says, "We might need to close this road in the future. Be aware that travel is restricted to a certain amount of time," for the next six months, whatever, then people can't plead ignorance and they can't plead the fact that it was their given right to do something.

In the face of changing times, in the face of our responsibility to protect something for future decisions -- I'm not saying to protect it and turn things into a park. But mostly people complain bitterly about not being able to get somewhere, and the problem is that they just don't understand that they've got legs and they also have canoes and they also have the ability to take a stick and walk. There's a traditional --

Mr Bisson: When they spend $5,000 for an ATV, though, they don't want to talk about their legs.

Ms MacIntyre: Then we have to relate it to the province. When you look at the amount of time and the amount of roads, there's something like 16 million miles of roads within northern Ontario that people can use for ATV travel.

Mr Bisson: I don't disagree --

The Vice-Chair: Thank you, Mr Bisson. Unfortunately, time has expired for your caucus.

Mr Frank Miclash (Kenora): Robin, thank you for your presentation. You'd touched earlier on a couple of the suggestions you wrapped up with, but one you haven't expanded on and one I would like to hear more of your views on is the independent audits of both government and private operations.

Ms MacIntyre: As you know, at the very end of the act they deal with independent audits, and by then I was getting really tired. But from what I understand from reading the draft documents, there is a clause in there that says they might not have to be effectively used. Because the MNR has gone through so many changes in the past five years -- from what I understand it's very hard to audit something without a base to audit it against.

The idea of more money relating to the resource is very, very important, but it's very critical in the first couple of years that we make sure that money's going directly to where it's needed. A lot of those situations have been identified through the timber EA and through the different initiatives as well. Unless there's a chance for the public to review and to relate those requests and the amount of public involvement to where the money's going and how it's being managed, I think it's just going to end up being a closed book and we're going to have to reopen it again in another 10 years and say: "Where did we go wrong? Where did the money go and why isn't it working?"

Mr Brown: Thank you for coming. I look forward to reviewing your presentation because some of it went by me just a little too fast.

Ms MacIntyre: I'm a fast talker.

Mr Brown: I share your concern about "sustainability," and the other definition we've had a lot of trouble with over on this side is "ecosystem," defining it in some kind of fashion that everybody would understand. It's a nice motherhood sort of concept, but until you can flesh it out it's a little difficult for people to understand. Do you have any suggestions in that regard, because without talking about ecosystem, the sustainability problem is going to be there too.

Ms MacIntyre: The main concern people have when they criticize or when they try to wrap their minds around the idea of "ecosystem" is that quite often they take man out of it; quite often they try to define man's sustainability of yield or what man needs economically or socially, compared to what the environment needs and what the ecosystem is like. It's impossible to do that because man is involved in the ecosystem: We're here now and there's no way we could effectively delete our impacts on the environment.

But I think we're starting to do it from a very local perspective. We're looking at the idea of multiple use, and when we started to talk about integrated resource management, started to deal with the idea of what was in the ecosystem, we were starting to describe what was in a district and what was needed to be looked at when we were looking at a timber management plan.

My definition of "ecosystem" is probably different from everybody else's, but the environmental or scientific world has been working on this and they've defined "biological system," they've defined "ecosystem," and I believe the definition is there. I believe what we have to do is look at the strategies and objectives we have in managing the forest, and then we have to look at what an ecosystem entails, and then we have to relate our activities in terms of what the options are to impact on that system.

I see our personal responsibility as looking at it at least on a province-wide scale and looking at -- I've lost my word. Anyway, man impacts on the environment in a very large way. Sometimes we do a worse job; sometimes we do a better job. Our job is to make sure that that job is not irrevocable and that we don't damage something to the extent that it's not usable for another generation. In terms of looking at the ecosystem and our use of it or us within it, we have to always be looking at mitigating our effects on it.

The Vice-Chair: Thank you very much for that presentation. Unfortunately, we've run out of time. We certainly appreciated your presentation and we look forward to receiving the paper copy of your remarks. It is clear that you've already done quite a bit of thinking about this matter and we appreciate your sharing those thoughts with us.

Ms MacIntyre: Thank you.



The Vice-Chair: The next presenter is Jo Anne Fleming. Have a seat, please. You can sit in the middle if you want to -- it's up to you -- but this side might feel a little alienated.

Ms Jo Anne Fleming: In that case, maybe I should.

I received notice that I was going to be here this morning about 10 o'clock last night. Unfortunately, while I was out of town the past week, I was not reading Bill 171 as my bedtime reading, so the points I'm going to make today are more general in nature but I think reflect my feelings about this legislation, and I'd like to bring an historic context to it as well.

The Vice-Chair: We actually had your name on the agenda for several weeks.

Ms Fleming: I know. I was the one who put it there. I just had no idea when the hearings were going to be or where they were going to be or whether I was going to be heard, so that's where I'm coming from.

First of all, my name is Jo Anne Fleming. I have lived in the Sault Ste Marie area for a number of years now. I also have a business called Environmental Realities. It's educational in nature, target groups being businesses, schools and the general public.

When looking at this act, my first major concern has to do with the lack of definition of sustainability. That is a topic that has been discussed many times already, I'm sure, but I'd like to refer first of all to a brochure prepared by the Ministry of Natural Resources called Sustainable Forestry: Managing Ontario's Forests for the Future. It has a definition in it which I feel is fairly effective in expressing what sustainable forestry is: "It is forest management that ensures the long-term health of forest ecosystems. It contributes to global environmental benefits while providing an array of social, cultural and economic opportunities now and in the future."

That is the essence of what I think we should be moving towards as much as possible, but I'd like to add an historic context. I'm taking this information from the book Renewing Nature's Wealth, a centennial history of the natural resources of Ontario published in 1967. There is the feeling that the term "sustainability" was coined by Gro Brundtland and first heard in the Brundtland report when in fact it's been around for a long time. It has even been around for a long time in terms of legislation related to forestry in Ontario. In here there is a reference to the Pulpwood Conservation Act of 1929; that act required all pulp companies to supply government with complete information about their holdings and to plan their future management on a sustained yield basis. That was in 1929. Why are we still trying to figure out what it is and how to do it? That's something I really want us to take a look at today: Way back in 1929, directed to manage for sustained yield, and here we are yet.

Anyway, it was particularly interesting that when surviving members of the Department of Forests, as it was called back then, were asked to comment on that legislation and two other pieces that were passed at that time they called it "window dressing, intended more for political showmanship than for actual administration." I feel there is stronger will now because there's a lot of public pressure that the forests must be managed for multiple use and sustained yield, and certain legislation has been passed to move us in that direction. We cannot let whatever legislation is about to be modified or redrafted to be only for political showmanship rather than actual administration.

The history in the last five years within the Ministry of Natural Resources has been very rocky. They have lived through reorganizations to a nightmarish degree. These people have been moved around; they have been threatened with being moved; a number of people have lost their positions. The purpose of them being there in many cases has been shadowed or lost because there has been so much energy focused on reorganization and what's going to happen next.

The structure needs to be put in place, and then let's get on with the work of managing our forests for sustained yield. Let's not have history repeating itself, that 10 years from now we're calling this process only window dressing. This is the turnaround decade and many of us recognize that decisions made now -- we'll never have another chance to choose another direction because there is so little left.

In the past, economic success in forestry has been defined by the dollar value of goods and services produced, exchanged. Typical gross national product has been the measure of success. The world is changing, times are changing, and the economic model is no longer acceptable to many people. An economic model I'd like to refer to is called the green economic model, by Eakins. He identifies three criteria: community, sustainability and environment.

With community we're looking at people working together, we're looking at people having control over a resource in their neighbourhood, and we're looking at jobs that are long-term. Generally, we have been looking at employment in the forest industry as, let's just keep those jobs there for another two or three years or another five years, and we're not looking at it long-term and looking at it as a sustainable resource. When you look at the green economic model, using community as one of your criteria, the emphasis certainly does shift and there needs to be control at that level as well.

Sustainability is the second criterion of that economic model. With sustainability you've already heard a great deal today, I'm sure, about ecosystems and their fragility and the need to maintain that complexity and the health of that complexity.

Environment is your last criterion. Once again, you have your criteria which apply to the community and apply to the larger community, whether it's the region or the province, the continent or the globe. We are impacted by things happening in faraway places right here in the Algoma area.

When we look at jobs, current forest practices and the ones that have occurred for many years have tended to deplete much of the value of the forest. The newest job opportunities are seen only in terms of mills that will use chipboard or the lowest grade of wood that is still remaining. That's not sustainability and that's not building community and it's not building environment. There certainly needs to be some way of modifying this way of looking at the resource. I would go back to a point that Robin just made, of the need for education.

With our urbanization, there has been a great disconnection of people from the environment and there is very little awareness of what this choice today, about a hundred things we do, has an impact on. Frankly, that's what my business is about: trying to make people much more aware of the connections between the choice of what kind of paper you use, whether it's a recycled paper, whether it's a hemp-based paper, whether it's a wood-based paper, and what the impact is on the economic system and what the impact is on the environment. The more education that can be brought out to make people more aware of the impact of those choices, the more effective you're going to be and also the more effective we're going to be in needing less wood pulp in the first place.


I haven't seen any references to alternatives to growing trees on some of these sites as a source of pulp. I don't know if any reference during these hearings has been made to hemp or to sunflowers or some of the other fibre alternatives. I think those need to be addressed when you are looking at management of forest lands and a timber act. Hemp is a product that can be grown on a lot of --

Mr Hodgson: In basements.

Ms Fleming: Yes, it's grown in basements, but I'm talking about the low-level stuff that doesn't give you a buzz. Sorry about that. It grows throughout the Algoma area, and there are soil conditions here and in many other parts of the province that would support it, including areas such as the tobacco belts. They're struggling desperately to find alternative crops to grow on those soils as they're no longer growing tobacco. Those are potential sources of pulp that I think need to be looked at very hard. Yes, the world demand for pulp is going to continue to increase as the demand increases, especially in Third World countries. That's reality. However, I don't think trees are the only source of pulp. It's only for about the last 150 or 200 years that wood has been used to make paper. Prior to that, there were many other things used instead, whether papyrus in Egypt or whether rags or other plant fibre. Those are other sources of fibre for paper and I think that needs to be strongly addressed in what we're talking about here today.

There is a reference in here to auditing, and I made reference earlier also to the fact that the Ministry of Natural Resources has had its numbers cut drastically. The number of officers has been reduced. Because you have your offices being amalgamated, you have staff unfamiliar with many of the areas they're responsible for, so it's very difficult for them to be able to make well-informed decisions. How are you going to compensate for this and how is this really going to work?

As a member of the public, I need some reassurance that there are good things happening out there. I think you're well aware that the public has lost its faith in a lot of things that have been happening in recent years. There's a need to rebuild that faith. How do you do it? I think information is important and I think honesty is important, expressing honestly that in many ways there have been some very poor decisions made and we've paid a price for it, and saying, "Here's what we're doing to try to make it right." There has been a feeling that we can't possibly admit that we're wrong or we've made a mistake; we just gloss it over and move on. But I think the public would appreciate more honesty in what's happened historically and the promise that they will be kept properly informed of what you're working on now.

There are certainly many publications being produced at both federal and provincial levels, and here is a sample of them that are trying to get the word out. I think you are handicapped by information overload, that the average citizen is just bombarded with information from everywhere. It's important to package the message in such a way that it can rise to the top of all that other stuff that they're being fed.

It's a challenge and I don't have the answer, but I think these are really important issues that you need to take a look at very closely. There aren't going to be very many more chances for us to have another shot at dealing with the forest resource of Ontario.

That's all I have to say. If you have any questions, I'll do what I can to answer them.

Mr Bisson: First of all, thank you very much for your presentation and reminding us sometimes to remember that we have to take the time and appreciate what we've got, because sometimes we're in a little bit of a hurry to get what's in there.

Ms Fleming: That's right.

Mr Bisson: I just wanted to touch on something you've talked about, sustainability. Coming from a mining community, as do a couple of other of my colleagues, where we've seen communities that have been really been affected, like Ear Falls when an iron ore mine closed down, or Kirkland Lake or Temagami or Matheson or other places, I think we understand very well the effect on a whole community and what happens when you have a resource that is not able to come back. I guess that's one of the lucky things that we have with forests. They're self-generating. If we allow them half the opportunity, it's amazing what could happen in regard to keeping that in place.

It brings me to the question of when you talked about the definition, and you're not the first one to raise it. Other people have done the same. What we've been hearing is people saying, "We really want to have some clear benchmarks when it comes to the whole question of definition within the act."

I think back to some other discussions I've had around other pieces of legislation where people have talked and said, "Well, one of the problems is when we try to define things a little bit too clearly when it comes to things like that." I'll speak specifically, for an example, in regard to MISA when we were trying to come up with the definition of what the emissions would be under AOx and other things. Some people were saying, "We need to define that fairly clearly," but the definition changes all the time, because our technologies are getting better, our understanding is getting better, so the definition is never the same.

I'm not wedded one way or another, but I really wonder, would we not be limiting the definition of sustainability by trying to really clearly spell it out in the act, or am I just --

Ms Fleming: If I could trust the people who were doing it that they had a similar view to myself or were on the same path as myself in terms of knowledge about the existing technology and the importance of the resources and how they fit into the whole social and ecological fabric of our province and of our planet, I would be happy not to have it in there, but I don't have that trust, because the results to date haven't given that to me.

Mr Bisson: Do I have one second, just to follow up? I'll tell you what my problem is. One thing I have experienced in four years of government is that I think one of the mistakes we've done over the years in putting legislation together is sometimes -- and this is going back 100 years; this is not just under this government -- we've tried to be encompassing everything under legislation and to a certain extent we've sort of boxed ourselves in in some cases in having the flexibility to deal with what's happening around us.

I guess that's where I fear, and I guess the comment I would make is that it seems to me what we have to have is an informed public. If we have a questioning, informed public that is willing to take their governments and their elected officials and be accountable, I would much prefer to see a little bit more flexibility about how we define things in legislation, because I think we run into a problem if we really try to close things in to such an extent that there's not enough room to move and be able to deal with changing technologies, changing economies, all of the things that are out there.

I guess I'll just hear your comments on that. Are you still of the opinion that we've really got to corner this in?

Ms Fleming: I think it comes back to trust again.

Mr Bisson: "Trust me."

Ms Fleming: Trust you, yes. I still believe that it comes down to trust, and I've been involved in public advocacy, environmental issues and specific causes and so on and felt that I was talking to the wind far too often. There needs to be something in there that gives me the feeling that I'm really being heard and that what I'm saying is being considered. I haven't just taken my afternoon today to come and talk to a circle of people for a period of time and then I walk away and it doesn't matter and you can say you have done your duty by giving the public their say and so on. It's a two-way street. I don't envy the role that you are in either.

Mr Bisson: We love it. That's why we run for the position.

Ms Fleming: You are hearing from a lot of different people with a lot of different viewpoints, and I don't envy that role at all either. But I know, as a citizen who is very concerned about a number of issues and who is active about a number of issues, I burn out from time to time because I feel these things are important and I do my best to say them by letters, by conversations, by occasional hearings of this nature, and it doesn't feel like it's working and it doesn't feel like it's enough. If you can come up with a way of making that feel better for me, the citizen, then maybe I can trust that it's not as necessary to have as tight a definition of sustainability, but there are a lot of riders on there as I say that.


Mr Brown: You have raised a number of interesting points, and one of the things I think that is wonderful about being a member of the Legislature is that we tend to know a little bit about a lot of things and not a terrible amount about specific things. So we come here as generalists, and to have somebody come and talk to us with more specific knowledge is always good.

But some of the things that I guess we're hearing, and we've heard from the ministry, are some things that I think would cause some confusion in the mind of a generalist. One of those is, the ministry is suggesting that there's a 50% increase in harvesting available out there. In other words, we could increase our harvest of the forest by 50%. Then I hear a presenter such as you, and others, come before the committee and suggest to us, "Well, gee, we've been pretty terrible stewards of the forest for 150 years or 200 years" or whatever, and yet the ministry is suggesting and some studies have suggested that a 50% increase in the amount of cutting could take place.

I just wondered if you could help me resolve that in my own little mind.

Ms Fleming: How long do you have?

The Vice-Chair: About four minutes.

Ms Fleming: Oh, darn. Well, there was no time line given. If you want to increase the cut by 50%, that's fine, but the number of jobs that will be available for the time line will be substantially decreased, and I cannot possibly believe that it can be increased by 50%. You're calling that sustainable. First of all, it's absolutely impossible from anything that I've read --

Mr Brown: I'm not calling it anything.

Ms Fleming: -- seen or know. Secondly, they don't say in those figures what kind of wood they're cutting. In the past, they weren't cutting a number of different species and using them, and now there are plants available where they can use some of the scrap species that in the past would have simply been abandoned. So maybe that's where part of the 50% is coming from. I don't know.

There's lots of reading material around. If you had time to read it, sir, I think that would give you a much broader viewpoint on --

Mr Brown: I'm just trying to resolve these and I think over the next three weeks perhaps we'll get a little closer.

Ms Fleming: Okay.

Mr Brown: You've pointed out that the ministry is undergoing tremendous reorganization, downsizing, and it appears even to a dispassionate observer like the opposition critic that the Ministry of Natural Resources has been on the bottom of the list when it came to going to the Treasurer.

In the new stumpage regime that is being proposed, you will probably be aware they have something called "residual value." If prices for lumber, for example, are quite high, then the government charges more to the industry, and that seems fair. At least some people would think it's fair. But that money goes to general revenues. That isn't dedicated to the forests.

It seems rather odd to me that the residual value, the profit that the government intends to make, so to speak, is then allocated to something called consolidated revenue rather than put back into the forest. We all know there are deficiencies in the forest that can't be addressed at funding levels now, and yet we're going to take more money out of the northern economy and send it down to Mr Laughren or his successor that won't be spent in northern Ontario or on our forests? Any thoughts on that one?

Ms Fleming: Yes, strong thoughts. I wish I could understand the accounting system of the government. I don't understand why the money coming out of the forest isn't going back into the forest if it's going to be a sustained crop and therefore sustain the economy of that part of Ontario. It doesn't matter whether you're talking about a tire tax that goes into general revenue or stumpage fees that are going into general revenue. I can't justify that in my mind at all. It makes no sense whatsoever. It's really continuing to rape without any kind of repair, replanting, regenerating -- however. That's not sustainability. I don't care how you put it; it's simply not sustainability. We're talking jobs, we're talking communities, we're talking quality of life, we're talking about environmental quality. All of these issues are at stake and there are a lot of people who are being affected.

Mr Hodgson: Thank you very much for coming before us. You mention education would be the key to this and that the 1990s is sort of the last time frame that we have to correct a lot of these problems.

What I'm getting at is, you're obviously not happy with the status quo, the way we've been doing forest operations and treating our forests not as a whole ecosystem. Do you ever watch a TV show called Connections?

Ms Fleming: No.

Mr Hodgson: Life often has unrelated consequences to what rationally we can predict with the information we have available to us today. The faith of the population -- wanting the government to somehow walk on water and solve all these problems I don't think is realistic today. We're trying to do the best job we have with the information that we have available. The option of just standing still until we have further scientific data, by your own definition isn't an option because the status quo isn't working.

Ms Fleming: I agree.

Mr Hodgson: So do you have anything specific that you'd like to see us take into account in the forest management that's not mentioned in this bill or just in the preamble?

Ms Fleming: Generally, I would like to see it stop being an adversarial topic. I think much of government is seriously weakened by this adversarial --

Mr Hodgson: There are improvements in that regard, though. For instance, the town I come from, we have a mixed economy of tourism and lumbering and we're offering ecotourism courses.

Ms Fleming: Right.

Mr Hodgson: I think it's evolving. I don't know if you would call it a green economic model, but there seems to be a consensus developing around that.

Ms Fleming: I think it's beginning, yes.

Mr Hodgson: But we're limited with the scientific knowledge that we have to implement it. What might look rational today might have an unintended consequence in 20 or 30 years, and I don't think it's because of the lack of good intentions on behalf of the government; I think it's just a lack of information.

Ms Fleming: I think we come back to information overload, that there's just so much information out there.Mr Brown mentioned that he had been unfamiliar with some of these issues and I'm sure the amount of printed material that you folks are faced with in any given week would bury you completely.

How do we get this information into packages of sufficiently small size that you can actually read them and understand them and then apply that knowledge to your decisions, because I'm sure most of you are not foresters by training and yet you're supposed to be making decisions that have a great impact on forestry. Trying to sift through the knowledge that is there: Yes, there's been a great leap forward in knowledge about scientific things and the connection theory, as you call it, where for many, many years science was celebrated as being able to tell you everything about that little red light, but it had no idea of the impact of that light on that person sitting back there.

While many of the writings of the people talking about the new forestry, particularly on the west coast, Chris Maser, Herb Hammond and some of those, have done a lot of research on those impacts and given us a lot more insights as to what happens if you trap or poison the mice in a clear-cut area because they were eating the seedlings, when in fact they discover that the faeces of those mice are important for making certain nutrients available to the trees. There's all kinds of interactions that they do know about now. They certainly don't know them all, but they know a lot more than they used to and they can make more educated decisions. We call this the age of the information highway, and it's trying to process that information. There's a lot out there that we just aren't able to take into account in our decision-making because of this overload.


The Vice-Chair: Thank you very much, Ms Fleming, for your presentation. The time has run out. Certainly you did very well with what you consider quite a short preparation time. I think you left a lot of thoughts with us. It is appreciated, even though many of us are not experts in the field, but I think some of the issues that you raise go far beyond the forestry expert question and are of concern to all of us. Again, thank you for appearing before the committee.

Ms Fleming: Thank you very much for coming to Sault Ste Marie.


The Vice-Chair: The next presenter is Mike Barker. I understand he's here from Lajambe Forest Products. Would you have a seat, please. I think you have heard that it's half an hour, and if you have something in writing that you can leave with us, it would be appreciated. You can spend the half-hour whichever way you want, but some questions and answers would be appreciated. Please go right ahead.

Mr Mike Barker: Thank you very much, Mr Chairman, gentlemen, ladies. I appear to be the only representative from the forest industry on your agenda today. Since this is the first day of your deliberations, perhaps I'll take this opportunity, on their behalf, to welcome you to northern Ontario, those of you who aren't, and to the forests of Algoma and to a very challenging and important task.

For Lajambe Forest Products, I can also say that we support the principles of Bill 171. We view it as probably the most important forestry legislation in decades. I can say with some trepidation that we're ready for the changes that it presents and I can say that we wish to participate fully and constructively in its preparation.

I have two points that I'd like to raise today in the time allocated. I'm sure there are many others that need to be raised, but I'll count on my colleagues to do so in the coming weeks.

My first point is that the tourist industry should be bound by this act, as is the forest industry. For some years now, MNR has been engaged in increasingly complex and contentious timber management planning exercises. In many of these, MNR has the role of arbitrating between the loggers and the tourist businesses that propose to limit or prevent harvesting because these operations are detrimental to their business interest.

Now, tourism is an important economic enterprise. Just ask any tourist operator. We agree and we respect their desire to be in that business. We are prepared to work with them cooperatively wherever we can so that both parties can achieve their business objectives. All we ask is that both businesses that require the crown forest be bound by the same legislation, and we're not satisfied with how the proposed legislation deals with that issue.

The act, as it's laid out now, takes two sections to address the situation of the loggers and harvesters and the other businesses. In section 23, it appears to apply to those who would "harvest forest resources." There's no definition of "harvest" in the act, but I assume that section applies to logging operations. In that section, those granted licences must prepare inventories and management plans, must conform to silvicultural and other standards, must make reports, must have their performance reviewed periodically, must pay crown charges and must pay fines if they don't operate according to their licences. That's section 23 and, as far as I can tell, that applies to the loggers.

Section 24 states, and I'm just quoting so you won't have to look it up, "The minister may" grant other licences for those who wish to use the forest "for a designated purpose."

Then it goes on to talk about the licence requirements, and it's very much less specific than those in section 23 that I spoke of.

There is some clarification of this in the draft regulations under paragraph 1, and in the draft regulations they say, and again it's a quote, "A possible future example of this is protecting an area for the tourist industry."

That's pretty tentative stuff. There's no talk of plans; there's no talk of reports; there's no talk of performance reviews or, most notably, of crown charges or fines. And what's this about protecting areas? From what? Logging? As far as I can tell, according to the act, logging is an acceptable use of the forest. In fact, it's essential if the objectives of the act are to be met. So the wording of that portion suggests a troubling mindset to those of us in the logging industry.

The intervention of tourist enterprises in the timber management planning process to protect their business interests can cause considerable additional disturbance to the forest. That kind of disturbance is caused by loggers building extra roads to replace those now claimed by tourist businesses, by loggers building many additional kilometres of roads to protect or avoid a portage or a trail used mainly for the business purposes of the tourist operation, and by logging operations prohibited in certain areas at considerable economic and job loss because of the public access that their roads will create.

Speaking for Lajambe Forest Products, and I'm sure for many of the other members of the industry, we recognize and respect the right of the tourist industry to conduct its business in the forest. I say again, we're willing to work with them to avoid conflicts. We recognize it will take patience and understanding for us all to co-exist out there, but the forest is too important and it's too small for each business to have its own area set aside for its exclusive use.

So our request: Bind them by the act so that they pay their fair share for the land that they use and are governed by the same rules as our business. All we're looking for is a level legislative playing field on which to conduct our relations with other forest-based businesses. Both groups should be clearly identified as requiring forest resource licences defined in section 23, that first section that I spoke of.

MNR's policy framework for sustainable forests recognizes that problem when it states, "Users must pay for their use of the forest in relation to the benefits that they receive."

My second point can be stated quite a bit more briefly, although it's no less critical. That act that we're dealing with here is a framework. I'm sure you all recognize that, and we all recognize that the guts of this legislation is in the manuals and in the regulations that flow from it.

It's time that we had this act and it's time that we got on with things, but in order to do that, it's our perception that they've had to rush this thing to print to meet the tight time lines. I think that's the result of a very good effort on the part of MNR, to crunch this stuff out and get it into our hands, however late it may get there, but it is obviously a work in progress right now, especially the manuals.

We think that the manuals and the regulations need much closer scrutiny before the bill goes to the House, so I'm suggesting that you ask MNR to do another round of stakeholder reviews and report back to you on these manuals. Don't amend the schedule; just ensure some special attention is paid to the manuals and the regulations.


I'm not suggesting delaying the legislation, but only making sure that issues such as I've put on the table this afternoon having to do with the tourist industry get an opportunity to be fully discussed before the door closes on them with the third reading.

Thank you for your time and consideration. It's been a pleasure, and I'll be happy to try and answer any questions I can.

The Vice-Chair: Thank you very much, and the first person to have a question is Mr Ramsay.

Mr Ramsay: Welcome, Mike. We've dealt with each other in government. Nice to see you prospering in the private sector, and thanks for coming before us this afternoon.

I was quite intrigued by your suggesting that we should have a level legislative playing field for your industry and the tourism industry and I think that's something that should be discussed. You sort of asked the question, where there are incredible requirements now under this act for forestry companies in laying out their plans and doing their studies and there's incredible accountability here being demanded of forestry companies, you're saying the same thing should be applied to tourist operators.

Without arguing that point, because you may be right, I guess what strikes me as to why that's in here is that you're into a consumptive type of operation, and by and large I would guess most tourist operators -- you know, there's fish taken out of the lakes etc, but it's fairly non-consumptive and I guess a lot more benign in operation than forestry. However, you make the point that we should be assured that we are getting value as the crown from that industry, and maybe we should be spelling out some more requirements from that other industry.

I can certainly see they may not be quite to the same extent, because your operation is quite a different type of operation in the forest than maybe somebody working on a tourist lodge, but what you're saying is equal accountability, I take it. Do you want to expand a little more just on that whole principle? It really is a different type of operation, but --

Mr Barker: Yes, it's different, Mr Ramsay, and of course we recognize that, and the terms of the licence under that section 23 that I mentioned are perfectly able to take that into account.

It's a question of having everybody who's at the table rolling with the same dice and being bound by the same rules. It's easy to object to something if you don't have to pay for the results. I think people would feel differently about objections or about suggestions if they in fact had money on the table that they were going to pay for crown rent or for crown charges or if they were going to be held accountable for the plans they propose.

In terms of the consumptive nature, of course logging is a consumptive use. I don't see that as a negative thing. Consumption up to a sustainable level is in fact desirable, if I understand the legislation. So it's a matter of, as long as we don't consume more than what is sustainable, and we certainly don't wish to do that, then it's a matter of, will we have sufficient quantity that's consumable for us to be sustainable, and that's the risk at the moment. The amounts that may not be available to us because they're made available to someone exclusively may affect our sustainability and the credibility of the act as well.

Mr Ramsay: Okay. Another statement you'd made is that you object to any sort of user having exclusive use of the resource. Again, as has been said around this table, that's difficult to come to grips with, because I suppose at the time you're cutting you kind of have exclusive use of that piece of land, then over years other users can come on to the land, whether it's harvesting blueberries or doing whatever.

The nature of remote tourism, is to offer a certain type of experience that probably does exclude a lot of other users. We could say unfortunately, but that's what that attraction is, and I don't know how we rationalize that. You would be against giving any sort of exclusivity to any group, even if they be so small a part of the economy? You think everything should be multiple use?

Mr Barker: What I'm saying is that a group that wishes to have exclusive use should be licensed and should go through the same process as we do.

Mr Ramsay: And pay for the privilege.

Mr Barker: And pay for the privilege.

Mr Brown: Just along that line -- and thank you, Mr Barker, for coming; I think you're making some interesting points -- I'm wondering why you chose just the tourism industry. There are others out there. There are the hunters and anglers of Ontario who believe they have rights to hunt and fish in all kinds of areas, and your operations often impact on them. I'm thinking of crown land for development use, crown land use permits, a whole range of things that are there.

You make a very interesting point, and I think one that the committee has to think about: Why are there not obligations? If we're talking about sustainability and multi-use and all these nice things that we all talk about, why is it that in this act the only people who have any responsibility or onus put on them are the people actually harvesting? It's just an interesting point and I'm glad you raised it.

Mr Barker: If I may, Mr Chairman, an important point to keep in mind is the interest of the public in this whole exercise. I'm in no way suggesting that members of the public should have to go through the same process that businesses do. In excluding anglers and hunters and fishermen, I'm considering them as members of the public and as such know that their rights and their obligations will be met by the government at large.

Mr Hodgson: Thank you very much, Mike, for coming today and expressing this to us. Your company operates roughly five sawmills and you have a lot of crown management areas, but you also import logs from Michigan and places to try to keep the sustainability of the local economy alive. Do you see this act as helping? The bottom line in business is that you have to be competitive. I suppose your competition's not only here in Ontario but in the international market. Do you see this act as helping in the sustainability of the jobs that you provide to these communities?

Mr Barker: That's a difficult question to answer. The act is necessary, and sometimes you have to do difficult things to do the right thing. The right thing to do is to harvest and to manage the forest sustainably. That's going to make it difficult for us to operate and it's going to cause us to have to operate more in the United States and buy logs in a way that threatens our sustainability, but it's what we have to do. We recognize that and we're prepared to do it.

Mr Hodgson: Our party's been producing papers and meeting with groups to try to make it so that all business in Ontario is competitive and from that sense be sustainable in terms of creating jobs, not only in the short run but in the long term, the private sector creating real jobs for people, to improve our standard of living here in the province. That pays for the social services that we receive and the health care that we take for granted.

Do you see anything that the government of Ontario could be doing in conjunction with this bill? I'm thinking of WCB rates, the cost of hydro, the taxes. Do you care to comment on that?

Mr Barker: I'm sorry but I don't.

Mr Hodgson: You don't? Okay.

Mr Barker: I'm not well enough prepared. Sorry.


Mr Hodgson: That's another day. Okay.

I've just got one more question in regard to this framework of legislation, as you call it. It also sets up the framework for the new business relationship or what's referred to as the Carman exercise. Do you have any comments on that, in regard to how it fits in with this act?

Mr Barker: It's painful for the industry to have to accept these extra costs. The money has to be found somewhere to pay for the regeneration, but I think generally the industry has accepted that responsibility. I feel that probably any concerns that remain are more in the how-tos rather than the principle, because we do subscribe to the principle that if you take it out, you've got to put it back in. Somebody has to do that and we feel competent to do that, but there is plenty of jockeying and negotiation and arguing that has to be done about the actual how-tos of that exercise.


Mr Hodgson: Just finally, will you provide the committee with specifics on how you'd like to see this bill amended?

Mr Barker: I'd be happy to. I avoided doing so, but I would be happy to do that if you'd like to see that.

Mr Hodgson: If it's okay with the Chair.

The Vice-Chair: If you do that, send it to the clerk. We appreciate it.

Mr Barker: Fine.

Mr Hodgson: Thank you very much, Mr Chair. That's all the questions I have.

Mr Carr: Mr Barker, just one quick question also. In terms of the industry, maybe you'd just give us a bit of an overview of what has happened to your industry, the number of players and the number of jobs over the last few years. Obviously, you've been a survivor. Maybe you could just very briefly give us a bit of an update of what's happening to some of the other people. Where is your industry standing now in terms of numbers and employment and so on?

Mr Barker: My knowledge of the state of the industry is certainly not encyclopaedic, but I can say that the industry, as with other industries in Canada, has managed to survive the recession. Things are looking up for our industry, as they are generally in the economy, and we're convinced that there's a bright future for the forest industry in Ontario, and we believe that there is a forest resource there. If it's managed well, it will provide what's necessary for us to be here for ever, because we intend to be here for ever, and we intend to use the forest, each part of the forest, over and over and over again.

For example, the areas that my company currently logs in the Algoma area, many of them have been cut once or twice before. We're going back for the third time. We expect to go back for a fourth and a fifth time. As things grow back, we'll go back and harvest them, the same as you would in a garden, and that's our expectation.

Mr Carr: Thank you. Good luck.

Mr Bisson: Thank you very much, Mr Barker, for your comments. I'm just interested, though, in your comments basically the whole premise -- and I guess it's one that most people wouldn't argue with -- is that if you're going to utilize the forest, everybody should sort of pay their fair share I guess is what the bottom-line message is. But I want to go a little bit past that, because I find it somewhat intriguing.

I heard you at one point, and I think I misunderstood you and that's why I want to clarify it, that you were basically saying something along the lines of -- I've got it written down; I'll just do the best I can -- protecting areas for tourism. You were talking about -- I can't remember how you put it, but here's the gist of it. I'll try to be non-combative. I guess that's a problem I'm having right now.

What you were basically saying is that you want to work with tourist outfitters, but you want to make sure they're bound to this act and you want to make sure they pay their fair share. But how do you define that fair share, because the revenue that you generate with a hectare of land or an acre of land is obviously a lot different than what they would generate with a hectare or an acre of land. How would you define that, first of all?

The second thing is, are you then saying, if your value is higher, then maybe you have more tenure to the land or to the use of the forest?

Mr Barker: Mr Bisson, I'm not competent to define the value of a tourist operation or even of a logging operation very well, because there are all kinds of intrinsic values that go with both. I couldn't do that. That's the job of the land owner, of the landlord, and in this case the government is represented by the Ministry of Natural Resources.

I would expect those definitions to be made on a case-by-case basis, depending on the situation. There are many different kinds of logging operations and they're charged different rates for different things. There are very many different kinds of tourist and other businesses that do require and want to use the forest that I think should be paying, and I would count on the Ministry of Natural Resources to devise a system of fees for that.

Mr Bisson: But is your view that the tourism business is not paying its fair share for the use of the forest? Is that sort of the premise?

Mr Barker: No, it's not, but I must just respond to your second point to cover that. It may appear as though my whole premise is based on the idea, if I can set these guys up so the value is lower, then everybody will say: "Well, that's fine. Obviously, logging would earn us more. Let's do logging."

Mr Bisson: That did cross my mind.

Mr Barker: I'm not doing it for that reason. I'm quite certain that, in its wisdom, the government or the ministry or whoever would say that there's benefit in having a balance of industries, of businesses, in this area, and let's take a look at what the best balance is. It's in that exercise of bringing the balance that we'll get a better situation than we have now, where we're up there and everybody's shooting at us.

Mr Bisson: Ahh.

Mr Barker: Let's get us all together where we can talk together on an equal playing field.

Mr Bisson: Now I've got you. Thank you.

Mr Wood: Thank you, Mr Barker, for coming forward and raising a number of points. I want to just touch on the point that you raised on the manuals, that the manuals are really the meat of the legislation and that the legislation doesn't mean anything without the manuals.

I want to make a point that in the briefing this morning over a couple of hours, our MNR people pointed out that based on what we hear here and the stakeholders out there, any information that they have is going to be incorporated into updating them in September and the beginning of October. So the point you've raised that that has to be done, the commitment is there that it's going to be done.

The Vice-Chair: Thank you very much. We certainly appreciate your presentation. You can be assured that you won't be the only presenter from the forest industry. We're going on to other places, but we did appreciate your welcome.


The Vice-Chair: The next presenter, Kathleen Brosemer, unfortunately cannot be here. However, she has sent someone else and, with the permission of the committee, we can give this gentleman the opportunity to speak. Mark Crofts. Perhaps you could introduce yourself and tell us what the relationship is between yourself and Ms Brosemer. You have half an hour.

Mr Mark Crofts: My name is Mark Crofts and I'm a resident of Sault Ste Marie city. Kathy Brosemer works with a community group called Clean North, and she unfortunately was not able to be here this afternoon. I met her at another meeting this morning and she said, "Could you take the opportunity that I'm going to have to pass up this afternoon?"

I'm not speaking on behalf of Clean North; I'm speaking on behalf of myself, my family, citizens of Sault Ste Marie only. If that meets with the committee's approval, I'll proceed. As a couple of the previous speakers have mentioned, unfortunately I have not had a lot of time to prepare for this presentation. Please bear with me.

I did take an opportunity to dig through a couple of pictures. Again, I represent here myself, my family. I've got a daughter who's four years old and a son who's 16 months and I guess, in my heart, I want them to see the forest that I have had the benefit of seeing. I'm a young person. I've had the benefit of seeing a lot of areas of the province and I want my family to enjoy the natural treasures that this province has.

I'm very concerned about the responsible stewardship of the local forest. I'm certain that it can provide the jobs from the forest industry, the tourist industry, and everything in between. I'm sure that can happen without the degree of conflict that is so unfortunate about the present situation.

I'm certain, though, that we have to start thinking about forestry beyond the next 24 months. Where is the next allocation going to be? We have to think 50 years down the road; we have to think 250; we have to think 500 years down the road. That's not something we've proven ourselves to be very good at.

We have to look, I think, at where we have a competitive advantage in forest products. Do we really have a competitive advantage in chipboard and oriented strand board, or does this country have a competitive advantage in oak and cherry and white pine, sawlogs and veneer logs, the top-quality wood that you just cannot grow anywhere else in the world other than on this continent?

I'm concerned with the impact on local jobs. My family's here; I'd like to keep them here. If the sawmilling industry were to end, one of the job options that my kids would have would cease to exist and that does worry me.


When we're talking about the piece of legislation that we've got before us, I guess my key concern would be, what is sustainability? Again, a couple of speakers have noted that earlier this afternoon. Nowhere in here could I get a clear sense of what forestry sustainability is. I would implore you to make sure that is in the document and to make sure that it's a holistic definition, not a strict legal definition.

This is a picture of a forest -- I'll pass it around -- that would be typical to areas that have been harvested before. This is what you call a plantation, and this is, in some people's minds, sustainable forestry. This is red pine and it's planted in rows, very, very nice, much like a garden. We heard that being referenced.

So there's a picture of one end of the sustainable forestry continuum, analogous, really, to a cornfield. We can use that land area as a farm. We can produce these trees in rotation. After a hundred years of growth, we'll go in and cut them down and we'll plant some more and we'll go in and cut them down again a hundred years later. I don't know if that's sustainable forestry. I would argue that it's not.

I don't normally quote Peter Newman. He writes in Maclean's magazine. I don't normally quote him as an environmentalist, but he had a really interesting article in a magazine a couple of months ago and he talked about the changes in trees, trees that are grown like corn. They grow faster so the growth rings are wider apart usually. He's arguing here, referring to a scientist, that the trees are not the same; the wood quality is not the same.

So in that picture we have a sustainable forest, but is the product that's coming out of it really what the industry wants? Is it what the end user really needs? It might be white pine but it might not be as strong as the first growth, the old-growth forest. It might have different characteristics.

I guess the other end of the continuum is an ecological definition of what sustainability is, of what sustainable forestry is. I must applaud this government for doing a lot of work related to forestry. You've got this report that you can refer to, the report of the Ontario forest policy panel. There's the Old Growth Policy Advisory Committee. You've got a report just issued from the Environmental Assessment Board related to class environmental assessments for timber management activities on crown land. They all make some very interesting recommendations, some good, some that I don't personally feel go far enough.

But you've got a lot of information at your disposal, and I would urge you to strongly look at the ecological definition of what sustainable forestry is and test that definition. Test it against a couple of different interest groups. Test it against the tourism industry, test it against the blueberry pickers, test it against the sport fishermen, test it against the native community and see if it stands up as a true definition of sustainable forestry.

If it does, then write it down in the act, clearly lay it out in the manuals so that the area forestry people, whether they're forestry-trained or biology-trained or community development-trained -- because I think a good thing that's happening to forestry is that we're getting a lot of different people involved in the industry now, not just the classically trained professional forester. Test it against all of those people and put it in the manual in terms that they will understand, in terms that they can relate to on-the-ground activities every day.

I've got an article that was in the local paper here not months ago: "The Ministry of Natural Resources prescribes a tough remedy for junk forests. High-grading ending: Lajambe told to install lower-quality measures." The Minister of Natural Resources was here a couple of weeks ago to talk about project sustainability, how local woods industries are going to have to adapt their plants, their machines, for lower-quality wood.

Going back to my son and my daughter, I don't get the sense that's sustainable forestry. I get the sense that the acts that we've had, the legislation that we've had before lacked something, that there was something missing. The intentions may have been good but the people who design to make sure that those are carried out into everyday practice in the field -- it didn't happen. The minister said that the forests are junk forests because of 80 or 90 years of poor management, and I don't think he meant that was 80 or 90 years ago; I think he meant that it's continuing up until the present day, as we sit here.

It's got to be laid out, the terms of sustainability and what it means on the ground, in the forests, at the front or the back end of a skidder. It has to be laid down so that everybody can understand it and so that we can audit it later on.

One of the critical things I believe also is that we should set aside very large areas, watershed based, that we don't do anything on, because as we learn more, I think we get a sense of how wrong we were in the first place.

One case I want to illustrate is the sugar bush; again, a truly Canadian thing. For a millennium the native people used the sugar maple as a source of -- it was a forest product, one of the first, very sustainable, I would argue. Then along came the scientific methods of forestry and the scientific methods of business and now we've got reverse osmosis machines, we've got gas-fired evaporators and we've got problems with overtapping. How is that impacting on what should be the most sustainable of any forest resource? You don't even have to cut the tree down. You can harvest that resource year after year.

Now I hear worrying ideas about maple syrup orchards. We can plant these trees just like a garden and we don't have to worry about the trilliums and the dogwood and the alder getting in the way. We can just plant maple trees and that'll be really nice because they'll be evenly spaced and we can drive the tractor down the rows really nicely; easy to tap. We can plant them on a hillside so that the lines will drain automatically. Is that sustainable forestry? Or will we discover, like we have in sugar bush management, that the other species of the forest, the other tree species, the other shrub species, little critters in the ground that we don't even know what -- we haven't named them yet, that there are all these interactions there between the maple trees and all these other beings, that we don't understand.

By going back to the industrial forest, I guess, I think it's important that we set aside very large areas to leave them alone because it might be that in a month or two years from now or three years from now or 50 years from now: "Oh, we've been doing it all wrong. We've got to apply our expertise in a different way."

I'm using that point to describe the continuum between ecological forest sustainability and industrial forest sustainability. When you hear the word "garden," they're talking about, "We're going to manage the forest like a garden," I become worried. That's industrial forest sustainability. The ecological approach; Nature has proved that it can work. We just have to slow down our consumption perhaps to let that occur, to make sure that we've got the quality wood in this district, around the province, that we've got the competitive advantage for, and let other people grow the low-quality wood for chips and strand board and that type of thing.


I'm not sure of the plans the committee has, but I would urge you, I would implore you to go out in the field and see where sustainable forestry practices are being applied, and hopefully you'll find some areas. Go and see them and then get another group, like the tourist industry or the canoeists' association, to test that. Maybe give them some intervenor funding to provide you with the other side of the story. Is that truly sustainable forestry in their mind?

Mr Bisson makes an excellent point. You're in a position where you've got all these conflicting requests for use of the land. That's a very, very difficult position to be in.

We've seen on the east coast a classic example of where those competing interests have played out for maybe 100 years or more. I would implore you, for the sake of my kids, to take the leadership, as our elected representatives, and set some very strong guidelines about what sustainable forestry is, as we should have 25 years ago related to sustainable use of the cod fishery.

I guess I look at the high-quality wood that should come out of our forest as the terrestrial cod. There's not much left. We can talk about increasing the harvest from the forest 50% maybe. That's fine if you're talking about birch and poplar and maybe alder. There's a lot more of that now than there used to be even 10 years ago.

But will my kids get to see the high-quality, old-growth white pine forest? Will my daughter get the chance to be a woodworker and work with that stuff and make doors and window sashes and toys and that type of thing? It's a precious resource. I don't think we really realize what we've got there.

I'm not in the business usually of quoting Peter C. Newman, but I think his arguments that he makes here are quite applicable to this situation. I quote him here:

"A tree is not a vertical stick with green fuzz at the top. It's part of a local, regional ecosystem whose value is beyond calculation."

He notes that the dispute about the forest is a dispute about values:

"What kind of society," he writes, "do we want to perpetuate in these northern latitudes? Is it the short-term gain of harvesting wood for profit? Is it worth interfering massively with the essential function of the forests?"

I have and will continue to enjoy the products that come from the forest. I'm not arguing to preserve the whole forest and stay out of it. I think we can use it wisely. We've proven that in some small areas.

But again the main argument I wish to make is that it's essential to get the definition, the field definition, into this act. It might increase the act threefold in terms of volume, but it's important to write those principles down so that everybody understands what happens when the skidder is ready to go into the woods. It can go in in an ecological fashion or it can go in in an industrial fashion. I think it's up to the committee to make sure that there's a good balance there at least, hopefully favouring the ecological side.

I'd like to thank you for the opportunity to speak with you this afternoon. I'm honoured to have had the opportunity to do so.

The Vice-Chair: Thank you for coming. Mr Hodgson or Mr Carr?

Mr Hodgson: Not for me, thanks. I just want to thank you for coming. I enjoyed it.

Mr Carr: Yes, I had one. Quite a few people have talked about the definition and gone into some of the detail, and one of the other presenters, I guess it was Robin, way back said that in the regulations, she's in agreement with what was in there. Have you read the definition in the regs at all?

Mr Crofts: In the draft legislation?

Mr Carr: Yes, the full regulation.

Mr Crofts: No. Sorry.

Mr Carr: So it's unfair to get you to comment on it. As you know, the big problem we've got, and I think everybody's pointed it out, is how do you do it and do it properly, but nobody's really even given us a stab at it as sort of a draft of what they would like to see. Now, recognizing a lot of the people aren't lawyers, and Robin admitted that, and you've talked a little bit about it, is there any way you can even be a little bit more specific in terms of what you would like to see to help the ministry? As I see it, that's one of the problems. They're being told to be a little bit more definite, but it's difficult to do. Do you think it's possible for some of the people like yourself to really give a stab at doing a definition where you could say, "This is what I'd like to see"? Could that be done, do you think?

Mr Crofts: I think there'd be many people who would look forward to the opportunity to work on that as part of a team, with the industry, with the tourist trade, with the wilderness parks lobby. I believe a lot of it is already out there; it's already printed. Bringing that all together might be a monumental task, but it has to be done.

I think the ministry does have -- I'm not sure of this -- prescriptions or books to assist the foresters, the biologists in their work in the field, and trying to put a different perspective in those manuals, a more ecological perspective, I think is essential and it's got to be done.

Mr Carr: Just so you know, this is the same thing that legislative committees deal with in putting it in the regulations or legislation. Legislation is tougher to change. There was some talk, and I think Gilles said that with the way things change, in regulations it's much easier to change it. You don't have to come back, open it up, have the crazy politicians debate in the Legislature. Regulations can be changed very quickly. Not only on this issue but other ones, there's some merit to doing it in the regulations.

Most of the people have said, no, put it in the legislation, a couple of them because they don't trust politicians or the political process. That's your recommendation, that you would like it entrenched in the legislation, and giving up maybe some flexibility later on?

Mr Crofts: I think we've got the results right now. We're right at the edge of the next hill. The next hill is stop. There are no more hills to go over to find a virgin forest and that has all happened legally. It's all happened under the tacit approval of all the legislation we've got. We've got it all written down and yet this situation has occurred.

To me, it requires that it be written in legislation in more detail, and that the legislation be described and translated into everyday format that can be used every day by the biologist or the ecologist who leads the forestry allocations in the area. I think it's a two-pronged approach. It has to be in everyday language, but it has to be entrenched in the act as well.

Mr Fletcher: Thanks for your presentation. I'm not sure if I'm a preservationist or a conservationist. I just don't know because, personally -- and this is personally, okay? I'm not speaking on behalf of the government or anything else, just my own personal view -- I think the forests can take care of themselves. I also think we have enough other products around that could be grown that could make paper, that could make cardboard, that could make anything, and you'd never have to see another tree cut down. That's where I would like to see it go. Again, that's a personal opinion.

I'm coming back up here next week. I'm going on a canoe trip in Killarney, so I'm going to have a lot of fun. That's one of the other things. Ever since I was young, growing up -- I do a lot of camping throughout Ontario -- when you go into an area, you leave it the way you found it and you don't mess around with it. You don't rip branches off trees and you don't do things like that.

My father-in-law has a maple syrup factory -- I call it a factory -- and I'm out there every spring, January, February and March. We're out there doing a lot of things. He does have the pumps and things, but we rotate the trees also, so some years some trees don't get tapped, and he's pretty good that way.

Mr Crofts: He's taking an ecological approach to it.

Mr Fletcher: Yes, and he also has the MNR coming in helping him to weed out the forest, his bush, so that the saplings can grow and everything else. He's also planted. We go round planting different trees and we've just finished planting some white pine, which is nice; there aren't too many of them left.

As far as sustainability is concerned, you've just heard my view. Where do we reach a balance when it comes to that? On a personal level, and I am a member of the government, but on a personal level that's what I would like. I would like to see the forests left alone and they can sustain themselves.

Mr Crofts: Personally, it would be presumptuous of me to provide a definition of "sustainable forestry." I think there are some good ones around.

The main reason behind my coming before you today is to try to give my sense of the continuum of what people think is sustainable forestry. That row on row of red pine is sustainable forestry to some people. Some people think sustainable forestry is to plant up the roads and keep everybody out altogether; that's sustainable.


Personally, along that continuum, I support the wise use of trees out of the forest, but I don't support the industrial use. I don't support the application of industrial principles to that forest, because it's a natural forest. Industry would keep fire out, for instance, but letting fire burn through Killarney might be a good thing; it's happened from time immemorial, and it should happen now. Certain species of trees rely on fire to get started.

Mr Fletcher: That's right.

Mr Crofts: If we don't let fire burn through and we want white pine, then one of the options you'll hear is to spray the forest with herbicide. That's why we need this tending money, that's why we need this forest trust fund, to get into areas with thinning saws and herbicides to suppress all the weed trees so that we can grow our commercial corn crop of white pine or jack pine or whatever. I don't think we've got the money for that, and I think nature can do it for us if we're just patient enough.

Mr Fletcher: Does someone else have a question?.

The Vice-Chair: A very short one by Mr Ramsay.

Mr Fletcher: You can wait for me, then. I have seen these forests that have been planted, and what I have seen also, after time -- I'm talking 15 or 20 years, after that amount of time; going by them the first time and going back another 15 or 20 years later -- is the undergrowth that's starting. It's a great forest to play hide-and-seek in, isn't it? You can't get away from anyone. But it's only because they let it go that way and the sun that gets into it. But again, it isn't the right kind of undergrowth that's coming in; it's more of the scrap stuff that's coming in.

Mr Crofts: Well, it's the right kind of undergrowth because that's what nature intends to be on that site.

Mr Fletcher: I'm not sure if it's nature that's doing all of it, though.

Mr Crofts: In most cases it would be, because if you've got a forest like that it would be very rare to have a classically trained forester go in and plant poplar or white birch underneath it. That would be very rare. From a restoration point of view, what that picture likely was at one time was an old field of blow sand. So that forest is much better, from a restoration point of view, than what was there, because at one time it was sand; through farming we had created a field out of it.

There would be a certain element of the forestry profession that would like to see that style of forestry applied up north, and you do see examples of that, where the pine are strip planted in straight rows and we take whatever precautions we can, herbicides or saws, to keep the poplars and the alders and the birch out of there, because that's the crop in our garden.

Mr Fletcher: Is there a problem with tree farms? I mean, really, if a logging company planted here and had them planted and then cut here and left that one alone and replanted and let it grow again and cut here, when they finally come back around, they're ready again.

Mr Crofts: Personally, I wouldn't support that, but that might be an option your committee could look at as a middle ground. We will use certain areas of our land base intensively; other areas we won't use as intensively; other areas we won't use at all. So that might be a middle ground perhaps.

Mr Ramsay: Actually, that's exactly where I was going to come in, because I wanted to get you to try to reconcile for me your dislike for gardening and farming of trees with your view that also you'd like to see more set aside, because I don't think you can have it both ways. If we want more set aside, and I'm not necessarily saying I'm against that, then maybe we should be using some land more intensively.

There's a lot of land, you said, that was probably farmed and maybe farmed poorly; there's lots of land that maybe has been inappropriately cleared in Ontario that's marginal farm land. I've seen it in my area and in Timiskaming three times sort of grow back into tag alder and brush and scrub and that, and then somebody comes in and clears it again, and then the farming economy goes down the tubes and there it grows again. Maybe some of this land should be reforested. Most of this land would be near some of the big plants. Maybe, instead of tramping all through the bush and transporting logs hundreds of miles back to the plant, we should be taking an area within a 100-mile radius or something of a plant and farming some of that, especially when you're talking about poplar species, where we can clear-cut and it suckers up. So then you could have more wilderness areas if you were more intense in other areas. But this is what we have to reconcile.

Mr Crofts: Subscribing to the classic gardening kind of analogy to what forestry should be, you could do that, but just as in your garden, if you don't put compost or if you forget about the little exchanges, the little micro-organisms that are in that garden, if you destroy the soil by too much working, your garden, even though it's close to your house or close to the mill, won't sustain you for very long. Remember, at the outset I implored you to think about not 50 years down the road but 500 years down the road. What is that land in Timiskaming going to look like? Will we have forested it so intensively that it will grow nothing but tag alder, or will we forest it ecologically, take a little bit, take a sustainable amount so that all the ecological functions will carry on as they have since the glaciers? That's the only way we're going to sustain our economy, I believe, into the future.

Mr Ramsay: If we do that, and obviously based on those principles that's not a bad idea, then it's very hard to reconcile more and more set aside. We need to then look at all our forest as being accessible but in a very sustainable way.

Mr Crofts: We need to look at our consumption, yes. If our economy requires that we consume every possible stick of wood that we have on our land base, then we might be motivated that way. If you're talking sustainability and talking sustainable economy, we have to start talking about what our economy really needs, what is our competitive advantage. Is our competitive advantage to grow poplar for waferboard or is our competitive advantage to grow pine over 200 years or 250 years for high-quality sawlogs, or red oak veneer? My thought is that it's in the latter, not the former. Any country, including Brazil, can grow trees much faster than we can for those low-grade purposes. They can't grow red oak veneer; they don't have it down there.

The Vice-Chair: Thank you very much for coming on relatively short notice and sharing your thoughts with us. It's much appreciated. This concludes the hearings for today. The committee stands adjourned.

The committee adjourned at 1628.