Wednesday 17 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

Northern Ontario Tourist Outfitters Association

Jim Antler, research analyst


Brennain Lloyd, group liaison

Brinkman and Associates Reforestation

John Lawrence, manager

Mattawa and Area Forestry Committee

Mike Brophy, chair

Normick Perron Inc

Robert Jackman, planning forester

Alain King, operations manager

Gerard Laforest, forestry director

Russell Williams, planning forester

Ron Magee

Grant Forest Products Corp

Bob Fleet, woodlands manager

Aurora Friends of Nature

Klaus Wehrenberg, board member


*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

Also taking part / Autres participants et participantes:

Wood, Len, parliamentary assistant to Minister of Natural Resources

Clerk / Greffier: Carrozza, Franco

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

The committee met at 0903 in the Pinewood Park Inn, North Bay.


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): It being past 9 o'clock, I call the meeting of the standing committee on general government to order. We're here to continue the public hearings on Bill 171, An Act to revise the Crown Timber Act to provide for the sustainability of Crown Forests in Ontario.


The Vice-Chair: The first presenter this morning, from the Northern Ontario Tourist Outfitters Association, is Mr Antler. You have half an hour. You can take the time as you wish. However, we usually like some time for questions and answers at the end, perhaps 10 minutes, something like that. Please go right ahead.

Mr Jim Antler: I'm expecting my remarks to last approximately 15 minutes.

Mr Chairman, committee members and other distinguished guests, before I make my remarks on the bill today, I'd just like to preface my comments with a little bit of background on the association that I represent.

The Northern Ontario Tourist Outfitters Association, or NOTO for short, is a non-profit trade and advocacy association that represents the interests of what we call the resource-based tourism industry in northern Ontario. This industry comprises primarily fishing and/or hunting resorts and lodges, housekeeping cottage resorts, air services, outpost camps, canoe outfitters, campgrounds and trailer parks. Currently, this sector of the tourism industry numbers approximately 1,600 businesses in northern Ontario and generates approximately $400 million in direct and indirect revenues. Since the formation of NOTO in 1929, it has served as the respected voice of this industry on issues ranging from all forms of natural resource management to business issues, taxation and marketing.

Our interest in Bill 171 stems from a long interest in the management of Ontario's forests and its natural resources and how management activities in the forest can impact on the viability of tourism operations. Most recently, our interest has been demonstrated through our participation as a full-time party to the timber class environmental assessment hearings and through our involvement in the many forest management initiatives and policy development exercises undertaken by and through the Ministry of Natural Resources in the past few years. This has included involvement in the work of the comprehensive Ontario Forest Policy Panel, the community forest initiative, the work of the old growth forest advisory committee and the development of a new business relationship with the forest industry in Ontario, which some people may know as the Carman exercise.

On June 1, the Honourable Howard Hampton, Minister of Natural Resources, introduced Bill 171 into the provincial Legislature for first reading. The introduction of this proposed legislation was seen as another step by the Ontario government and the ministry towards sustainable forest management in Ontario. It followed on the heels of a number of recent initiatives that I mentioned earlier that had been undertaken to address forestry issues in the province. In fact, many citizens of the province have been somewhat overwhelmed by the scope of these initiatives, to the point where I've heard some confusion begin to set in as far as where one initiative ends and the next one begins. Nevertheless, the bill is now before the citizens of the province to serve as the legal framework by which the crown will manage the forests of Ontario.

NOTO supports the need for new legislation to replace the existing Crown Timber Act, and believes Bill 171, in its current form, is a good step in that direction. We do have a number of concerns, however, regarding some of the wording of the bill and wish to suggest some improvements to the legislation for your consideration today. Our comments are organized in chronological fashion, following the articles contained within Bill 171.

Under part I of the act, we believe the very first section is deficient because it does not contain any definition of sustainability or enunciate any firm principles of sustainability that could be used or should be used to set the framework for the rest of the act.

We understand that since the act was introduced, there's been a fair bit of debate among the Ministry of Natural Resources, the forest industry, environmental groups and other users about the relative merits of defining "sustainability" within the act itself. We also understand that the ministry's current position is that a working definition and principles will be contained within the Forest Management Planning Manual, which is to accompany the act.

NOTO believes that although a definition within the act would be preferable, it appears that there seems to be more consensus on the idea of specifying a number of principles of sustainability within the act itself. So, in keeping with this general direction, NOTO would suggest that the five principles of forest sustainability outlined by the comprehensive forest policy panel in its final Diversity report be incorporated into this article of the act.

We believe the principles must be contained within the act itself so that the average citizen of Ontario can pick up the act and understand the foundation upon which forest management will occur in the province. This may not occur if the principles are left buried, if you will, in a manual that may be of little interest to the general public.

With regard to part II of the act on "Management Planning and Information," clause 7(2)(a) refers to the relationship between forest management plans and the Forest Management Planning Manual in regard to the contents of what should be in a forest plan. This section is fairly comprehensive, although we might suggest an addition be made to this article to indicate that forest management plans within the plans will identify those silvicultural tools and approaches that will be used within the plan itself, along with a rationale outlining why they've been selected for use.

With regard to subsection 8(2), this article gives the minister power to approve a forest management plan if he is satisfied it provides for forest sustainability. NOTO doesn't take issue with the concept of the minister approving the plans that he is satisfied provides for sustainability. However, going back to the comments I made under section 1, without a framework in the act that outlines what is sustainable in some format, the act, as written, appears to give the minister powers based on his judgement of what is sustainable, not what is or what may be sustainable in a more scientific term.


To us, this only reinforces the need for identifying those principles identified earlier within section 1 of the act. We also feel that by incorporating those directly in the act, the minister, as the agent of the crown, can be more clearly held accountable for his decisions by the public because the public will be able to see what is in fact in the act.

Section 14(1) relates to the preparation of work schedules as part of forest management planning. The current wording of the act notes that the minister "may" require preparation of work schedules. This is inconsistent with the timber class EA decision and specifically term and condition 72(a), which reads as follows: "An annual work schedule shall be prepared for each forest management unit before any operations may proceed." In addition, article 39(1) of the act itself states that forest operations cannot occur unless a work schedule has been approved by the minister. Therefore, it appears that the wording of article 14 is inconsistent when compared to article 39 and the EA decision.

Now, in talking with some officials in the Ministry of Natural Resources, they've pointed out that because the approval of the class EA document has only been granted for nine years, and they are expecting the act to be enforced for a longer period of time, they've chosen the word "may" to build more flexibility into the act. They also add that EA term and condition 72(a) will be part of the Forest Management Planning Manual and thus will be binding on the crown anyway.

We can appreciate the ministry's position. However, the perception that is still left in the act is that work schedules may not be required in all cases in forest management planning, and we feel that should be corrected through using the word "shall," as I mentioned earlier. Possible wording in this section may read, "The minister shall require the holder of a forest resource licence to prepare a work schedule for the licensee's forest operations in a management unit."

Subsection 14(3) relates to the approval, rejection or modification of a work schedule by the minister. We might suggest this article be rewritten in order to link it more closely with the concept of sustainability and the principles of sustainability in some fashion. Some possible wording we might suggest as replacement here would be, "The minister may reject the annual work schedule or approve it with modifications which may be made by the minister to result in sustainability of the forest operations in the management unit."

With regard to part III under "Forest Resource Licences," subsection 27(3) provides the minister with the power to exempt "the condition" -- I believe in (1) -- "that all trees harvested shall be manufactured in Canada into lumber, pulp or other products." The article, however, doesn't specify any criteria on which this decision is to be based, and we feel the act or the manuals should state some sort of decision-making criteria to be followed by the minister so that his decisions can be held up to public accountability.

Subsection 31(1) deals with the amendment of forest resource licences and notes that the minister may do that in accordance with the act's regulations. In addition, section 67 of the act outlines the various subjects on which regulations may be developed under the act, and in particular subsection 9 broadly deals with amendments to forest licences. However, the ministry has recently proposed some regulations under this subarticle, which we have a copy of, and it doesn't address the issue of perhaps the minister being able to amend the amount of wood allocation or flow to a company during the term of a plan or during a forest management agreement.

We would suggest that perhaps this article needs to be reinvestigated and perhaps rewritten to allow that kind of amendment to take place in case there are other economic, environmental or social objectives that the crown needs to be met or that should be met by the crown in the interim.

An example of what I refer to here: In the past, our association, and I believe also in the document produced by the forest policy panel, suggested that perhaps the crown should provide tourism operators -- I think they referred to it more in the terms of remote tourism -- with a resource licence area, similar to what forest companies now have, around lakes that support tourism businesses, in an effort to better protect tourism values from forestry and access impacts. As many of you may know, there's quite a long history of forestry-remote tourism conflicts in the province, and this was identified as a potential solution to help resolve that issue.

Should this kind of arrangement be implemented in the future by the crown, or in some sort of negotiations that may be taking place it be determined that greater reserves may be needed to protect those tourism interests and those industry interests, we're concerned that the wording in this section may not allow the crown to change the allocation of the company to allow that sort of protection to take place. Someone has said perhaps the companies might even be able to argue that the government is not legally bound to change their licence anyway under the act, so those kinds of initiatives may not be able to take place.

We would propose some wording to address it in this fashion: "The minister may amend the forest resource licence to allow for the establishment of areas where timber harvest may not necessarily be permitted to provide for the fulfilment of other societal values in accordance with the regulations."

Subsection 32(4) puts a cap on the amount of wood that the minister could withhold from a licensee at 5% "if the licence is transferred, assigned...or...disposed of in accordance with subsection (1)." Recalling the discussion above relating to the possibility of tourism operators perhaps being granted a licence, NOTO's concerned that a 5% withdrawal might not be sufficient to protect those interests depending upon the extent of the tourism interests in that area.

Therefore, we might like to see a little bit more flexibility here in the amount that may be withdrawn to ensure that, again, other values may be able to be protected. In our case, we'd be interested in tourism. Right now, we don't happen to have a figure that we can pull out of our hats to say 10% might be the one, because it often depends upon the extent of the businesses in the area. You may have congregations of tourism operations, for example, in some areas and that amount of land base may shift.

Under part V, "Trust Funds," subsections 45(5) and 48(8), dealing with both the forest renewal trust and the forestry futures trust: These subsections in particular relate to how the financial affairs of each of those trusts will be reported. We feel that for the purposes of accountability to the public, we would suggest that the annual reports that I believe are supposed to be made to the Minister of Natural Resources and I believe to the chairman of the treasury board should also be provided to the Ontario Legislature as a whole and be available to the public so that the public can have some accountability as to where those dollars are being spent.

In part VII, under "Remedies and Enforcement " I want to touch particularly on sections 55 and 61. These sections outline various penalties and fines for contravening different articles within the act itself.

We understand that it's the intention of the Ministry of Natural Resources to try and levy administrative penalties first under section 55, when infractions occur, to avoid the court process, but we also understand that section 61 gives the ministry the authority to lay charges where necessary when infractions occur or when penalties under section 55 are complied with.

With regard to section 55 itself and the nature of the fines in there, we might argue that in some cases the fines may not be sufficient, and I'd like to point out a particular example, from a remote tourism perspective. If operations, for example harvesting or even road building, happen to occur in an area that's designated as a no-cut buffer zone around these lakes, many times in the past where this has occurred it's created access to these remote lakes that were previously unaccessible.

The remote tourism industry is sort of a specialized one in the province. It relies on remoteness; it relies on a real wilderness environment of our quality resource base. There have been, in the past, many examples in the province where access has been made to remote lakes by extensive timber harvesting in the areas of those operations. It has caused some real problems and in fact in some cases has caused operators to have to close down an outpost site because it can no longer be sold to his guests. So we're concerned that if actions occur in that kind of area and access is created to the lake, a fine of $15,000 or five times the crown dues may not make up for the possible loss of revenue to that particular business.


When access occurs to these remote lakes, the result is usually that you have increased fishing pressure on those lakes as increased access occurs. The aesthetic problems that may occur from extensive clear-cutting in those areas damage the business, and in many cases the operators are faced with an inability to sell their product to people who are seeking out those remote wilderness-style vacations and who are prepared to pay for those kinds of tourism opportunities. As I said, this often manifests itself in terms of loss of revenues or in fact business closures.

We recognize that the fines are payable to the crown, but we have also, throughout the various involvement we've had in different forest management activities, been concerned that compensation to affected parties, when perhaps illegal activities take place, has not been made available. It's not a policy of the ministry, so compensation, the way the act is prepared now, remains a nonentity for any affected parties, whether it be tourism or another party out there, trap lines that may be harvested; there are a number of examples of things like that. We would like to see the act in some fashion try to deal with that concept of compensation to affected parties, whoever they may be, when actions take place that contravene the act.

With regard to subsection 61(2) in particular, we would suggest that somewhere, either in the act or the manuals, perhaps some clarification -- guidelines, criteria, whatever you may call them -- be outlined that might explain more clearly under what circumstances infractions will be levied under article 55 or under article 61 because, as I understand it, there's a power to levy fines under both but it's not really clear in what kinds of examples it will be done in one way or the other. I think that may help.

With regard to subsections 66(2) through (5), NOTO would propose that the word "may" should be changed to "shall" in all cases to ensure that each of the forest manuals that are proposed contains necessary provisions regarding the information that's required for planning and operations purposes.

Other articles in the act require forest management plans, operations, work schedules to be prepared in accordance with the manuals. In particular, I could refer to subsections 7(2), 13(1), 14(2), section 40 and subsection 42(3). Our feeling is that the use of the word "shall" within article 66 will ensure that if plans have to be prepared in accordance with the manuals, then the manuals must provide the necessary background information for the planning process.

The last article I have comments on relates to section 67. That outlines the various types of regulations that the crown may enact under the act to deal with various different things. One in particular that we'd like to highlight relates to number 28, and that deals with forest audits. We think the requirement to perform those audits should be entrenched more firmly in the act itself to ensure accurate reports on forest operations are done and that the actions taken in the forest are in fact what was approved to be undertaken.

Before my concluding remarks, I'd just like to address something. I don't happen to have a transcript on, I believe, the Sault Ste Marie hearing, but I'd heard through the media that you had heard from a representative of the forest industry in the Sault comments to the effect that tourism operators should have to pay for the use of crown lands in the forest. I don't want to let that slip by, because I feel the committee needs to know that there are many cases in which this industry does pay for the use of crown land. People who have licences for outpost camps, for example, land use permits, do have to pay a fee for that. People who operate bear hunts in the province have to have a commercial bear management area, on which they do pay a charge to the crown to rent that land. The issue of the water lot lease is another one that some of you may be familiar with. What's happening is that the crown is levying a fee for a permit essentially to rent the water or the land under the water that your dock sits on.

So those are three examples of where we do pay fees to the crown. We've even argued with the government, on the water lot lease issue, that if you look at the area charge that is paid by the forest industry of $102, I believe, per square kilometre, many operators in Ontario pay a minimum of $125 for a water lot, on an annual basis, which is far less than a square kilometre; it may in fact be a few hundred or a couple thousand square feet. So the relative amount that is paid between those two industries, we've always said if you want to charge us for our docks based on $102 per square kilometre, we wouldn't mind. It would work out to about 10 cents a dock.

So those were examples of the three things in particular that I wanted to speak on. In fact, referring to the issue I talked about earlier regarding perhaps granting licence areas to tourism operations, within the Ontario Forest Policy Panel they do suggest that if that would take place, the tourism industry should compensate the crown in some form for either a loss of an area charge or, if the crown was expecting some revenue from timber activities on that site, that the crown deserves to be compensated, and other rights and responsibilities should be transferred as well. We don't necessarily argue that.

I have talked personally to a few operators in the province about such a concept. A number of them are very intrigued by it and would be willing, I think, to compensate the crown in some fashion for that use. The details of that could be worked out as the licence is granted. But I wanted to make sure that the committee understood that we do pay for the use of crown lands and that we are prepared to pay for the use of crown lands.

Just to conclude my presentation, the past few years have witnessed increasing interest among the citizens of Ontario regarding the manner in which crown forests are managed. The government has clearly heard this message, that people want more comprehensive forest management, not just timber management, to ensure other users of the forest and crown lands receive equal consideration in the planning process. The public has also been a strong proponent of sustainable forest management and has called on governments of the day all over the world to meet the challenges that this entails head-on.

We see Bill 171 as an attempt by the current provincial government to address these issues in a legislative framework, and we do welcome the new legislation to replace the current act. But as I've indicated, we feel that there are a number of areas where we think the bill could be improved and have attempted to outline those for you today. Our hope is that this committee, through its deliberations, will give serious consideration to our proposals, along with all others who make submissions to you, with an eye towards making sure that the bill that goes before the House for third reading reflects the needs of all forest users in the province.

I thank you for your time and patience today and I'd be prepared to answer any questions you might have regarding my presentation.

The Vice-Chair: Thank you very much. Unfortunately, your time has almost run out. Nevertheless, since we did start a little bit late, I will allow one quick question per caucus.

Mr Chris Hodgson (Victoria-Haliburton): I'd like to thank you for coming in this morning. I enjoyed your presentation. If you've got 1,600 members who basically use the crown land, I've been involved -- I know quite a few of the people. You mentioned the bear management areas, the licence for outposts and this dock thing. What has stopped members of your organization from trying to receive compensation for damaged areas?

Mr Antler: We have in many forms. That was part of our case. I presume you're talking about the forestry impacts and that sort of thing?

Mr Hodgson: Yes.

Mr Antler: Yes. Throughout the class EA hearings that was one of the key things that we tried to argue for before the board, the issue of compensation. We've tried through that, we've tried through general advocacy means to impress upon the government and the ministry that a lot of these businesses are very unique and rely, especially remote businesses, on a certain kind of environment or atmosphere, if you will. We've tried in a number of areas and so far it's been unsuccessful and that's why we bring it up again today, under the act, for your consideration. We feel there's a real need out there and we've had many people put out of business, losing sites, and the viability of their operation is threatened.


Mr Len Wood (Cochrane North): Thank you for your excellent presentation. You've covered a lot of areas, a lot of points that we're going to be able to work with during clause-by-clause.

There is one brief question that I want to see if you want to give a comment on. I know you've talked about the lakes and the docks that the remote tourist industry is paying charges on. My concern and the concern of some of the forest industry is: What happens with the area of land around those lakes where accessibility to the lakes might cover a large area? What would be the feeling on area charges? This was raised in the Sault, that the sawmills, paper mills, pulp mills pay the area charges and the remote tourist industry and the tourist industry in general should be paying area charges on this land that is being reserved around those lakes.

Mr Antler: You're talking about under the existing guidelines now, for example, the tourism guidelines. The crown itself has mandated that around water bodies, to protect the environments of those water bodies, reserves of a certain size should be left as part of forest operations. The sense of our industry is, because there are more than just tourism issues there -- there's the idea to protect, perhaps, spawning beds or other environments that are around that lake -- the way things stand now, we don't necessarily feel that area charges should be paid, because the operators really have very little control over that area; the licence area is still under the forest company, even though it is a reserve.

What we've said is that if those reserve areas are going to be expanded and if the crown is looking at perhaps granting tourism licences, yes, beyond those areas, if it's felt that bigger reserves are needed, of course, the area charges could certainly be paid by the industry. In that case, when you do have a licence, then, with the rights and responsibilities, the tourism industry could say, "Now we actually may have a licence on that area that provides us with some control" -- "control" is a bad word -- "some jurisdiction over that land base," and that's where they feel that the payment should come in.

They've also said that doesn't mean that harvesting may not be allowed in those areas. There may be a sense that some selective logging could occur in certain areas, in certain locations on a lake, depending upon where the lodge is situated. There may be larger reserve areas needed in some parts of the lake rather than others that could allow harvesting to take place, but currently we don't have the opportunity to exercise any sort of authority over that land base and say, "This is where we would like the harvesting to take place because we feel we can work within it." The companies have the licences right now and that's what makes it difficult for our industry.

Mr Michael A. Brown (Algoma-Manitoulin): Thank you for coming today. Over time, I of course have discussed a lot of these issues with your president, Mr Dickson, and with Mr Grayston. You noted in many cases, and we are particularly happy that you have, specific sections of the bill which you think could be improved as we go through it. You noted particularly, and I think it would be fair to say a lot of your concern revolved around, the permissive nature of the legislation. In other words, it was saying "may" rather than "shall." There's a tremendous amount of discretion that's being left to the Minister of Natural Resources. We have also been concerned about that.

My question really relates to -- and in front of me I have the manuals and the regulations -- how long have you had to look at the draft manuals and regulations, and has your membership been able to vet them so that you feel comfortable that you, in this morning's presentation, have been able to take them into account?

Mr Antler: From a staff perspective, we've received copies of the act later than we had hoped.

Mr Brown: The act?

Mr Antler: The act itself. We were supposed to be sent some copies and that was delayed, but we still had them in time. We attended a workshop that the ministry held on the act and received the first cut of the manuals back in mid-July. The second draft of the manuals just arrived in our office late last week and, to be honest, I haven't had a chance to go through them yet, so that's why my comments focused on the act. My understanding was, in talking with ministry officials, that your role or your mandate was to deal with the act itself, that the manuals would be developed in accordance with that, but I was unclear as far as whether or not the committee's mandate stemmed into what should be in the manuals themselves. That's why the comments relate to the act.

I have circulated some of my comments around to some of our members to help them have a framework which they can use. I believe some of them are going to be making presentations to the committee, especially some in the northwestern part of the province, and we've also had some correspondence from some other associations in the province on the bill and the manuals. So there has been some sharing of information.

I feel fairly confident that the comments I've made would probably be fairly reflective of the membership. My sense is, based on the time of the year that the hearings are taking place, many of our members may have seen the bill but won't have had time to go through it to the extent that I have had as a staff person, and that's just a matter of timing based on how busy people are at this time.

The Vice-Chair: Thank you very much. That will conclude your presentation. We appreciate your appearing before the committee.

Mr Antler: I will be submitting written comments as well.

The Vice-Chair: Yes, if you could leave that with the clerk, please, he will distribute that to the committee.

Mr Antler: They will be submitted at a later date.

The Vice-Chair: That's okay.


The Vice-Chair: The next presenter is Northwatch, and on behalf of Northwatch, Brennain Lloyd. Welcome. You have half an hour, and if you'd leave some time for questions and answers it would be appreciated. We went a little bit over the time in the first presentation, but that's okay.

Ms Brennain Lloyd: Okay, thank you. My name is Brennain Lloyd and I work with Northwatch. Northwatch is a coalition of community-based environmental groups across northeastern Ontario. We work on regional issues from a regional perspective. We work primarily in the area of forest, energy, waste management and water quality, although we do work on issues related to mining, land use planning and broader environmental legislation in addition to those four areas.

Today I'm going to just walk through the act and provide my comments verbally to you. I apologize for not having a brief prepared to provide you at this time. I do undertake to have that written brief prepared before you go into clause-by-clause review of the act. I had delayed preparing my brief, thinking that I would have the manuals on hand and I could do one brief that addressed both the manuals and the act. But I didn't receive the manuals until Monday and it just wasn't reasonable, this week, for me to be able to do that kind of work in a day and a half. So with your patience, I'll just walk through the act and provide my comments as we go.

I think, in summary, the best thing about this act is its name. It's the Crown Forest Sustainability Act, and that's full of promise and potential and real cause for excitement. Unfortunately, the worst thing about the act is that it doesn't live up to its name. A lot of the comments I'll make today are about that. As we read the act and as I talk about the act, that's really the theme that runs through it: Where is the sustainability? How do we build sustainability into this act in a way that gives us some certainty, that avoids future confusion and gives us cause for confidence that the forests are going to be managed in a sustainable way across the province and over time?


The first place that we see an opportunity to remedy that lack of sustainability in the act is obviously in the "purposes" section. My understanding is that the "purposes" section of a piece of legislation is to lay out and to give real clarity and enunciation to why we have this bill: Why do we develop this legislation? How are we going to use it? So the "purposes" section of a bill should really capture what the bill is going to do and give it some very purposeful direction.

As written, the "purposes" section doesn't do that and in fact is as vague and as weak as to allow the bill to be interpreted to give direction in any number of other ways. I think what we need to do in that section is to give it some body, some definition, and I would suggest that the way we do that is to use some of the policy that's already been developed in this province and that has already been endorsed by cabinet and certainly had considerable participation and voice from the public, and that's the comprehensive forest policy, which was released as a cabinet document, and certainly the Ontario Forest Policy Panel had extensive discussions around the province.

So I think the "purposes" section 1 needs to be rewritten with an insert and some additions so it would read:

"The purposes of this act are to provide for the sustainability of crown forests and, in accordance with that objective," and we insert here, "to ensure the long-term health of our forest ecosystems for the benefit of the local and global environments," returning to the original wording of the bill, "to manage crown forests to meet social, economic and environmental needs of present and future generations" -- "by managing" -- then we insert the principles from the forest policy, which were:

"(1) To ensure that current...biological diversity of forests is not significantly changed and where necessary and practical, is restored;

"(2) To establish and maintain representative protected forest lands as part of Ontario's natural heritage;

"(3) To manage the forests of Ontario to conserve and enhance the quality of water, air and soil."

Now, we trust that the purpose of this act is to legislate the forest policy. That's what we've been told and we accept that in confidence, and so practically, reasonably, logically, we embody that forest policy in the purposes of the act by doing as I've just outlined.

I think the next area that we need to give address is section 2, still under "General," and that's "definitions." I think we need a couple of amendments and some additions to this section. One is to amend "forest ecosystem" to read "`forest ecosystems' are ecosystems dominated by plants called trees and also including shrubs, herbs, mammals, birds, microscopic creatures, soil, air, water and other components of nature."

Again, this is relying on the work of the forest policy panel. We don't need to reinvent the wheel. They did their job and they did a very good job and we should be relying on that now and embodying their work in this act.

The next is that I think we need to insert a definition of "sustainability" here in the "definitions" section, and again I'd suggest we rely on the forest policy panel's work. They defined "forest sustainability" as meaning "both keeping forest ecosystems as forests, and keeping them in good condition," ensuring the long-term health and diversity of the forest.

I think the other problem that we have in the "definitions" section is that "forest resource," which you would find on page 4 of the bill, is defined solely in terms of trees, and if this act is about the forests, then "forest resource" should be defined in terms of all of the resources of the forest, which are not simply trees.

If this act is only going to address timber resources, then it should simply read "`timber resource' means trees in the forest ecosystem," because "timber resource" in fact does mean trees, although the timber resource is not the full definition; it's not the full function of trees. But certainly "forest resource" does not mean just trees in a forest ecosystem and any other type of plant life prescribed by the regulations that is in a forest ecosystem. But really the message we get from that is that the forest resource is about timber, timber is about trees, so this act must be about timber and trees. I think that's not what we're looking for and I don't think that's what's intended. We accept that the bill is open to change and so we make the comments in a cooperative manner with your committee and look forward to seeing a number of changes that will be evidenced in the final bill.

A number of changes or additions that need to be made through the bill -- and I'll go through these fairly briefly; they will be in more detail in our written comments. But in the interests of having some time for discussion at the end, I'll just itemize them at this point.

Subsection 7(2): What we need inserted here is an address of appropriate silvicultural tools and approaches. This section talks about the forest management plan and says that it will be in accordance with the Forest Management Planning Manual. It's true that the manuals could outline that, but it seems that for the level of detail that's here, it's appropriate to also identify the need for a forest management plan to identify appropriate silvicultural tools and the general silvicultural approach that's going to be taken.

Subsection 8(2) is an important section in that this is where I think we need again to come back to the discussion of sustainability. The forest management plan is of no effect unless it is approved by the minister, and then in 8(2) we see that, "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...." But what we need in the act, and I suggest we need it at this point in the act, is to give some body or definition to that sustainability: What does that mean? We shouldn't have to move to section 66 of the act to learn that sustainability will be defined in the manuals, and then look to the manuals and see if it is in fact defined. We should have it right here in subsection 8(2).

Again I would suggest that we rely on the work of the forest policy and pull the strategic objectives of forest sustainability from the forest policy into subsection 8(2). So what we would be saying here is that -- I've got the wrong section here. It's actually the principles that we would be pulling in here from the forest policy panel's work. That would give it the kind of body that's required there.

Moving on to section 13, we see a discussion of the preparation of "forest operations prescriptions," but what isn't assumed, when I read this, is that we're talking about pre-harvest prescriptions as well as post-harvest prescriptions, and I think what we need to say here quite clearly is that we need pre-harvest prescriptions. I think the changed wording that would remedy this is to write it as 13(1) "...preparation of forest operations prescriptions, including pre-harvest silvicultural prescriptions, shall be prepared in accordance with the manual and shall include descriptions of," and then we add in a description of past activities, including fire history, harvesting records and recreational and cultural uses, and then we move on to the existing (a), which becomes (b) and so on. So we're still having the description of the structure and condition of the harvest renewal and maintenance activities and the future structuring conditions that are expected as a result of those activities.

Section 14 is a simple difficulty, but doesn't state -- and we come to this at a point later in the act -- that annual work schedules will be prepared in all cases. What it says is that the preparation of annual work schedules can be delegated to the licensee, but it doesn't state that the annual work schedules will be actually held in all cases. I think it's fairly simple wording changes needed just to make clear that annual work schedules will be done in all cases, rather than simply that they can be delegated in some cases, which is all it states at this point.


Sections 26 and 44 travel somewhat together in that they're both sections that outline what I would term as exemptions to sustainability. In section 26 we see the requirements of the forest resource licence, and it "shall not exceed the amount described as available for harvesting in the applicable forest management plan."

But then, in subsection 26(2) we go on to see that the minister can, in writing, direct that this doesn't apply. There's no rationale and there are no criteria provided for that. To me, it's a very dangerous kind of exemption to be stating, and I would say encouraging, to say that, "The minister may in writing direct that" sustainability doesn't apply in this case. If we're saying that more can be harvested than is described as available, are we not saying that more can be harvested than is available or than is sustainable? So I think 26(2) is an exemption to sustainability that is just not appropriate in this bill.

If I could ask you to just skip to section 44, because it's similar in that it is also an exemption to sustainability, section 44 comes at the end of the discussion of the forest operators and the forest management plan and what's required and so on. Then in section 44 we see that, "The minister may in writing direct that this part...does not apply to forest operations" for areas not covered by licence and "does not exceed 25 hectares" -- 25 hectares is not an insignificant amount. Certainly, in other parts of the province and in this part of the province, 25 hectares can be an extremely significant amount even on its own and, incrementally, if you add 25 hectares to 25 hectares to 25 hectares, where has sustainability gone?

So I think those are two exemptions to sustainability that are not appropriate to this bill.

Section 27: I think that there is an opportunity in section 27 that there's been some discussion on over the years, and certainly in the case of our organization we've looked for opportunities to bring it into a legislative framework. That opportunity is tying supply to local mills. I think one of the failings of the current array of tenure systems and legislation and so on is that there is no mechanism -- at least there's been no mechanism that we've been able to identify or others have been able to identify to us in response to our questions -- to tie supply to local mills.

We see the forest industry-dependent communities are frequently prey to decreasing or depleted wood supply, and that can result in mill shutdowns or closures, but in some instances we have timber that's actually available but not available to the local mill. We had, in 1991, a mill in Kenogami shut down due to no supply, but actually supply was being shipped. Local timber was still being cut and shipped in whole logs to out-of-province mills. In the height of the debate in Temagami, 1988 to 1991, we had supply being shipped to a mill in Arnprior. We hear from tourist operators in Hornepayne that they see their industry, the tourism industry, threatened because of cutting in their local area, but they're by distant operators. There are dozens of examples of this, where local wood supply is still available but it's not available to local people; it's being sent to distant mills.

I think that there's increasing political support and public support and recognition that there should be local control and there should be local decision-making, community decision-making, but I think that means you have to have some control over your local resource. I think being able to tie the timber supply to the local mill is an important part of that process.

We would recommend that there be developed a rating system that heavily prejudices the granting of cutting licences in favour of locally owned and controlled mills as well as for value added manufacturers, and in addition to that, that we disallow transfer of licences and allocations from a local mill to a distant mill. We have instances where a distant mill can buy a local mill, and I think quite frequently in the interest of getting the allocations. I think we need a mechanism, and this bill is the place to do it, where we disallow that so supply is tied to local mills. I think that you will find a lot of support for that, certainly from our organization and from many of the smaller operators in this region.

The final area that I want to comment on with respect to the bill, and it's a general comment, is with respect to sections 55 and 61. These are the areas that discuss fines for enforcement.

The difficulty we see there is that in section 55 the fines are quite low. In section 61 the fines are more serious, but section 61 states at one point that if you've been fined under section 55, you won't be penalized under section 61. After some discussion of that, the understanding that I have from some of the writers of the bill is that it was intended that you would be first fined under section 55, and later offences or continuing offenders would then be moved to section 61, but that's not clear as presently written. As presently written, there's nothing in the act that states that. It just says if you're fined under section 55 you'll get this level of penalty, under 61 a higher level of penalty, but you won't be fined under 61 if you've already been penalized under 55, and that's a problem. I think what it needs is just greater clarity.

Those are my comments with respect to the bill. I do want to leave some time for questions. I did want to make a brief comment on the process for the development of this bill, and I think it's been quite problematic.

It's important legislation and it's legislation that we welcome. We want to see it work, but we think that the public has been disadvantaged in its participation and its development, both of the bill and of the manuals, and even in participating in presenting to you, the standing committee.

There was no consultation in the development of the bill, which would have been appropriate if we had seen all the products of the public consultation for the last four years clearly embodied in the bill, but there are some deficiencies there. So we don't see the forest policy panel's work, the old growth committee's work, the Ontario Independent Forest Audit's work; we don't see those clearly embodied in the bill. We hope we will before your work is finished, but we don't now, so that's a problem.

There are also difficulties in the development of the manuals. There are writing teams established which are ministry and industry writing teams, and while the environmental non-governmental organizations have theoretical access, in that we were told the writing teams would be established, we didn't have practical access. If you don't know where the meetings are, if you don't know when the meetings are and if you don't have the resources to get there, then you're not part of the process. I think, with respect to these hearings, there was not real access to these either. I know I made repeated requests for a schedule of times and dates and places so I could encourage our member organizations to bring their comments to you, and those weren't available until after the deadline.

The reality is that citizens in general take this commitment seriously. To come and present to a standing committee is a serious commitment and I would say a somewhat intimidating commitment. I don't think that's your intent, but that is the reality. People take that commitment seriously and they won't make that commitment to an unknown date and an unknown place and an unknown time. They will not. It doesn't matter how concerned they are about the bill, how concerned they are about the forests, how much they want to talk to you; in most cases they won't make that commitment.

That information wasn't available until after the deadline. There was discussion back and forth among some of our membership as to what to do. A couple of people called. They were told that they weren't going to be given time to present to this committee, that they'd missed the deadline and that the schedule was full. I don't think many further calls were made after that, because what was the point? I think that's a problem. It's a problem that the committee needs to look at in terms of its future processes, but certainly it has been a difficulty in this process. I would encourage you to find some remedy to that, perhaps scheduling additional meetings, perhaps doing accessible notices and encouraging people to at least put in written comments.

Not meaning to end on a negative note, I do thank you for the time and I do thank you for the bill. I think that it's got potential and I look forward to our work to continue to improve it.


The Vice-Chair: Thank you very much for your presentation. We have about 10 minutes left for questions and answers.

Mr Gilles Bisson (Cochrane South): About three minutes per caucus?

The Vice-Chair: Yes, a little bit less.

Mr Bisson: Let me just make a quick comment on what you said and then I'll go to the question. On the consultation process, first of all, standing committees have operated in a certain way for a number of years and it's inherently a problem in the first week of a committee being out. Ever since I've been around, there's always that comment that the stuff doesn't get to you fast enough, and maybe that's something we all have to look at, as legislators, to try to make that a little bit better.

Mr David Ramsay (Timiskaming): We could have delayed it a week. You guys wanted to go ahead.

Mr Bisson: Thanks, that's really nice, David.

On the question of consultation, the class environmental assessment, as you know, was ongoing for about four or five years along with a whole bunch of processes, so the bill obviously didn't come out of nowhere. It came out of a whole bunch of other consultations that were done by previous governments and this government in regard to the whole question of forest sustainability. I think we need to temper that into there.

The other thing I want to comment on, subsection 26(2) and the other section you mentioned in regard to the 25 hectares: My understanding, and maybe you can clarify that with the ministry after, is that it is intended for fuel woodlots. It's intended to give accessibility to, let's say, a native community to be able to build roads, that kind of stuff, or to people needing access to fuel wood etc, and that's the logic behind that. You wouldn't want them to go through a forest management plan just for that. Maybe the argument is that the 25 hectares should be smaller, and I guess that's something we can look at.

My question is this: You were talking about a pre-harvest prescription being put in place. Are you aware that in the management plan it's actually required that that's what we do? That's the whole idea. There's a past history that's put in place along with the pre-harvest prescription about what you've got to do. Were you aware?

Ms Lloyd: Yes. I've seen the draft manuals, not the recent draft -- I've seen the previous draft manuals -- but I think it's appropriate to delegate some matters to the manuals. I think other matters need to be in the act.

I think the requirements for pre-harvest silvicultural prescription is of sufficient significance. It's my assessment that it warrants being contained in the act itself. So it could well be that we have some repetition between the act and the manuals, and there's no difficulty in that. There's no difficulty in having things reappear in the manuals, but there is a difficulty of significance, and it's not in the act as well.

Mr Ramsay: Thank you very much for your presentation. I found it very informative and I agree with many of the things that you've said today. I think we're seeing a growing consensus across the north, from all sides of this issue, about one of your main points, having some stronger definition of "sustainability" in there.

I think it would be beneficial for all users of the forest to have that there and I'm wondering: Do you also think that maybe an advantage of that, having a stronger definition of "sustainability," might help in future challenges to the international sale of forest products from Ontario?

Ms Lloyd: I think that it will, that it'll have three important benefits. One benefit is, it'll benefit the forests. I think if we have sustainability defined, then we should have sustainability delivered, and that will obviously be of benefit to the forests and to the natural systems.

I think a second benefit is that it will provide greater certainty for all forest users. Certainly that's something I hear from industry a lot, that they want certainty, and that's something that we as an environmental organization want a lot. We don't want to go through the same debate over and over, stand by stand, plan by plan. I think that having sustainability defined clearly in the act will avoid a lot of that conflict, uncertainty and debate at a field level or a ground level.

I also think that it'll give greater certainty or assurance in terms of Canadian markets and Ontario markets. That's one place that Ontario is very vulnerable. I think we're very vulnerable. We have some very well documented evidence that our forest management practices are not good. We don't have much evidence that they are good. I think that makes Ontario vulnerable as an exporter of products, and certainly my experience, in speaking with organizations and interest groups outside of Ontario, is that there's a definite interest in Ontario's forest management practice and there's a definite interest in looking at how Ontario products flow in particularly the US market.

Whether we like it or not, there is an American interest in our forests. They have a perception that we still have an opportunity that they've lost and so on. I think they might exert some of that influence in an economic sense, and having a stronger act, clearer sustainability, gives Ontario a little more safety with respect to charges that I think are on the way with respect to our forest management practices.

Mr Gary Carr (Oakville South): Thank you very much for your presentation. Over the last few days we've heard from different groups. We've heard from industry that has said that it goes too far, and particularly some of the smaller companies saying that this particular bill may cost them their jobs and their livelihood. We've heard from other people that say it doesn't go far enough. The difficulty the government faces is in trying to get a balance between the two. I think, to their credit, this is what they've attempted to do. They've got both sides angry for different reasons regarding this bill.

Having said that, if the bill stays the same, essentially, and without these changes -- you said in the beginning it doesn't live up to the name -- if it remains the same, and I know you're here to try and get some amendments made, do you really think that it can still work? And would you be able to be happy with it if it doesn't get changed as you suggested?

Ms Lloyd: I don't think it makes sense to have it remain the same. It doesn't embody policies that have already been issued by this government and on which there is a public consensus. It doesn't make sense to leave it the same. It means that we've just missed the opportunity to have an act that embodies that policy, that embodies those principles and objectives and makes it very clear.

If it remains the same, it's irrelevant. If it remains the same, then all of the land use planning discussions and debates will have to be done on the basis of policy, not legislation, and it just is too good an opportunity to bring those two, policy and legislation, in concert. It's too good an opportunity to miss. I think that if the changes aren't made, it'll be damaging in that basically we'll have the Crown Timber Act. We've already got the Crown Timber Act. We don't need to go through this to get the Crown Timber Act. So really, it'll be pretty much the status quo, legislatively.

We'll have the class EA decision. The class EA decision has some legal weight, and then we have policy decisions which have some moral weight and I think some weight in terms of government direction, but we won't have brought them together and that's what this act should do.

The Vice-Chair: Thank you very much. That will conclude your presentation. We appreciate your presence. Certainly, if you have anything in writing that you want to send to the clerk later on, please feel free to do so. He will distribute it to the committee members.

Ms Lloyd: I'll undertake to do that before you go to clause-by-clause.


The Vice-Chair: The next presenter, the Federation of Northern Ontario Municipalities, unfortunately has cancelled. However, Brinkman and Associates Reforestation is here and we will move to this presentation.

Mr Lawrence, you have half an hour for your presentation. If you'd like to leave some time for questions and answers, we would appreciate that.

Mr John Lawrence: I don't think it'll take a lot of time. I've never presented to a committee like this and I'm not really sure what you expect from the general public, and myself, being a small business person in the province.

We've been involved in silvicultural contracting across Canada for about 25 years, 10 years of which in Ontario. During that time we've really seen quite a change in the program in Ontario in terms of forest renewal generally. We've seen an incredible increase and concern and seemingly a vision of what forest renewal was going to be in Ontario.


Then we've seen an incredible turnaround and seemingly every effort made to convince the public that it doesn't matter what you do or don't do in the forest, everything is okay; everything is green. It's somewhat difficult to come to something like this without a bit of a sense of cynicism, scepticism, even a bit of anger, to see an act proclaiming the sustainability of the crown forests of Ontario.

What does "sustainability" mean? In some ways, over the last several years this has become quite a numbers game in terms of harvest levels and regeneration levels. It's not really clear what to take from this. Of course, when I first get the document, I look through for what "sustainability" means. It refers me to different sections and finally to these manuals, of which I got draft copies which somebody carefully punched "draft" all over. Even in those sections it doesn't really make clear what "sustainability" is, so I'm not really clear what we're evaluating in terms of the basic focus of the act, which is presumably sustainability. I don't know what we're trying to sustain. I don't know why we're trying to sustain it. I'm not really clear on what all that means.

Beyond that, there are some other concerns we would have as a silvicultural industry that aren't addressed directly in the act. They are referred to in the manuals and, as far as that goes, I guess we have to wait and see what the manuals will really come up with. As it is now, they're in draft form and a fair bit of what I read suggested that they will have XXX, but nothing very specific at this point.

I suppose in some ways that makes sense because you wouldn't want to make something that wouldn't work across the different regions and areas of Ontario. But, given the recent history of what's been going on in Ontario, it does make one somewhat sceptical about what's really going to come out of this.

It's very easy, in forestry, to use this projection or that projection or this group of numbers or that group of numbers and make everything seem like it all makes sense. But the fact is, if you travel around Ontario -- and I've spent a lot of time since 1983 working in this industry, working from Niagara Falls to the Manitoba border, the Quebec border -- forests come down and something comes back. Do we want conifers to come back, do we want commercial species to come back or do we just want it to be green?

Currently, it seems, people are happy just to say that it's green and there are willow bushes and grass or maybe there's some balsam or maybe there's some spruce. That's another issue. Who really knows what's going on in Ontario? We need, clearly, a lot better recordkeeping and a lot better inventory of what's really going on out there.

Those are the ways that I approach this act, somewhat sceptically. At the same time, I'm quite encouraged that we are trying to make a change and that there is some new direction.

In particular, from our perspective, it's this whole issue of securing funds for forest renewal in order that if a pre-harvest prescription is made -- and I understand that the timber management planning process does put in those pre-harvest prescriptions -- I'd like to be sure that process has the teeth to make sure that happens. I'm not clear right now that if a timber management plan goes into place and nothing happens afterwards, if somebody decides, "Well, we don't have the money, we don't have the time," or, "The roads are bad and we're not going to do anything about that area," then what happens? I'm not really clear how all that would take place.

As it stands right now, there are a lot of areas in Ontario, crown management units in particular, where timber management plans were made and never followed through on and everybody just seems to be happy to say, "Well, that's just going to go into the general area that we're going to call `coming back naturally.'" Unplanned natural regeneration is I guess what it's called.

In any case, we are encouraged that the forest renewal trust and the forestry futures trust fund are going to finally ensure that there's going to be some security of funding at the time of harvest to make sure that post-harvest treatments will take place, whatever they may be.

The other areas of concern that we don't necessarily see in there are this issue of how that's dealt with for the TMP process, whether that's a rigorous process that binds the harvester to do that pre- or post-harvest treatment, and also in terms of the silvicultural standards. We haven't really seen anything concrete in terms of what the silvicultural standards are going to be, and that's a concern for us.

At this point, I understand that the ministry uses a stocking distribution for stocking of preferred species of 40%, and we'd certainly like to see that come up to 75% or 80%, but I'm not really sure how that fits in to these silvicultural manuals. Trying to leaf through it, it's not really clear to me where all of that's going to come into play.

It seems to me a bit like it's going to be negotiated area by area or unit by unit, which again makes sense, but it depends what your terms of reference are for coming up with those stocking standards. I suggest they would have to be based on the needs of the forest, so I would like to see some kind of mechanism in there that makes sure that's the main criterion and not whether other considerations might come into play and reduce those standards.

If a mill is deciding, "Well, right now things are quite good, we need to keep cutting, but we may not be here 10 or 15 years down the road," then, of course, they may not want to spend that kind of money or look at the kind of stocking standards that might increase their yield over time.

I think that has been a concern of ours, that it's fine if we have the funds in beforehand, but unless there's a rigorous and stringent process to ensure that there's something there afterwards, regardless of what the objectives are, that those objectives are met and that would relate to us for silvicultural standards, then we're not very confident that it won't be just anything other than the status quo.

I'm not a lawyer, so I don't know if stuff like this should be put into an act. I suspect it probably shouldn't, but it should be something more than at the point of talking about the act you're looking at vague manuals that are in draft form that promise that they might do this or that. It seems to me it should be something more concrete than that.

We're also in favour of the annual reports that are to be done by the ministry to report on the progress of what's happening in the forest so that there can be some real measure of what was proposed and what's actually happened. I think too often it's been the case that nobody really knows what's happening or not happening over a course of several years. Then a bunch of people put together some numbers to see what's really going on and it becomes unclear and it becomes another issue to look into it further and nothing's really able to be decided based on that.

I guess I'm kind of rambling around here, but my basic feeling is that we're quite optimistic that this act will take us forward into a better situation for forest renewal. At the same time we have some concerns on the follow-through. That's about all I have to say.

The Vice-Chair: Thank you very much. We certainly appreciated your spontaneous remarks. You don't have to be concerned at all about it. That's what these hearings are here for, to hear from people such as yourself who have obviously very deep interests in this issue and in the bill.

Mr Brown: We certainly appreciate your coming. I think we share your view that certainly silviculture funding within the mandate of the present government has been significantly reduced, and the numbers demonstrate that clearly. I think the number is about 30 million less tree seedlings are planted in the crown forests each year, about half the area is actually tended as it was tended in 1990. No one's claiming that 1990 was perfect, but certainly it was a long way ahead of where we are today.

I've heard representations from your group and I've heard representations from the tree seedling growers, and I know that much of what the government has done has caused your particular industry to have some very interesting times, I think it would be fair to say.

The thing that concerns me, though, is that we have the trust mechanism and people talk as if this is going to fix everything, but clearly it's not. Clearly government spends much more on reforestation than the approximately $60 million or $66 million that will be available through the trust fund mechanism, so we have to look at the overall support of the industry, particularly on the crown land units. As you know, they are much more difficult for us to manage as a provincial government than the FMAs, or what used to be the FMAs under the former act.


I wonder if you could give us some ideas, perhaps from your perspective, on how we deal with these crown management units in a more realistic way in order to get the forest -- and I think you made some good points about the forest too. What kind of forest do we want? If we don't do anything, something's going to grow. We know that. It will be green. The recent audit proves that. It's just that it's not maybe green in a way that we want it to be.

Mr Lawrence: It would seem to me that the forest management agreements are based on an agreement with a major utilizer of the resource and the government and there are very stringent factors that come into place that that resource user on the FMA has to meet certain criteria to take care of the land as the crown would have them do. In some cases that works very well, in some cases it doesn't.

As far as the crown units go, what you would have is some utilizers of the resource fighting for a share of the resource. They can't necessarily use the resource on the FMAs, so they're trying to get the resource on the crown units. What you have are decisions that are very often made totally outside any kind of timber management planning process, based totally on politics. You have crown management units that are harvested at rates that are -- well, it's a numbers game, but it would seem to the observer quite unsustainable levels.

The whole issue becomes one of politics: The mill expanded; therefore, they need more wood. They haven't got the land base to get more wood, but they expanded the mill. Are you going to tell them to close down 200 jobs? It gets to be a bit of a game. That's a fact of life. Politics are part of how things work. I guess you guys all know that.

Mr Brown: No.

Mr Lawrence: But if we're talking about an act that's going to prescribe the sustainability of something, there have to be some criteria by which to measure whether those decisions can be made. We need to make those decisions, as tough as they might be, and not try to get through the next four years into the next government.

Mr Ramsay: Like my colleague Mike Brown, I really did appreciate your presentation, John. I'd like to get a little more detail from you, when you talked about the preferred stocking species and how you think we should be regenerating the forest. You talked about the policy now is about 40% of preferred species going into the ground and you think you'd like to see that up to 75%, 80%. Could you expand on that for me?

Mr Lawrence: I guess the concept I sort of have working in this industry, there's this whole issue, "Are we planting trees or tending forests in order to create sawlogs for a mill that's there right now?" I mean, those trees may not get to maturity before 90 or 100 years. Who knows if there'll be a sawmill there. That's something that we need to look at a little bit. There's this whole notion of managing the forests for a given product at the end, but I think we need to manage it on a larger level than that, because, really, who knows, 90 to 100 years down the road what's going to be there.

If we can have some kind of commitment that there is going to be that kind of resource need in that area, then that's a different issue, but it doesn't seem like we operate that way at the current time. People operate for the next 15 years, maybe 20 years, and everything beyond that is a numbers game. I guess, as far as that goes, I think if people decide that they want to keep the current forest makeup in Ontario, the percentage of conifer versus hardwood, then we're going to have to do a lot more work to make that happen.

The independent forest audit quite clearly showed that areas are coming back increasingly to hardwood as opposed to conifer. I suppose that's a decision that needs to be made politically, whether we really want to continue the current forest makeup. It's definitely my impression that over the last few years what we've seen is a sense that maybe these conifer mills are history anyway, so why bother spending that much money there.

Maybe that's a valid approach. It seems dangerous to me because the independent audit has already shown that there's a dramatic increase in hardwood and we are changing the forest makeup of the province. If we're happy to do that, that's a decision we should take, but I think that in terms of what we want to get out of the forest, we have to make some very hard decisions about that.

If you want conifer, then you should ask for something that's attainable yet something that's stringent enough so that happens. It's not enough to just plant some conifer or tend some conifer and then have it be taken over by hardwoods in the sixth or seventh year after the work has taken place.

Mr Hodgson: Thank you very much, John. David actually hit on the question that I wanted to get to. This bill tries to do sustainability in two ways: It tries to sustain the jobs in the communities that are there as well as the forest as an ecosystem. Maybe that's not attainable. This sort of locks in the status quo on the jobs, yet the planning for the forest has to go on for a 60- or 70-year time frame.

Mr Lawrence: It's hard to say. I don't know all of the figures, but over 10 years travelling around, you see what's happening. It's definitely clear that in a lot of areas there is sustainable forest industry there; you can see that, despite the amount of cutting that happens, there are new areas coming in and there are a lot of areas left over.

But I don't think anybody around this table has any illusions that there are some communities in northern Ontario that in the next 10, 15, maybe 20 years are not going to have a resource to run their mills. I mean, it's not an alarmist thing; everybody talks about it.

There's some overcutting happening, and that happens because of political decisions rather than decisions based on what the resource can handle. So what is sustainability? Are we sustaining those jobs for 20 years? Are we sustaining the forest for 20 years? What does sustainability mean? In perpetuity? I'm not sure.

Mr Hodgson: Any of the definitions that I've seen recommended to this committee that they adopt as a definition for sustainability don't define that aspect of sustainability. They talk about it in vague terms of sustaining the forest as an ecological system, but they don't try to address what's clearly set out in this bill as the sustainable economic benefits for the communities or the status quo in terms of jobs.

Mr Lawrence: Certainly I would think it's important to sustain the ecological viability. That's how we live, we breathe. But at the same time, there is the fact that there's a bit of a myth in Ontario, northern Ontario particularly, that tourism is somehow going to save all these communities that don't have a mill any more.

Not everybody wants to go to some of these communities in northern Ontario, so we might as well get with the fact that these are resource-based communities. Unless we can sustain the resource for those communities, they're just not going to be there. Maybe that's not important; maybe we'd be happy to close down some communities. You guys deal with that. I don't know.

Mr Hodgson: What was your earlier comment about politics?

Mr Lawrence: No comment?

Mr Hodgson: But to follow up on that, maybe it's stretching it, then, to even state that in the parameters. Maybe that's why the government's avoided defining it: because you don't know, there's not enough scientific evidence, or maybe there is but they don't want to address it.

Mr Lawrence: I think there is enough evidence there that forests can be managed sustainably, but there are a lot of other factors that come into play that kind of make you have to rework figures to please them. I mean, if somebody's dealing with the licence and they're told that you should let another company come in and take a couple of townships, what are they supposed to do? They're managing their licence sustainably and politically they're told to give some volume to somebody else. Those kinds of tradeoffs happen politically, but they don't necessarily mesh with the concept of sustainability.

Mr Hodgson: Mr Chair, I just have one further question. It's in regard to this preferred stock. David actually asked the question, but I'd just like another angle on it. We've had people present presentations here that view the forest in terms of an ecosystem that should grow up hurly-burly to encourage the natural connections that form. They reject the agricultural model of forestry and consider that an industrial approach.

Do you have any comments on that? Because when you're talking about the stock going from 75% to 80%, you're clearly indicating that forestry should follow some agricultural precepts, that you can plan but it's just a longer-term crop rotation than it is in farming.

Mr Lawrence: I think the issue is at a certain point you're going to say to yourself, if you want to save some areas of forest and you want to continue with an economy based on the resources that are coming out of those forests, then you have to separate the notion of working forests and the wider forests that are out there.

There are starting to be these concepts of landscape management of the forest, so you're going to be managing some areas more intensively than others. Certainly the notion that some areas will come back naturally is already working in a lot of areas, but it's not working everywhere and in a lot of areas where it is working, we're not really certain how well it's working yet.

It would be foolish to project now 20 years down the road based on the knowledge that's coming in over the last five years. Forestry takes a long time. I think that it's always going to have to be a mix of the two things, but there have to be some decisions made about the working forest as opposed to the extensive forest.

Mr Wood: Thank you for coming forward and an excellent presentation. I just want to make a couple of comments and then I have a brief question. The purpose of Bill 171, I guess -- and it goes back over a number of years with this government, with the previous government and the previous government before that, because we've heard over the last 15 years that something had to be done, something had to be brought forward to make sure that we have sustainable forests, sustainable communities and a healthy forest out there.

Bill 171 is designed to address that, but we want to hear from people like yourself as to what amendments should be brought forward, what other language should be put into the manuals to make it so that it'll take us into the 21st century and protect the forests that are out there in the 50 or more communities in northern Ontario that depend on the $12-billion industry.

I just want to ask you to get a little bit more into sustainability when it comes to these communities and the different types of forests that are around the different communities, because we know that a forest in this area is completely different from a forest in Hearst or Kapuskasing and different again when you get to Dryden, Kenora, Fort Frances, and these areas. When we're talking about sustainability and the ecosystem, I just wondered if you want to make a few other comments so that we can gather more information and try to address that issue.

Mr Lawrence: For me, unfortunately, sustainability has become a bit of a buzzword. But the notion of managing a forest or a forest resource for the long term I assume is part of sustainability. The notion of managing an ecosystem or working within an ecosystem so that it and yourself will be there for the long term I assume is part of sustainability. Maybe that's difficult to define in legislation, but presumably this legislation when it talks about sustainability as a term is talking about the long term of all of the multifaceted aspects of the forests and the communities around them.

I'm not sure exactly what you're asking me for, but I guess I would say that I don't think you can separate one from the other. I just don't think you can separate one from the other, but I think if this document is going to talk about sustainability, it has an obligation to define that somewhat. Because it's such a popular word these days -- I mean, there have been whole commissions with the UN on it -- I think everybody has a bit of a different idea of what it actually means.

Mr Wood: Just one other brief comment or question. I understand from going through it that this is the first time that they're trying to address a guarantee of a certain amount of dollars that is going to go back in, with the trust funds being set up which were addressed in the budget that had first, second and third reading in June, I believe, wrapped up, and there are special accounts for renewal of that, and what your feeling would be on those. Are those going to address the problem that we've had over the last 15 years or so?

Mr Lawrence: I think at this point it's like -- this season I didn't know until basically a week before we were moving our crews into the bush exactly what was going to happen out there. We were all joking about being by our radios and waiting for the word go. So it can't help but add some more stability, and in terms of the whole notion of a pre-harvest prescription and a timber management plan, presumably now we're going to see that those plans will be followed through on. To that extent we definitely see it as totally positive, and we're very optimistic about it. Whether it's going to be enough is another issue. But at this point everything's been going so far down that it can't get any worse, right?

Mr Wood: We're trying to bring everything together into a piece of legislation. Thank you very much for your presentation.

The Vice-Chair: That's what we hope too, Mr Lawrence, that things won't get worse. Thank you very much again for your contribution. It is much appreciated. As you saw, there was quite a bit of interest from the committee members.

The next presenter is not here yet. They're scheduled for 11 o'clock. I'm just wondering, is Isadore Roy perhaps here and willing to make a presentation? No? Then I think we will have to recess until 11 o'clock. The committee stands adjourned until 11 o'clock.

The committee recessed from 1035 to 1103.


The Vice-Chair: Could we reassemble, please. This committee is now back in session and we will continue the hearings on Bill 171. Mr Mike Brophy, I think, is here now to speak for the Mattawa and Area Forestry Committee, corporation of the town of Mattawa. I understand you're the chair of the committee. If you'd like to introduce also the other gentleman who is with you, you have half an hour. If you'd like to leave some time for questions and answers, it would be appreciated.

Mr Mike Brophy: Thank you very much. First, I'd like to introduce Fern Levesque. Fern's a councillor in the town of Mattawa and is chair of the Mattawa and Area Wood Industry Task Force, which is a committee of a number of municipalities and companies' representatives from the entire area. I know you've met earlier with other folks in other areas and some of what I have to say you may have heard before, but I think it's important to be said.

Firstly, thank you and my appreciation for allowing us to be here. I stand as chair of the Mattawa and Area Forestry Committee, which is a subcommittee of Fern's committee. I'm a chartered accountant. I live on a farm in the township of Bonfield, one of our member communities, and, as a matter of interest to you, in the last 20 years on my property I've planted in excess of 20,000 trees, so I have some knowledge besides the accounting areas.

The committee that I'm representing today is made up of municipalities in our area: the town of Mattawa and the townships of Bonfield, Papineau-Cameron, Calvin and Mattawan. We have representatives on our committee from the major mills in the area, being Tembec and Columbia Forest Products. We have significant local contractors involved with our committee, those being people from the Janveaux, Whalley and Clouthier organizations. We also have representatives from the local unions on our committee.

My plan today is to, firstly, inform your committee about the importance of the forestry industry to us; secondly, to let you know very clearly that we desire to take control of our own destiny and that involves local committees to take control of our own destiny relative to the economics of the area. The third thing I'm going to do is talk, and most of my talk today will of course be on the bill itself.

Our committee has already realized, without question, the importance of the timber industry to our area. The first thing that our group did was literally quantify the effect, the importance, the significance of the timber industry in our area. To that end, in quantifying the importance, we commissioned a study. The study was completed in the spring of this year.

I was advised to lodge three copies of the complete report with you. I've done that with the clerk. There are three copies, and I'm informed by the clerk that indeed if you would like a copy of the full report, he'll have it made for you.

I've also lodged with the clerk, and I understand it has been distributed to you, the executive summary of the report. It's a three-page document and I'd like to lead you through a couple of key points in the executive summary.

First of all, the timber industry in our area contributes $16.7 million annually to our economy in these five townships. It's important, I think, to advise you that, and this is written in the executive summary, the tourism industry gives about $2.5 million to our local economy. Our economy in our communities is, without question, centred around the timber industry and it's very much important that that be understood. To us, timber really is big business.

The executive summary and, in detail, the report goes on to very clearly show what both increases and decreases in our wood supply would do in our area. The study will show to you that a 10% increase in wood supply in our area would result in a $2.6-million increase in jobs, in economic impact annually in our area. The disturbing fact that this report states is that a 10% decrease in wood supply would literally mean a catastrophic $35-million effect in our area. The report and the executive summary goes on to say that a 10% decrease in wood supply would probably close the Tembec mills in our area.

The last point that the executive summary states clearly, and it's the last point, I think, on page 3, is that the current insecurity in wood supply is delaying planning by both contractors and people in industry in the Mattawa communities. We want to plan our futures and it's important that issues such as wood supply not be at the whim or not be in question, as they seem to be so often today.


With respect to the issue about taking control of our own destiny, my committee very clearly is not just working to keep the forestry industry at the current levels, that is, the $16.7-million annual impact in our small part of Ontario. We are going to be actively working towards value added processes. We believe quite clearly that we have to take command, take charge of our own destiny, and our groups are pushing forward to do that.

The act that's in front of us to talk about today is very much important to us and important to the route we're going to be following in taking control of our destiny.

With respect to the bill, first of all and quite clearly, the bill deals with the future of the forests and therefore it is vitally important to us. It's important to our future, both my committee's future and the future of all of the inhabitants of our area. The bill, without question, has some very positive things, and I can't talk to you about the negative things without first speaking about the positive things.

The good ideas: The first one that we're so happy to see and we want to be very clearly on the record as having supported is the concept of local autonomy; the concept of local responsibility; the concept of citizen involvement. That's important to us because we believe strongly, as I've said earlier, we want to control our future, we don't want someone else to do it.

We want to control our future with responsibility, with an understanding of all of the issues involved in the management of the forest. But we want to be involved; in fact we want to run our own affairs. Thus, the concepts of local autonomy, of local involvement are very important.

The second very important concept that's put forward in the bill is the concept of the forest renewal trust fund. In our view, the trust fund will start a process that will help renew the forests. In the past there have been problems about responsibility, about money; it was always budget we had to worry about, the industry had to worry about. Under this act there will be the start of the trust fund concept and we absolutely applaud the folks who have been involved in the drafting of that.

We have a number of concerns, however, and we want them very clearly put to you. These are in no order of significance, but rather all are important to us.

The first issue that we would like to put in front of you is the issue of measurement and accountability. At the outset of our discussions on the bill, I really wonder what the true provincial position concerning the timber industry really is.

Where are we? There are a number of bits of the puzzle but there doesn't seem to be one definitive balance sheet. Where are we? Effectively, where are the quantities of available lumber? How much is there, is it available and for how long? Do we have a viable industry in the long term right now? I've done a bit of research and I can't find the answers to that.

How, really, are we doing? I've travelled in a number of other jurisdictions, and as I was thinking about what I'd say to you today, I thought of New Zealand. I've driven a great deal in the country of New Zealand. As you're driving through the man-made forests, the man-planted forests, you can't really but wonder in awe about the great foresight people had in planting those tremendous stands of trees. Indeed, we've done some of that in Ontario but we don't seem to see an analysis of, where are we?

Where is the total inventory or crop count and how does it fit? I know these things exist in various places, but how do they fit? What's the benchmark -- and this is what I'm leading to about measurement and accountability -- by which we're going to be judged in the future? We're going to spend some money out of this trust fund, but are we going to be improving what we think is a questionably bad situation now? Where's the accountability in the bill? Where's the benchmark which we'll use to judge the success of the bill?

Given the significance of the industry in this province, we wonder where the five-year plan is or the master plan is that would enhance our industry. Again, the benchmark. What are the goals of the timber industry in terms of time, money and requirements? More on this later, and I hope I can tie these parts together.

Next thing I want to just address simply is the definition of "sustainability." I would be not surprised at all if this is the first bill in Ontario history that has a very complicated word in the title of the bill that doesn't have the definition in the bill, in the act. My understanding is that the definition of "sustainability" is going to be included in the regulations.

Gentlemen, I ask you, where is the definition of "sustainability," and it really is difficult for us to understand. We ask the question, sustainable in whose eyes?

In subsection 39(2) of the act, the minister will have the right to act regarding sustainability. This minister will no doubt do what's right, and the next one will, but we think that we shouldn't just be at the whim of the politics of the day with respect to the definition of sustainability. The entire act is based on the idea of "sustainability," so what does it mean? I think that should be, without question, in the act.

To that end, you all I'm sure have seen the article by MacKay in the Toronto Star last Sunday, but I do want to quote it. "It may well be that the industry cannot harvest sustainably while remaining competitive. If that is so, it should be admitted and not be obscured by the title of governing legislation."

There are a lot of people concerned about what we mean by sustainability, my group included. Let's make sure that we can keep this very important industry in Ontario viable. Tying this viability, tying this concept of the importance of the timber industry to the term "sustainability" is extremely important. Where are we with respect to sustainability? Where do we want to go? What's the goal?

The next thing that I want to speak to regarding the act is the issue of local management.

Sections 12 and 14 state that the minister "may establish" and "may require" respectively. It's our understanding that environmental assessment now makes the "may" a must. So instead of saying "may" where it must be must, let's say "must."

Continuing on the concept of local management, the minister was very clear in his press release of June 1, and I quote: "Key elements of the new legislation include" and there is listing, and the last item on the listing, "establishing local citizens' committees to give people living in communities that depend on forests for their economic stability a greater say in how the forests are managed."

Section 12 and then section 62 of the act, 62(1), both speak to this: "The minister may." Now on one hand the press release says that there are going to be local citizens' committees established. However, the act says not that; the act says, "The minister may." This isn't quite what the press release implies.

We, as I've said a number of times, are in favour of local autonomy and we feel that this concept should be very much strengthened in the act. It's a great start, but let's give it more significance.

To that end, section 62, the "Miscellaneous" section in the act, leaves me wondering. Let me explain why. If we put the local autonomy section into section 62 under "Miscellaneous," two points down, in section 64, we talk about how to give a scaler a licence. It says to me that the local autonomy issue is not as important as perhaps we're talking about.

I believe, gentlemen, you should move the local autonomy issue far, far from miscellaneous issues to a complete and separate section altogether in the act. Let's give the significance to this concept of local autonomy that the minister implied was there. Let's don't leave it in the same section as giving scaling licences.


The next point I'd like to do is deal with the trust fund. Part V of the act deals with the trust fund, and it's going to be established using part of the industry's stumpage and area fees.

On one hand, that's a great step forward. You get this money actually set aside for the forests. On the other hand, what happens is that it's only part of the stumpage and area fees. I'll have to admit, I suppose, that the province has got financial problems. The problems of the timber industry, the forestry industry are very serious, and the idea of having only some of stumpage and some of area fees go into the trust fund bothers me. Why should only some of it? Why not all of it go?

The men and women who work in the timber industry all pay the various payroll taxes. They all pay income tax. The timber industry pays income tax. They pay all of the fees and charges and costs that every other industry in Ontario pays. We feel strongly that all of the money that's collected out of the forests should go into the forests.

The moneys that are available from payroll taxes and income taxes and sales taxes and the rest should go for the social issues, the social needs. Let's put the money from stumpage and area fees into the trust fund: all of it, not just a part, as defined by regulation. Again, how much goes is a regulation; it's not part of the act.

Going on about the trust fund, as a chartered accountant I'm concerned about value for money. The act in part V, in discussing the trust fund, talks about indeed a trustee separate from the government reporting on the financial affairs of the trust fund. Value for money concerns me. Questions enter my mind like the following: Is this simply a summary of revenues or cash receipts and cash disbursements? Shouldn't we have an attestation as to the results of the expenditures? Are we better off in Ontario because of the expenditures, or worse off?

I talked earlier about the need to have, in my view, a benchmark, and then something to measure ourselves against. Well, are we better off having had these funds go into the trust account and then be disbursed? We think we should know about that.

The confusion about the amount of money going into the trust fund is bothersome as well. The minister, in a North Bay Nugget article on August 13, talked about $10 million coming into the trust fund. My mindset says that's not a lot. Ministry of Natural Resources officials here in North Bay at a meeting I attended last week at first indicated they thought, and I'm not going to quantify their numbers, but thought there was going to be lots more money than $10 million going into the trust fund. Then perhaps cooler heads prevailed and, "No, let's just sit back and not quantify it."

It's very difficult for us to sit here and say, "Is this a good idea?" when we don't know the quantity of funds that are going to be available. Is the province simply going to walk away from needing to invest any more of general revenues, including the rest of the money from the forestry industry? Is the province simply going to walk away from spending any money in the forests any more at all because the trust fund is there? We hope that's not the case, but we don't see any information about that.

A couple of other comments: Firstly, the Algonquin Forestry Authority in section 76 appears to be included in the act, and if that is the case, and it looks like it is and we think it is, we think that's a good idea. We think it's proper and appropriate and so we applaud that comment.

With respect to regulations, the manuals, we understand that ministry staff have been working a great deal and working with local committees on construction of these manuals. The manuals are very, very important to the entire carriage of the act.

There seems to be a very much hurried view of the manuals and the act, but in particular at this point, the manuals. We trust that they're being done properly, but with the fast notice, we sort of have to leave the issue of these manuals out on a side table until we can see them. Ministry staff have said they're going to send me copies and I understand my friend Fern has some drafts with him. We got them today. So we have to put the issue of the manuals to one side, but it leads us to a second issue about these manuals.

Our area has a number of small jobbers. We understand that there's a concern in the act that possibly will call for the disbandment or the cancellation of some licences. Some of our jobbers are, shall I say, less than sophisticated in their ability to put things to paper. That's not to say that they forest in any negative manner. They're good operators and we don't want to be critical, but they act a little bit less sophisticated in paperwork than, say, you and I. We want to ensure that they are accounted for, that they are taken care of and that this isn't an onslaught of bureaucracy that will cause significant problems to these people. We would like you to ensure that's not the case, without question.

The Vice-Chair: You have five minutes.

Mr Brophy: Thank you. The other issue that I'd like to talk about regarding the manuals and the regulations is the fact that before they are made into force, we'd like to see the final documents and we'd like to be able to comment on them.

In summary, we support many of the tenets of the act, without question. There are areas of concern. We've listed them today. We are concerned about one and one thing paramount and that is that we want local autonomy, we want the ability to craft our own future. Some of that seems to be in this document. We hope that continues. We hope that in your deliberations the comments that I've made today, in particular about reinforcing local autonomy, local committees, local citizens' involvement, will be listened to.

I've finished comments I wanted to make. I'm very much interested in answering questions. I have one last comment to make after. Are there any questions? I'd be happy to speak to them.

The Vice-Chair: You had one last comment?

Mr Brophy: I have one comment to make. We have a local area plan already in effect. We want to make sure that as we're going forward with the new law, the new change, as we need to amend that document, we're again not going to be burdened with a great deal of bureaucracy, but that this local autonomy issue can continue and that the plan is indeed amendable. That's about it.


The Vice-Chair: Just before I start the questions and answers, is Mr Isadore Roy here? Seeing that the next presenter is not here, we might take a little bit more time than is otherwise available right now. We'll start with the Conservative critic, Mr Hodgson.

Mr Hodgson: Thank you, Mike and Fern, for coming in. This is our third day of the hearings, and we first saw the bill back in June. A number of us have expressed similar support in the broad strokes of the policy. I think there's general consensus that the Crown Timber Act needed to be revised and updated and I think people are encouraged at the prospect of local autonomy. I think everybody's calling for the trust fund to try to get the money back in to give a guarantee to the industry that yes, there's going to be replanting in the future and people could plan for that. Investment depends on long-range planning and certainty.

I have a couple of questions on section 62. This is the first. If we were to move the citizens' committees into a separate piece of legislation, it's not defined yet how the criteria for establishing these local committees are to be determined and it's not established what authority they'll have. Do you have any opinions on how the makeup should be arrived at?

Mr Brophy: The first thing I'd say is that whether it be a separate act or simply moving it up to section 10 or 20 of the act, my vision is that when it's hidden in "Miscellaneous" beside scalers, it's not got the substance or the feeling of how important it is there. My first comment is, let's move it into a far more prominent place within the legislation.

In the Mattawa area, we would like to be one of the lead communities, one of the lead areas in this entire concept. The North Bay office of MNR are good people. We've seen good comments from them and we're very anxious to go forward. Now, how that should be enacted, I'm not sure, but quite seriously, we want to be included in the lead in this entire concept.

Mr Hodgson: There are opinions that we've heard that crown forests are public lands and therefore provincial interest groups should have a say in these local decision-making groups. We've been presented with a number of them, and that's a concern to me.

The issue of how much money goes into the trust fund: I asked that the opening day. The ministry's staff say that this year there will be $60 million generated for the forest renewal fund and $6 million for the futures fund and $14 million for the area charges. The area charges go to the consolidated revenue fund. In the minister's statement he mentioned $100 million would be generated in the trust funds and I was assured on Monday morning that that would be topped up to $100 million --

Mr Brophy: So it will be $100 million.

Mr Hodgson: Yes, $100 million. That's what will be in the Hansard from the opening day when I asked that question. I also asked who was appointed as a trustee because, as you're aware, the funds were established under Bill 160 back in the spring and there are going to be ads put out, I'm sure, to advertise for a trustee.

The manuals are a difficult problem. We were unable to delay this week to make sure everybody had the manuals to go through, but I was assured on Monday morning that there will be a second workshop implemented for working on the manuals. There was one back in July and there will be another one after the clause-by-clause.

I've also expressed, and I was glad to hear you mention it, the small jobbers' concern. I've been assured by the government side that small jobbers are protected, but the possibilities of the cost of compliance to what's outlined in the manuals will make them so they're uncompetitive.

Mr Brophy: Exactly. That's the concern.

Mr Hodgson: That's my concern as well. Do you have any suggestions? If you do, if you could elaborate on how to strengthen that.

Mr Brophy: Well, one has to sit back, I guess, and look at cost benefit. When you see a small jobber working, it seems to me that the cost of having compliance could be $5,000, $10,000 of paperwork. I don't know the number, but let's use $5,000. The small jobber, in most cases, is not doing well.

It seems to me that when you talk cost benefit, the cost-benefit analysis that I would put forward would be that you've got to look at the whole and the little, and if we have to have a representative of the ministry come and spend a half day or a day helping fill in some forms, perhaps that's the way around it. But if we don't recognize the problem of the small jobber to begin with, we could be putting a couple of thousand people out of work, and we don't need to do that.

Mr Hodgson: With the attendant spinoff into our local economy.

One more question, with the leniency of the Chair.

The Vice-Chair: I'm sorry. You spent your five minutes. Mr Bisson.

Mr Bisson: I would like to clarify a couple of points, and then I would have a question around sections 12 and 62.

The first one: You talked about the process of quantifying the state of the forest. I agree with you, that's something that hasn't been done up until recently and it's something that's been undertaken by the ministry; as of about a year ago they started working on a process to do that so that we can quantify what's in the forest and we can then have a better idea. We're now moving on to another stage and maybe we can have somebody from the ministry explain that a bit in detail and maybe you can get plugged into the process.

The second thing was in regard to sections 23 and 24 -- no, in regard to the burden of paperwork on the small operators. One of the things within the bill is that there are two licences. There's a licence under section 23 by which the large operator, normally an E.B. Eddy or that kind of company would undertake to do all of the forest management plan, would undertake all of the work.

Under a section 24 licence this is more particular to a smaller jobber who doesn't have the sophistication that you talked about, or maybe doesn't have the ability to be able to do the forest management plan. The anticipation under section 24 is to have the MNR or a person that he or she chooses to do that for them. They would draw that from the trust fund is the way it would be done in an attempt to recognize that. You can comment, but I'm just going to get to the other point. I guess these are the two questions running together and I'll just ask you them and maybe you can comment.

On the question of why not describe sustainability in the act, I guess it comes back to something I've learned through the MISA regulations when we were talking about effluent under MISA. One of the things is that, as we know, the technology and our ability to deal with things changes a lot over the years. If you try to define something too concrete into the act, you may not be able to keep up with those changes.

I guess that's one of the concerns on why sustainability is not defined in the act but rather in the manual. I'd like to get your thoughts on that. Should we try to be inflexible in the act or should we try to allow ourselves to change with time? I'd like to hear your thoughts on that.

The other thing in regard to sections 12 and 62, which is another question, is, you talked about you want "may" changed to "shall" for both citizens' committees and local management boards. From my understanding -- and I would look for a nod from the ministry people -- the idea that "may" is in there is that it gives the minister or the ministry the ability to decide, "Are we going to have a local citizens' committee or are we going to have a local management board?"

Clearly, let's say, lumber in my area would be more a citizens' committee because they have the expertise and the ability to do things. They've been doing them for a number of years. You wouldn't want to put a management board in. But maybe where you're cutting a lot of independent loggers, you may want to have a management board or get the minister to do one of the two. I'd just like your comments on that.

Mr Brophy: Well, going in reverse order, I didn't interpret it that way. I interpreted it --


Mr Brophy: So my suggestion to you, sir, is to take it back to Queen's Park to have the folks put what you've just said in there. It's one or the other --

Mr Bisson: One or the other.

Mr Brophy: -- but because. It's because; it's not "may."

Mr Bisson: That's fair.

Mr Brophy: Again, we're dealing with a minister two times from now who may be of a different colour, who goes on whims -- excuse me for saying it that way -- and I don't want that. I want it to be very clear.

Mr Bisson: So one or the other.

The Vice-Chair: I'm sorry, Mr Bisson. Are you finished?

Mr Brophy: Yes. Going back to sustainability, there's a tradeoff, in my view. Sustainability, if it changes with technology and with new information and with new environmental issues, that's understood. Our problem is that we want a definition. We have to plan our lives and our businesses and our future and we don't want to be tied or hampered by the fact that the rules may change. Give us the rules. Give us what the definition today of "sustainability" really is, and then let us argue with you for a while, with whomever, and then come to an agreed, "This is going to be the definition."

In five years, if it's appropriate to change the definition because, that's fine, but we've got a road that we're going down, we need to know the rules. You can't change the rules of Monopoly, like my children are wont to do, all the time. I just want the rules set. That's why we want sustainability defined.


The Vice-Chair: Since the rules for this committee are that each party should be given some time, I think we'll have to move on to the Liberals now for an answer -- for questions. Mr Brown.

Mr Brown: Yes, I ask questions; I don't answer.

The Vice-Chair: Mr Bisson confuses me sometimes.

Mr Brown: Never. Just to pick up very briefly: There is no definition of "sustainability" in this act, in the regulations or in the manuals and we can't find it. You are making that point. Virtually every presenter who comes before us is making that point and it's causing all of us, no matter what perspective you come at this from, great concern.

What I really wanted to do is pick up on your timber allocation. We are told that there's a 50% increase in available cutting available in this province. I don't know whether that's right, I don't know whether it's available in Mattawa, but that's the information that's coming before us.

What concerns us is that if that is the case there seem to be no criteria for putting that out. There's talk about it will be done competitively, but we don't know what criteria will be used to rate that. We've heard suggestions even this morning about certainly local communities should be part of those criteria. We use the resources as close to the community it came from as possible.

I just wonder if you have some views. I think this is right. You would reflect on how those criteria should be employed.

Mr Brophy: Well, firstly, in my experience I've seen this problem be a problem for all three colours, all three parties: How do you issue a licence? My view is I don't know how you issue a licence. It's complicated. However you do it there will be problems. It's difficult. What I would like is a set of rules, like --

Mr Brown: The criteria.

Mr Brophy: The criteria. Whether there is a political decision that issues a licence -- if that's the case, that's the case. But what we want is, we need a set of rules: Why do you get licences? As long as there's a set of rules, we may not like the rules, but it's better than no rules.

The Vice-Chair: Mr Ramsay, I think, wanted to ask a question too.

Mr Ramsay: Do you want to finish that?

Mr Brophy: Regarding the issue that you continued on about sustainability and about how much lumber there is available, the problem I guess we're all facing is there are 10 zillion trees in this province and we could cut them all in one year, but the next year we'd have a problem.

We need, I think jointly, to have a say with the ministry and hopefully in the long term we would like to be the deciders of our future. So if we think that we should have no forestry industry in 10 years and we're going to cut all the trees, well, that's not very smart and we won't do it, by the way, but give us the right to say how we're going to do it. That's what we're after. We're not stupid. You see, one of the important parts is we want our children to have jobs. We're not going to cut all the trees down and have no lumber at all.

Mr Ramsay: Michael, welcome, and thank you very much for your presentation. I'm really pleased to see you are involved in a local committee really wanting to take some charge of its own future. I think that's very important, and you talk about some of the mechanisms here. I'm the MPP from Timiskaming, as you know, who's lived through what we used to call the T-word down at Queen's Park, Temagami. It's still a bit of a movable feast but maybe the worst of that is over. But I think the answers are starting to be developed here.

I think what you're referring to in section 12 on local advisory committees and these forest management committees is basically the leap of faith I think governments have to do that maybe we didn't do soon enough when I was in government and really needs to come and even the MNR is not ready to do today, that is, move from advisory committees, which I think we should have in every forest management unit, to the day where local people will manage their own resource. I proposed that in 1986, looking at the template of the Algonquin Forestry Authority as something that's workable when you have a tremendous clash of values, as we do, unfortunately, in the forest resource.

I guess this legislation tries to work with that and is flexible enough that maybe we can work our way through towards local autonomy, because you're right. I think you're right on and I think all of us, whether we're on the political side or just representing local citizens' groups, have to work for local control of our resources in northern Ontario.

Mr Brophy: To respond to that, the buzzword in business today is empowerment, and it seems to me that when you see companies like General Motors that had their problems and IBM that has had its problems, some companies have failed with their problems. The ones that are succeeding are the ones that empower the juniors, the province being the senior and the local areas being the juniors. We want that to continue. We really do support that concept. I've said it enough times today. The idea of empowerment, giving local people charge of their own affairs, makes sense, and we really want to be first off the mark in Mattawa.

The Vice-Chair: Thank you very much. We certainly appreciate your presentation. You were lucky that we were able to give you a bit of extra time.

Mr Brophy: Thank you very much.

The Vice-Chair: We do appreciate you coming here, and also Mr Levesque. Certainly you can be assured that your comments will be taken into serious consideration before we begin the clause-by-clause.

I ask again if Mr Isadore Roy has arrived. This committee then stands adjourned until 2 o'clock in the afternoon.

The committee recessed from 1147 to 1411.


The Vice-Chair: This committee continues its hearings on Bill 171, An Act to revise the Crown Timber Act to provide for the sustainability of Crown Forests in Ontario.

I understand that you represent Normick Perron Inc., Mr Jackman. If you can introduce the other witnesses and then -- I think you may have been here this morning -- you have half an hour, and if you'd like to leave some room for questions and answers, we would appreciate that.

Mr Robert Jackman: Russell Williams is planning forester; and Alain King is our manager of operations; and Gerard Laforest is our director of forestry from our main office.

Normick operates two sawmills in northeastern Ontario, one in Cochrane and one in Kirkland Lake. These mills are critical to the economic stability of both these communities. Our sawmills are currently operating at 66% capacity, which represents approximately 825,000 cubic metres per annum.

Normick would like to express support to the government in its efforts to develop new legislation to replace the Crown Timber Act. We have made considerable changes in the way we practise forest management and this legislation better represents current practices and our efforts towards developing sustainability. As a company, Normick has already begun to work on some of the initiatives outlined in this documentation and the Ministry of Natural Resources' Direction '90s.

We would like to express some concerns we have with provisions in the act that directly impact our sawmills' long-term viability.

I'll start with licensing: Long-term direct forest resource licensing is essential to Normick Perron. Currently, our mill requirements are satisfied through short-term licences and through open market purchases. As a result, our mills' wood requirements are primarily controlled by other licensees. This arrangement results in higher product costs and less flexibility, both in terms of resource planning and mill modernization. While we recognize the provisions in the act that deal with third-party licensing opportunities, we are concerned by the lack of strong legislative direction regarding direct long-term licensing to third parties.

The Crown Forest Sustainability Act needs a clear licensing mechanism to secure long-term tenure, or wood supply, for existing wood processing facilities which have historically operated under third-party licences, short-term crown licences or with purchased wood.

Best end use: As the demand for wood products increases and the overall supply decreases, particularly for sawlog material, it is essential that the structure of forest resource licensing include the principles of best end use.

We need strong legislation that directs the flow of forest resource products to and between processing facilities to ensure an optimum level of sustainability. If the government is serious about developing legislation that provides for the sustainability of our forest resources and our communities, it must address this issue in the Crown Forest Sustainability Act.

Time for review and submission: A deadline has been set for written submissions to the committee of August 26. We did not receive a copy of the regulations and manuals until August 10. Bill 171 is significant legislation affecting one of Ontario's most important industries. There are over 1,000 pages of documentation in the supporting manuals and regulations to the act, not including the decision of the Environmental Assessment Board on the class environmental assessment for timber management planning in Ontario. To understand the interactions between these documents and their implications, a longer review period is required.

This government has placed a priority on involving stakeholders in decisions that affect their livelihood. We urge that you consider your own policy principles and provide industry sufficient time to review and comment on this proposed legislation.

In conclusion, Normick Perron fully supports the Ontario Lumber Manufacturers' Association's position on the Crown Forest Sustainability Act.

Normick's goal is to become a world-class leader in the sawmilling industry. In order to achieve this goal, we need long-term sustainability of wood supply. This will enable us to make the necessary investments to ensure sustainability of our mills, our communities and our forest resources.

At this point, I'd like to introduce Alain King. Alain would like to provide some examples and explanations which refocus on some of the points that I brought forward.

Mr Alain King: Good afternoon. This morning I jotted down a few notes that I'd like to pass on to the committee this afternoon. Like I said, I'd like to make a brief summary of where both mills stand and the present problems that we are facing at Normick.

To start with, the mill in Cochrane operates under 50% direct licensing. The rest of its wood requirements come from 15% third-party licences and 35% open-market-purchased wood. The Kirkland Lake mill operates with 45% open-market-purchased wood, with the remaining supply coming all from third-party licences. Normick is not against open-market wood, but the combination of a high volume of open-market purchases and short-term third-party licences creates an insecurity of wood flow to our mills.

I would like to explain how third-party licences work through Normick. Currently, in the province of Ontario, there are many processing facilities that have surplus timber. This surplus, in some circumstances, represents species or volumes that the prime licensee cannot utilize. There are instances where prime licensees require chips, not roundwood. With a guaranteed chip supply, the prime licensee allows Normick to gain access to round timber through a short-term third-party licence. Normick's concern with these arrangements is that if MNR does not provide a long-term licence for surplus wood or creates a situation where the prime licensee controls part of our wood supply, it will leave us with short-term third-party licensing.

In the past, the Crown Timber Act did not provide for third-party operators to obtain direct long-term licences, so that we could compete on an equal base with prime licensees. At present, the third-party licensees do not have any security of wood supply. Prime licensees can change our third-party wood supply licence into an open-market scenario at their own discretion.


How does the Crown Forest Sustainability Act address the following inequities: first, supply existing processing facilities to capacity before constructing new processing facilities; second, ensure surplus wood does not become a profit centre for prime licensees at the expense of a third-party operator; thirdly, ensure that wood that is surplus to prime licensees will be directed to third-party licensees through a long-term licensing mechanism?

Another point that we have to highlight is the importance of best end use at our mills. MNR cannot propose sustainability of forest resources and not make any provisions for best end use. At present, Normick is promoting exchanges with prime licensees to achieve best end use. This is crucial for the efficiency of our mills. Although we have achieved best end use to a certain level, it could be maximized furthermore. Where does the forest sustainability act provide provisions to direct forest resources licensees to maximize best end-use principles?

On this, I turn the table over to the panel if you have any questions.

The Vice-Chair: The other gentlemen, are you finished with your presentation, then?

Mr Gerard Laforest: Yes.

Mr Russell Williams: Yes.

Mr Bisson: I have a very quick question in regard to best end use. We share a common problem with some of the smaller operators in my riding out of Timmins. We're trying to get larger-sized lumber to sell to the mining industry; the name of Little John Enterprises and a few others, and I think you might have dealt with them at one time out of Cochrane.

I support the idea of being able to exchange wood from one unit to another, but that's easier said than done. That's a fairly complicated thing because you're in the business and needing it, Malette needs it, Abitibi needs another kind. How would you propose that you do that and who would make the decision about where the wood goes? That's basically what I'm asking you: How and who decides?

Mr King: First of all, it's obvious that the wood of a unit should be utilized in that unit, as a first priority. If there is no facility to take in that wood resource, it could be directed somewhere else.

Where do we stand as far as best end use? Well, first of all, we consider that no one should be harvesting roundwood if there would be chips available. Supply them with that wood supply. The second point, with all the different arrangements on the units, in some parts of the province the wood supply is not of equal quality to another unit. In some facilities, the quality is not the main issue, where exchanges can be promoted to again promote efficiency of mills.

Mr Bisson: I still don't see how that would work, but I'll pass it on to Mr Wood.

Mr Wood: Just a couple of brief questions there: In the manuals that were being drafted, I'm just curious if your company was involved, if you had foresters involved before the legislation was brought into the House and since that time involved in helping to write the manuals.

Mr King: Normick has reviewed a little bit the memos and notes that accompany the guidelines for the act through our association, the Ontario Lumber Manufacturers' Association.

Mr Wood: The other comment that I wanted to make: I don't know if you were here this morning when a comment was made by one of the other presenters that $10 million was going to be available for trust funds. I just want to make sure on the record that the trust accounts will be $60 million and the special purpose account will be $35 million, which will give a total of $95 million, and the forest futures fund will be $6 million, which is roughly a little more than $100 million. So I just wanted to correct that and make sure that it's on there so that there's no misunderstanding. It's not $10 million; it's $100 million-plus.

Mr Bisson: Just to follow up on what I asked you initially on the switch, the problem is that, for an example, Abitibi up around Cochrane has the FMA with a lot of spruce on it, black spruce. Oversize spruce, would you suggest be chipped or would you want to promote some sort of a system where -- I know Normick does already -- you get some of that oversize into your mill. I'm wondering, how would you make this happen? Because I know the end users of the product are unhappy, people who are looking to get wood, some of the smaller operators, smaller than you people, are trying to get wood and not able to get any because it's either the FMAs that have it all or third-party agreements such as what you have in Cochrane with Abitibi. How would you deal with that? That's what I'm asking.

Mr Williams: One of the things that we're here to discuss is, that's what we want addressed in the Crown Forest Sustainability Act --

Mr Bisson: How would you do it, though?

Mr Williams: Well, the mechanisms are there right now, they're just not strong enough and they don't present a clear enough direction on how to proceed. You have the two sections, 23 and 24, for how licences can be issued, and then 31, 32 and 35 deal with transfers, amendments and the subsequent double-licensing of the same area, but the actual details regarding long-term tenure, wood supply, the mechanisms for reviewing existing licences to see what kind of surplus there is, given processing facilities' needs, and how we can then go about and modify those licences to put the best end-use scenarios into place --

Mr Bisson: But I'm asking you to be proactive. Tell me how to do it.

Mr Williams: Yes, okay. Then what you have to do is you have to design within the act or the regulations, add to it a step-by-step process that says, if as a result of the timber management planning processes surpluses are declared within that process on the sustainability of the wood supply and what not, then a process automatically kicks in that says, okay, great, we can then take some kind of mechanism under 35 that says we can already double-license the same area, and put tenure to it and automatically you have the long-term tenure, and then at the same time you can deal with the best end use. If it's a processing facility, that they have a licence right now and they're not using the roundwood, then the roundwood can flow to the processing facility that can use it and some kind of an exchange arrangement be put into place so that both facilities have long-term guaranteed supplies of the forest resource to run their facilities on.

Mr Bisson: Would you do as proposed in a competitive bid system or would you rather the ministry, through who needs it most, makes the decision? Because as proposed in the act, my understanding would be a competitive bid. I'm looking for a nod from our ministry people. That's the way I understand it.

Mr Williams: Again, if you're looking for a competitive bid on that, and it says that, yes, any new licences that come up, a competitive bid, but --

Mr Bisson: No, surpluses.

Mr Williams: -- in the back section of the act --

Mr Bisson: Declared surpluses.

Mr Williams: Yes, but you're going to slide the FMAs right underneath. Section 23 says the existing licences slide underneath that. So there's not going to be a competitive section for the FMAs. They've already had the licenses, and what we're looking for is that it might not necessarily be the best end use for that particular processing facility to be the prime licensee.

Mr Ramsay: I'd like to pursue this, because I think it's time we started to listen to the industry about doing this. I think the crown should take some stronger direction in making sure we get best end use out of our resource.

I know it's been very frustrating for a lot of the smaller companies that don't have their FMAs when a lot of the large companies have this forest management agreement that basically gives them tenure to a large chunk of the forest, and there may be surplus wood there, either because it's the age class or the different species, that they can't use and yet you could very well use that in your area. Why couldn't you almost, in a sense, superimpose one FMA upon another for different species and type of wood, so that you could have some tenure on the same land and the crown would have to almost act as a mediator to make sure, "Okay, this is what's spelled out. You're getting this sort of species in this area; the other people are getting this species and age class in another area," and work out the cutting plans and everything and use the same land to the best use and direct the wood to the best mill?

I don't see why this is such a problem. I think it's going to take a strong crown intervention to maybe sometimes knock heads a little bit, to say, "Listen, industry, we're not going to accept this any more, the big guys picking on the little guys," because they have been in a position to have an FMA, and make sure there's enough wood there and the best use of the wood for everybody in the forest.


When I read this, I think maybe there might be some flexibility in this act to maybe accomplish this in the future. I hope there is. It's something I know I'm going to work with our critic, Mike Brown, to see that there is so that everybody who's working in the bush can get a share of it and we have the best use we can of the resource. It's important.

It's a shame when we see a surplus of chips in northern Ontario and that we see -- and sometimes it's because of collective bargaining agreements etc -- that so much of the wood has to be taken off these lands by this particular labour group and go to this mill, and so beautiful roundwood is being chipped up into a mill, and it could have made some beautiful lumber, and yet we've got a surplus of chips that are a byproduct of other mills around, and they're suffering because they've got mountains of it, which is an environmental hazard and is just rotting but is of tremendous value. So we've really got to start to rationalize the flow of wood to get the best end use for all our resources.

I'm glad you brought this up. I say, continue the fight, and we'll certainly back you on that.

Mr King: I might add that the best end-use issue back five or six years ago in the mill in Cochrane, it wasn't perceived as being the main concern and at that time, because of the fact that we're in a unit that's way north, the quality and the size of wood is not there, the mill wasn't producing that much. We were at the break point where it wasn't feasible running it any more. We instigated best end use with prime licensees around us and that helped us pick up the mill production again to the point where right now we're feasible. We have to keep on promoting that because the day that we have to come back to the old scenario -- well, we might again face the same situation that we did five or six years ago.

Mr Ramsay: Yes.

Mr Jackman: So it's not just the species; it's the size categories too and having some direct licensing. I guess you're not using a management boundary any more as a solid line and using the sustainability of forest resources. Sustainability of one of those resources is sawlogs, and if you take those sawlogs and direct them to different facilities when the resource is very constrained, then is that sustaining that resource? We feel that more direct licensing for that raw material to processing facilities like sawmills is really what's needed if you're moving forward on a platform of sustaining the forest resource.

Mr Ramsay: Good. Thank you.

Mr Carr: Thank you very much for the presentation. How many employees do you have now; do you know?

Mr King: At both facilities in Cochrane, we're 150 employees at the mills. Including the bush, you're looking at a workforce of about 250 in Cochrane. In Kirkland Lake, it would be around 125 altogether.

Mr Carr: Okay. You mention in here, I think, that you're at 66% capacity. Where is that -- up? down? -- over the last little while? How has it been over the last few years?

Mr King: Again, back a few years ago, the facility in Cochrane used to run on three shifts. Both facilities right now are on a two-shift basis. If we had the wood supply for both mills, without even doing one single investment in both mills we could probably generate 150 jobs tomorrow morning. But because of the fact that the wood is not directed through our mills, we're down to two shifts.

Mr Carr: And your big concern, of course, deals with the direction regarding the long-term licensing to third parties. What percentage would be in the same position as yourself with the third party? That may be a tough question to answer, but what percentage would be like that? Do you have any idea?

Mr Williams: Percentage.

Mr Carr: Yes.

Mr Williams: The ministry would be in a better position to answer that.

Mr Carr: I just wondered if it was common knowledge, if there was a ballpark figure. What I was getting at is, I wanted to basically see how many people are in the same position as yourself with this concern. Your understanding is that there would be quite a few, then?

Mr King: For sure I know a couple of other ones.

Mr Carr: So it's hard to say.

Mr King: Again, MNR people would surely have better figures.

Mr Carr: Right. Just so you know, the government has said there's going to be another workshop to go through the manuals, and you mentioned your association was involved in the first go-round. I suspect you'll get your input to them for the second go-round, and when that comes up, obviously you'll be very concerned about that.

For a minute, let's just assume that not too much changes and the bill goes through as it is. What do you see happening to your company, based on the way the bill is now without any changes? What do you envision happening?

Mr King: Well, the way that we're operating right now, with no long-term wood security, it's very hard to convince our major stakeholders to say, "Well, we're going to invest in the facilities in northern Ontario." Every single investment project that we have has to be backed up with supply. If the act doesn't change anything within there that would guarantee Normick's operation, long-term licensing, I don't see any changes from the direction that we're taking today as far as investing in the mill, keeping it as minimum as possible and just keeping it operational until we see changes.

Mr Carr: So this would help long-term security but you're still going to be in a viable position if it goes through as is, is what you're saying.

Mr King: Again, third-party licences will have to be clearly defined, what they are. We are right now in a process of having a third-party licence under one of our operations being turned over on an open-market scenario. On that, to us, we're taking a really big step backwards.

The Vice-Chair: Chris will ask a quick question.

Mr Hodgson: I just wanted to follow up on this sustainability. Do you think more local autonomy through citizens' groups that are envisioned under this act -- should they be empowered to address this best end use as one of the criteria of their empowerment? Would that work?

Mr Williams: I think that it could become part of the umbrella that they would operate under. If they're sitting in the community and the community is going to be their primary interest, maintaining that, then it would be in their best interest to definitely address the best end-use situation because that way it ensures the viability of all the different mills that might be in that particular community.

So, yeah. I don't know the scope of power that the MNR is planning to give these local citizens' committees and things like that, and the decision-making part of it, but they should certainly be involved in how to direct the wood as a result of the planning process.

The Vice-Chair: Thank you very much. We really appreciated your presence here, coming down to speak to the committee. As you know, we have another week of hearings next week, Thunder Bay and Fort Frances, and then we'll be going to Toronto for the hearings there, and then clause-by-clause. So if in the interim you have further comments to make, please leave them with the clerk and he will distribute it to the committee.



The Vice-Chair: The next presenter is Ron Magee, consultant forester, if you'd please come forward.

Mr Ron Magee: Good afternoon, Mr Chair and committee members. My name is Ron Magee. I live in Haileybury. I'd like to comment on how the legislation affects myself and some of my clients. I'm a forester, an ex-MNR forester, forestry tech and scaler. I've had over 10 years doing consulting work and trying to pursue one of my hobbies of practising forestry on private land. I presently own in excess of 600 acres of private land. There's 160 acres right here in the city of North Bay and I have a large chunk, over 200 acres, in the community of Black River-Matheson. I put two pieces of property under the Woodlands Improvement Act in excess of six years ago. They're free to grow and doing quite well.

Recently, I have participated in the environmental assessment as a witness for the industry in wood supply and old growth forest meetings. I was a contractor on the independent forest audit doing the Kirkland Lake and Chapleau districts. I'm a member of the comprehensive planning council in Temagami, the citizens' committee there, and have been on several other meetings and committees that escape me right now. My clients are mostly small land holders to very large land holders, first nations, Ministry of Natural Resources, doing silviculture consulting.

This presentation is as a forester and as a private land holder. A general comment on the legislation is, I like the flexibility and the assured dollars. Certainly as a ministry forester I recall having areas site-prepared and the trees all lined up and not knowing whether or not the funding was going to be there to plant it. I certainly hope this takes away some of that aggravation from the ministry staff.

The balance of my presentation is specifically focused on private land. I just got the regulations when I was in the Sault on Monday, and I've had to change somewhat the focus of my presentation. I thought that private land was going to be ignored, the crown timber on private land. Also in the Sault I heard that the managed forest tax rebate or some form of it will probably be reinstituted. I am very pleased with that. In the managed forest tax rebate system, there was a clause where if the owner owns the land and the crown owns the timber and a management plan was prepared, the owner of the property could make access to the tax rebate. I was on the bandwagon with several pieces of property where I owned all the trees and was just getting a management plan prepared for the all-trees-reserved property when the thing was cancelled.

I'd like to focus specifically on crown wood on private land, which is in the regulations and specifically the last three pages -- in fact, specifically the last two paragraphs. It gives me some hope that the crown does recognize that there is substantial wood out there and that the owner of the surface rights does maybe have some right to cut the wood.

I will describe the present situation, give some problems and maybe make some constructive suggestions on what can be done. Presently, in northern Ontario there's private land patented under various acts. There's the agricultural act where all timber belongs to the owner of the surface rights. The Veterans' Land Act is another one where the pine has been reserved to the crown. There is the Settlers' Pulpwood Protection Act where the pine was reserved for the crown but voided at a later date. Then under the Mining Act a tremendous amount of property patented in the Sudbury, Temagami -- meaning the Cobalt camp -- Kirkland Lake and Timmins district, was patented under the Mining Act as private but has crown timber on it.

Some of the earlier patents, just the pine was reserved up until 1918. From 1918 to 1955 all trees were reserved to the crown, but only in 1955 was it put on title that the crown has the right to practise forestry. Where the crown owns the timber it's in the act that the crown can enter upon and remove the trees.

My piece of property in Kirkland Lake district, the 200-acre one, was all-trees-reserved. I purchased it over 15 years ago for forestry purposes knowing that I'd have to pay stumpage to the crown when it was cut. As a surface rights owner, I've been involved with a mining company and negotiating for minimum damage to the crown trees, protecting trees the crown owns. I feel I have a stake in this property and I'm very pleased to see that in this it does say the owner may get the licence to cut it himself, because in Kirkland Lake district in the last several years, they've come down quite heavy saying that the wood will be licensed to someone who has an order-in-council licence in the management unit, and they will go in and cut the trees.

A pine release is available where pine only is reserved to the crown. It's generally granted without a problem. However, there's no mechanism in place for the owner of the surface rights to purchase the timber when all trees are reserved.

On private land, the EA does not apply. There's no formal notice necessary for cutting. There's a tremendous amount of crown wood on this patented land that is not presently in crown management unit calculations.

One of the problems with this type of land is boundaries, particularly an isolated piece of private property sitting in crown lands. Cutting has often taken place by the owner just by issuing a DCL to the person. Problems exist in keeping spruce separate from pine, especially if it's destined for the same mill. Some districts force you to separate the spruce and pine at the stump and only haul one at a time. Others work out a per cent and base the stumpage that way.

Generally in all classes of property where some or all of the trees are reserved for the crown, more and more of this is becoming residential. Certainly in Swastika, Kirkland Lake, Cobalt and the city of Timmins, more and more people are building houses on this property where the trees belong to the crown. This of course gives problems when the person plants an ornamental tree or tree on their front lawn. The trees actually belong to the crown.

In fact, one of my larger clients has been planting trees for years at his own expense and the crown owns the trees. The trees now, a lot of them are ready for tending. Problems exist. How are they going to be tended? If and when the timber's cut, the crown, I assume, will expect stumpage on the property. Recently, they've made approaches to the MNR to go through the pine release and saying they'd like to be able to purchase all trees reserved, but of course the crown says, "There's pending legislation on this and we're busy and it takes a long time to search title," and a lot of things. This is not unique to the existing party. It's been going on for years, I think, through all existing three parties' reigns.

On the other side, maybe the person doesn't want the trees on their property. They say: "Get the trees off my property. Take your trees; they're using my nutrients." Or the crown owns a tree next to a person's house or cottage. It's going rotten. "Take your tree down. It might fall on my cottage." What would happen if such a tree fell down and did cause some damage?

In most cases, the land owner has put a road into his property, and cutting the timber helps with the road costs. So I'm very pleased to see this word in here where it says, the second last paragraph, that the land owner "may" get a licence to harvest the timber.

I'd like to focus in where it says, "with regeneration on his cost," the top of page 32, second line. Here we have the owner cutting crown trees and, I assume, paying full crown stumpage and going to have to pay to regenerate the land. I haven't skimmed through everything else, but is there a provision for the forest renewal part to be waived? Because here you have a land owner going to pay into their forest renewal kitty, and it appears that he's not going to have the right to draw on that forest renewal kitty to regenerate the land.


Let's go one step further and say a company, such as Normick, owns a piece of property and it wishes to harvest it. It appears here that they'd have to do that at their own cost. I think there's a problem in the wording there or certainly the intent. Maybe someone has thought that the land owner is making a tremendous profit by harvesting his timber, and this is some way to take away the incentive for the guy to cut it himself or perhaps the excess profit that they may think is there.

I'd just caution by taking all the land in this category where the crown owns the timber and doing an allowable cut calculation, because some of it is not going to be available. A lot of people, this 100-acre parcel, they've brought in bulldozers and backhoes and created a park, probably not even knowing that they don't own the trees, and yet the crown has this sitting there. So to do a sustainable calc on what's out there will be very difficult.

There are some age problems; as you know, in a lot of cases the stuff is all roughly the same age. How do you do an allowable cut calc on that and make it sustainable? Also a great problem is that many of the owners -- registered owners, I comment -- are dead or they are two thirds owned by one person and one third by another, or three sevenths by one and the balance by somebody else who was deceased 30, 40 years ago and the family is continuing to pay the taxes. So if you expect to deal with the owner, in a lot of cases, there's a tremendous burden on somebody to bring the ownership up to date.

Another specific recommendation I'd like to make is to change the act, whatever act it is, if it's the Land Titles Act, so that the owner can purchase all the trees, or void it in cases, or conversely, get the crown some money to purchase some of these surface rights and get them out of the way. What a way for even a forester to add thousands of acres to a working group by just a few thousand dollars. Personally, I've offered several pieces of property to the crown after I've cut them over, and they say they have no money -- 160 acres for $5,000 to $6,000 with limited access is roughly the going price.

There are a lot of acres. Certainly in the Sudbury area, we're talking hundreds of thousands of acres. In Temagami, Kirkland Lake and Timmins, we're talking tens of thousands of acres with wood on that are not presently showing up in management plans.

That finishes my presentation. I'd be glad to take any questions.

Mr Ramsay: Welcome, Ron. Thanks for making your presentation. You've really brought up an area of discussion that quite frankly, until I really started to look at this act, I didn't really know existed. I always thought of northern Ontario as being about 90% crown land and 10% patented land, and thought when it came to wood, basically the ownership was fairly obvious there. But you've certainly brought up a whole new area here, and you pointed out the regulations here that talk about this.

You mentioned there just in the Sudbury-Temagami-Kirkland Lake area that maybe it's 10,000 acres of this. Do you have any idea what percentage of maybe northern Ontario is in this situation that it's crown wood on patented land? It's got to be part of the 10%, if I'm right, 90 and 10. I think I'm right. I don't know what that is, but what amount of wood are we really talking about in, say, percentage terms or total land base and then maybe a wood base?

Mr Magee: David, I've never run it through. Each district has its own individual numbers, and sometimes their numbers aren't correct -- they have it as private land, but private land where all trees are reserved, where pine is reserved and where the patentee owns all the timber -- and are a little bit fuzzy. That could be put together from district offices or regional offices.

Mr Ramsay: Would the district offices have that information? It's not just in land titles, but they would also know that yes, it's patented land but --

Mr Magee: The MNR keeps records but we always caution people, "Pitter-patter to the land titles office to check it before you start making rash assumptions," or something like that.

Kirkland Lake has done a recent search of private land and it's reasonably accurate. I still keep in my back pocket in most districts a couple of places where there are glaring errors and I still do know of some places where they haven't got it down properly.

Mr Ramsay: You were suggesting towards the end in your presentation that you in the past have offered, say, a 160-acre parcel of land after you had forest-logged it, basically at a very nominal price, just to see if, to simplify things, the land would go back to the crown. Is that sort of a general suggestion you might have to simplify this, that maybe the crown should be sort of buying these pieces up and so we would increase the crown reserve of wood? Would this be a --

Mr Magee: That's an obvious solution. Being very familiar with the Kirkland Lake district, having been a unit forester there, there are a lot of isolated pieces of property which, from a management point of view, are painful: the boundary, the guy wants access. They do come for sale from time to time and I think it's a reasonable way.

Certainly there is a mechanism in place for the crown to take possession of this land again. As the nursery expanded, there were several pieces of property that the Ministry of Government Services purchased and they now appear in the land titles office as owned by the Ministry of Government Services and they show on the maps as crown land.

Mr Ramsay: Do I have time for another quick one, or did you have another one, Mike?

Mr Brown: Go ahead.

Mr Ramsay: I suppose this is the very opposite direction, of course, to what the crown wants to do because by this act and many other acts of government, government wants to get out of the business of doing things, and this would be consistent with that in that basically they'd like to see the private sector play a bigger part in forestry. We've seen that over the years from MNR and other ministries. But I guess what you're saying, as far as management, by having all these different owners out there and everybody having maybe different plans for their land, it might be more beneficial for the province if we took this land under ownership so we could have better management of the forest resource.

Mr Magee: From a forester's point of view for the crown, I would say that would help. A caution that has been brought to my case several times, certainly in the town of Cobalt, there are always pieces of property that are for sale for back taxes. If the crown were to pick up pieces of property in organized municipalities, that municipality loses the tax base and it's rather scary.

Mr Hodgson: My background's municipal. I'm glad to hear you've been following -- you were in Sault Ste Marie and you heard the government's announcement on the private lands. That was made in the House to me earlier this year in June.

Mr Magee: Thank you. I'm glad you were there because that's the only way I would have heard it and I would have been thumping here, "Let's get the managed forest tax rebate back in the system somehow."

Mr Hodgson: I think you're probably still going to have to because they haven't set that to template. I haven't seen it yet, but I'm sure that it's going to be in September some time.

This is a --

Mr Ramsay: Is this true?

Mr Hodgson: What was that?

Mr Ramsay: We're getting the tax rebate back?

Mr Hodgson: The template for the private lands is what was announced on Monday morning and again in the House back in June, as I understand it.

Mr Magee: Meaning that forestry would be recognized?

Mr Hodgson: I would hope so, but you'll have to ask the government. They're the ones who will have to make the announcement. Mr Hampton was the one who made the announcement in the House back in June and, again, the parliamentary assistant made it on Monday.

Mr Wood: You're talking about the template or the blueprint?

Mr Hodgson: Yes. Is that suitable to the opposition?

Mr Brown: No, we're just trying to figure this out.

Mr Hodgson: Okay. This is a whole section, like David, that I didn't really know existed in the north until the other day I got asking about it. Have you read the manual? Did you get a copy of the manual?

Mr Magee: I'm glad you gave me a chance to speak on that. I, like everybody else, was shortchanged. I picked up copies of everything in the Sault at 2 o'clock in the afternoon and I was assured that mine was in the mail. I got handed mine here at two o'clock today. Somehow people thought I lived in North Bay because I own property here. No, I haven't read the manual.


Mr Hodgson: Okay. There's a section -- hopefully you can get it today -- it's in the regulations we made under Bill 171, the Crown Forests Sustainability Act. It's on page 14 of that. I'd be interested in your comments when you've read it, pages 14, 15 and 16. I don't know enough about this area -- in fact, I asked some of the ministry staff what they were talking about in regard to this. I understand that there are different patents all over the place, as you described, but in order to make one universal rule it's going to be difficult because it's under different acts and there are different conditions on all kinds of pieces of land.

Any suggestions that you have, if you could send them after you've read that, I'd appreciate as well.

Mr Magee: Just to make a comment on that: One of the problems is that under the current land title system, a lot of the wording from the original deed is not brought forward, and a lot of lawyers and people whose properties change hands several times aren't familiar with what's on the original deed. Quite often that deed is not in that land titles office or has to be searched through the archives in Toronto.

Mr Hodgson: Quite an onerous task. Thank you.

Mr Wood: I'm just curious. In your opening remarks you mentioned that you were a former MNR employee for a number of years?

Mr Magee: Yes.

Mr Wood: And you've been involved in contract work in auditing?

Mr Magee: Yes, I participated in that independent fourth audit, yes.

Mr Wood: Okay. You mentioned before you were at Sault Ste Marie Monday morning and you were aware of the manuals that were there?

Mr Magee: Yes. Yes, I got mine at two o'clock that day, I'd just like to say.

Mr Wood: That day? Okay.

Mr Magee: That day.

Mr Wood: Okay. Very good. I thought you meant two o'clock this afternoon.

Mr Magee: Well, when I specifically asked for something I got it two o'clock on Monday, but the package I should have got showed up at two o'clock today.

Mr Wood: There's no doubt about it, there's been a lot of -- being a former MNR employee, you realize that there's a lot of work that has gone in there in consultation with the different interest groups out there, the industry, the rod-and-gun clubs, the various groups, in order to be able to come up with the legislation, the manuals and the regulations, and it's quite time-consuming. I'm actually amazed that we did get them out by the end of July and they're available for people to look through while they make their presentations.

You've covered a lot of ground as far as abandoned land is concerned. I know that throughout Cochrane North, if you drive along Highway 11, you see a lot of land that was cleared 30, 40 years ago with the intention of having farm land and is basically abandoned now; the houses are falling down, and whatever sheds they had. I'm just curious as to what you think could be possibly done with that. I know we don't address it in Bill 171, but I'm just curious, being a forester yourself, what you think we should be doing with that, if you want to comment on it; or if not, that's fine.

Mr Magee: No, I comment on it in the sense that it's probably got good access, which makes it a place where whoever owns it should consider spending money on forestry because those trees are going to be accessible to a mill. We all wonder sometimes, way back in the boonies, why we're practising forestry, especially with more and more stringent road considerations.

The Vice-Chair: That completes that part of the hearings. We certainly appreciate your presence and also your keen interest that you brought to this hearing. I'm sure this bill is important for you and you will continue to follow its development with great interest. If you have any further comments, please be in touch with our clerk.


The Vice-Chair: The next presenter is Grant Forest Products and, according to my sheet here, is Mr Fleet.

Mr Bob Fleet: My name is Bob Fleet and I work for Grant Forest Products in Englehart, Ontario. Grant Forest Products is an oriented strandboard mill, and I believe we employ 250 people at the mill site and an additional 250 people in trucking, logging and so forth. I'd like to thank you for the opportunity to speak to you today, and I would like to start by saying that generally Grant Forest Products is very supportive of the content of Bill 171.

One of my concerns at the outset is the amount of time that the industry or anybody making a presentation really had available to them to get ready. Despite very good cooperation from Ministry of Natural Resources staff -- I know they're working very hard to get the manuals produced and everything else -- I don't think there's enough of them to go around for the task at hand. In my case, I received the manuals by Purolator at 4 o'clock Friday afternoon. That really left yesterday and today to read over 1,500 pages of material. As a quick calculation, that's about 45 seconds a page. So I haven't had a chance to read everything yet.

Mr Bisson: Speed-reading.

Mr Fleet: I can't speed-read even at 45 seconds.

One of the things I did have a chance to read and why I think this point is so important is because a quote in the front of the Forest Management Planning Manual says:

"These manuals should be viewed as works in progress. They represent almost three decades of progress in the evolution of forest and natural resource policy, accountability, planning, information collection on management effects and effectiveness monitoring, public involvement, evaluation, reporting, new timber harvesting practices and the pressing need for new enabling legislation."

I just don't think 45 seconds a page really does 30 years of work justice.

Anyway, having said that, the first point I'd like to make is with respect to subsection 23(1) and subsection 35(1) of Bill 171, and those would be sustainable forest licences and licences on the same land.

By and large, Grant Forest Products supports this concept. This would be the concept where one forest company has a licence to harvest one part of an area or one species from an area and another forest company has a licence to harvest another part of the same area or another species from that area.

If I could encourage the committee with respect to directing the implementation of those two sections, I would strongly encourage them to look only at the concept of working group licences, not species licences, and there's a difference. Trees don't grow in the forest in uniform blocks. You don't have all pine, then all poplar, then all spruce. You have an area which is predominantly pine with some poplar and spruce or an area which is predominantly poplar with some pine and so forth.

Having had the experience of trying to administer species licences when I worked for the Ministry of Natural Resources, it's rather a nightmare. What happens is you have difficulties with respect to enforcing the environmental side. If there is damage to streams or creeks, if there are penalties for utilization and so forth and so on, if you have two or three companies operating on the same ground at the same time, you give us the opportunity to point a finger at the other company.

What I would strongly suggest is that on an area, which would be a licensed area or a management unit, you have two or three companies all with rights to the working groups on those areas and you make the companies sort out the arrangements for the purchase of the incidental wood between themselves, such that if I had a licence on the same land as somebody else and I was interested in poplar, I'd be responsible somehow to market the pine that I cut to the licensee on the same management unit and they would have the responsibility to market to me the poplar that they didn't want. Having us travel the same piece of ground with three pieces of equipment and so forth and so on is quite horribly inefficient and does make it difficult for the crown to administer.

A second concern that I have is with respect to paragraph 67(1)12, "prescribing matters on which licensees shall endeavour to agree under subsection 35(2)." Basically what I'm concerned about is that as a company, we harvest close to one million tonnes of poplar a year through various means. We are harvesting as third parties on FMAs, we have our own licences on crown units and we purchase wood from the open market, such that my recent count before I came to the table here is that I have operations or I am purchasing wood from 98 separate licences.


Under the old Crown Timber Act, there was the provision for the party that had the prime licence to charge royalties to a third party, which would be grants in the case of somebody who had a licence to harvest the spruce. The royalties that we are being requested to charge, simply because somebody else was there first, because the conifer industry grew up first, and the royalties that we're being asked to pay to companies that have prime licences are extraordinary and in many cases they surpass what we're paying to the crown for crown charges, for crown dues, right now. That's why I think my company supports the concept of licences on the same land so much.

But my keenest advice is that under paragraph 67(1)12 prescribing matters where we must agree -- and I think some of those are the same concerns Normick might have had -- the crown has to be absolutely instrumental in making sure that what were traditionally known of as third parties, people who are stuck currently under the Crown Timber Act in a third-party situation -- we're being, in my opinion, ransomed to pay royalties. We don't know what the money is used for. Theoretically, I'll be paying upwards of $1.5 million a year, not to the crown but to other forest companies, because they hold the licence. We don't know what we're getting for our money.

The third point I'd like to make, then, under part VII of the act, under "Remedies and Enforcement," where there's provision for $1-million penalties, that caught my eye, the idea that there may be $1-million penalties levied against industry for certain things. The only thing I'd like people to think about is, well, why $1 million in the first place? Secondly, will the $1-million penalties be levied on the basis of the severity of an infraction or will it be levied on the basis of a person's ability to pay? Is this just a $1-million penalty that's going to be levied against the large companies, and the independent operators and such don't ever get charged $1 million? What's the relationship there and why is it $1 million?

Secondly, I think it's probably going to end up much like the death penalty in its implementation. People will be very, very reluctant to ever use it because it's so severe. There has to be something different than a $1-million penalty for failing to obey a stop-work order. When I worked for the crown, we were reluctant to levy fines if it got over $10,000 in some cases. It's just something to think about, I suppose.

The fourth point I'd like to make is that in section 29, annual area charges, and then again in subsection 67(1), area charges and forestry futures charges, not only are there no provisions for refunding these moneys to the logging industry, but it specifically says that there will not be refunds.

I know of at least one example where we have held a licence now for three years. We've had to pay the area charges on those licences but we've never been issued an approval to commence logging. The crown continues to collect the area charges. In all likelihood we'll never be allowed to harvest, but we have to diligently pay the area charges or we'll lose the licence, and the crown is collecting this money. In my mind, it's a little bit immoral.

A second part of the area charges goes a little bit to some other section in the legislation, if I understood it, about defined purposes. The trend in society today seems to be moving in the direction of areas which are banned from logging, for other purposes, such as for the protection of tourism or for the protection of cottages or to protect my backyard, which is fine, and we understand that's the way society is going. I think it would be in the crown's interest to also make provisions, by defining purposes in this act, to collect the area charges which would have come from the logging industry, from the tourist outfitter or from the cottage association. It may temper their requests for 10 townships for their own use when all they need is one. There's no buffering mechanism in there now. The way the whole thing is working is, come in with an extreme position and you'll get something you wanted, whereas if you got that position and you had to pay, you couldn't possibly afford to if you also had to pay area charges.

The fifth point I'd like to make is with respect to the matter of crown timber on patent land, which was some of the matter that Mr Magee was talking to. I see in the Forest Management Planning Manual that it very specifically states that it is a management planning manual for crown forests on crown land, so once again we have these orphaned trees.

There's an abundance, particularly in the northeast corner of this province, of patent land with crown trees on it, and it would be my position that this timber should be regulated so that it can be harvested on a sustained basis.

That is the purpose of the act. Right now it's being mined. People can go and cut this timber. It's not controlled by any type of professional forester's calculations in terms of amount. It's quite frankly being mined. It should be regulated, and this is, in my opinion, the opportunity to do that.

I guess those are my concerns.

Mr Hodgson: I enjoyed your presentation. There are two areas I'd like a little more detail on. One was the two licensees on FMAs or on crown units and how you pay a fee to the first party. In a lot of instances, isn't that to pay for roads that are in and the costs that you wouldn't have to bear?

Mr Fleet: No. Road fees are on top of that. We're paying something called a royalty.

Mr Hodgson: A royalty to the holder of the licence?

Mr Fleet: To the holder of the licence, and it's charged per tonne, just as though we were paying stumpage, and in some cases it exceeds what we pay in stumpage.

Mr Hodgson: So they're making a profit on the fact that they had the licence first.

Mr Fleet: Yes.

Mr Hodgson: Okay. That's interesting. And the remedy on that is to have the crown have to specify that out in the particular section that details that.

Mr Fleet: Yes, and it says in the regulations, if I understand them and I'm reading them correctly, we can do that.

Mr Hodgson: Yes, that's the way I read it.

Mr Fleet: I'm just encouraging the crown to be very tough on that one.

Mr Hodgson: Okay. The second area I'd just like you to go through in a bit more detail is the concept of area charges. We had the tourist outfitters here this morning, and they pointed out that a lot of the buffer zones around lakes are for environmental reasons for the habitat of the fish or the habitat protection and that the buffers around lakes aren't for the sole purpose of or in any way related to the tourism industry or to the cottage industry, but the buffers were put in by the province of Ontario to ensure a provincial interest in the water quality in the lake habitat. Are you suggesting that they weren't put in that way? You're an ex-MNR official.

Mr Fleet: No. Some were put in for those reasons, and those are very legitimate reasons, for the good of society.

Mr Hodgson: But there are other areas that are put in just for a buffer zone for tourism purposes and --

Mr Fleet: Sure, there are areas that are put in to protect tourist outfitters and to protect cottage associations and cottagers, and those are legitimate reasons. It's just that it's revenue lost to the crown, and my thinking is that the legitimacy of the requests and the magnitude of the areas that are being requested by other parties would possibly get a little bit smaller, freeing up more timber for the industry, if they had to pay the area charges.

The concern is that those area charges and those forestry futures charges are for things like fire protection and insect infestation, and those very areas that we're protecting are the areas which are going to be the high-hazard areas for fire and the high-hazard areas for insect infestation later on as the trees get overmature and fall down.

Mr Hodgson: Is that clearly defined right now when a buffer is set up, for what purpose it's being set up?

Mr Fleet: No.

Mr Hodgson: Could I go in and look at a map that has a buffer in it and ascertain the purposes why that buffer was placed?

Mr Fleet: You could find some which are very clearly single-purpose buffers, but you would find many that are multiple-purpose buffers, some that would protect both the cottagers and the water quality. You get into --

Mr Hodgson: So you're into a grey area. How would you apportion the costs?

Mr Fleet: I'd leave that up to the crown. It's simply something that could be done as a percentage, just a fixed per cent.

Mr Hodgson: I see. Okay.


Mr Bisson: I need some clarification on something you have said in your presentation. First of all, welcome; always nice to see you, Bob. We've had the opportunity to do business in the past. You used to be one of our foresters out of the ministry out of Timmins and we always did good work with you. Best of luck in the private sector.

Now that I've set you up and we've associated each other, I'll ask you the question. In the point you make about paying area charges on unused land, I'm not quite sure I follow what you're getting at. Are you saying that you have licences under Grant waferboard or Grant lumber for wood that you'll never cut and you're paying the licence? I'm not quite sure I know what you're getting at.

Mr Fleet: Essentially, yes. My point is twofold, but the first point is yes, there are licences which are issued to Grant Forest Products. Under an order-in-council licence you can get a multi-year licence, and then the crown's control over harvest is that it must issue annually an approval to commence logging under that order-in-council licence.

We have held a licence, I'm not positive but I believe for three years, and for a number of reasons the crown has been unable to issue an approval to commence logging. Meanwhile, we are paying area charges on that area. I think the way things are going in that particular area, because there are other issues -- tourism and cottaging and so forth and so on -- we'll likely never be permitted to harvest in that area.

Mr Bisson: So given the ability, you would cut the timber, but you can't cut the timber because it's up --

Mr Fleet: The timber is good, but there are other social reasons why the crown is reluctant.

Mr Bisson: You can't cut it.

Mr Fleet: They're not reluctant to collect the area charges. My point is, I think that's having your cake and eating it too.

Mr Bisson: Yes, I hear what you're saying. I wasn't following what you were getting at, but now I understand what you were getting at.

The other thing you raise is an interesting one, licensing by work groups. You were saying that you support the concept that within the particular management area, you could have more than one licensee.

Mr Fleet: Absolutely.

Mr Bisson: It's a good idea to deal with a lot of the problems we've dealt with in the past in regard to people trying to find wood that they can't get their hands on. But I wonder how you do that so that each user pays a fair share of both the area charges and -- well, the stumpage is fairly easy, but the area charges ahead.

I'm just going to use an example. We'll take somebody's FMA, Abitibi-Price, let's say, out of Iroquois Falls. If that was the case, Normick Perron, I know, gets some poplar out of that particular FMA and I think they get some oversize spruce. How would they pay a fair share of that area charge? If they're getting the lumber off of it and have a licence to cut on the other FMA, how do we really know, because we don't have a really good sense of exactly what's there.

Mr Fleet: I would hope that the licences on the same area are long-term licences, not identical to an FMA but hopefully conceptually something along that lines, 15- or 20- or 10-year or whatever. When I suggest that you license by working group, then, the company which would be licensed, the poplar working group, would pay the area charges for the amount of area on that forest which would be in the poplar working group and the company that was issued the licence for the conifer or the pine or the spruce working group would pay the area charges for the amount of area on that particular management unit.

Mr Bisson: So what you're saying is that you're talking about both FMA and crown units, doing that in both?

Mr Fleet: Yes, because if I'm reading the legislation correctly, really the terminology of FMA and such disappears when we go to the Crown Forest Sustainability Act.

Mr Bisson: It does. Just so I follow you, what you're saying is that what you would do is you would look at that area, you would say: "That's predominantly poplar. We can draw that out on a map" --

Mr Fleet: The forest resource inventory maps will tell you that, "These areas are predominantly poplar and these areas are predominantly spruce."

Mr Bisson: Based on that geographical area, then you apply whatever that percentage is of the land mass against the entire parcel and then you figure out from there what the area charge would be.

Mr Fleet: Absolutely. And then, as I said earlier, we would be responsible for marketing the incidental species to the other people and they would do the same. We'd be dependent on them for the incidental product in their cut and they'd be dependent on us for the incidental product in our cut. We'd have to cooperate and work together.

Mr Bisson: Just a question in regard to the purpose clause and the definition of "sustainability." We've heard two sides of the argument. Some people -- I wouldn't say a majority; a minority of people, I think -- say we shouldn't try to define that in the legislation, because, as we know, our technology changes etc and it would be fairly difficult to do that properly.

What's your view, as a person who is now in the private sector and somebody who also worked within the ministry, in regard to the whole perspective of saying, within the purpose clause, trying to define the purpose clause to a wider scope? Mostly I've heard from some people saying they want us to basically really define within the purpose clause what the whole idea of the bill is and to also define "sustainability." What's your view? Should we keep that in regulations, like keep the purpose clause as it is and not define "sustainability" in the legislation? What's your view?

Mr Fleet: I'm not sure where I'd see sustainability defined. I'd be comfortable with it defined in the legislation and I'm uncomfortable with the purposes being defined by regulation. My point, I think, is that at any point in time when you decide to start defining other purposes, such as tourism protection or something, that's going to be difficult. We might as well do it now. I mean, it's difficult enough to change the Crown Timber Act. If we're going after that, we might as well add these other things which I think in the long run are going to contribute to the true sustainability of the forests for all users.

Mr Ramsay: I was very intrigued by your suggestion with the joint licences, doing it by working group. This may start to solve some of the problems Normick Perron brought up.

I'm wondering now, do you think then the straight commercial trading of the species after companies harvest by working group -- I agree with that principle -- would get us the best end use from the free market? Does there need to be also some sort of screening process in that commercial transaction once the harvest has taken place so we make sure we're getting the right wood to the right place for best end use, or should we just leave it up to the commercial transactions that would happen?

Mr Fleet: I think it accommodates the goal of best end use and that, combined with additional conditions in the licence -- for example, on many of our licences we're directed to sell the veneer log of a poplar tree to Norbord in Cochrane. Setting out a licence on a working group basis would still allow the crown to direct us to direct the veneer bolts to Norbord and in essence pursue best end use. Because we'd be interdependent, I think it would just naturally happen anyway.

Mr Ramsay: Yes. I think it's a good idea, and it's certainly worth a try.

In referring to some of what Ron Magee previously had brought up about the problem of the crown timber on private land, you suggested the crown regulate that. How would we regulate that? How would you suggest the crown regulate that, its timber on private land?

Mr Fleet: In the same manner that we regulate crown timber on crown land. With the timber which is on patent land, the titles to that land very clearly identify that that timber is crown timber. It's no different -- for example, I own a home in Englehart and I own the surface rights but I do not own the mining rights. I know that. My lawyer told me that when I purchased the property. The people who have bought this patent land know, or if their lawyers are good they should know, they do not own the rights to the timber.

There's no reason why, with an adequate inventory, the crown cannot say there's this much timber and we're going to harvest it over this much time and that means this much per year, because that's not happening, and yet the industry right now is relying on a certain amount of supply coming from private land. If things keep going the way they're going, all of a sudden the tap is going to turn off and someone is going to have to shut down.

Mr Ramsay: So your main concern about bringing this forward is the lack of supply, because you can't chase down --

Mr Fleet: The lack of predictable supply.

Mr Ramsay: Predictable supply, and a lot of this is because maybe you can't track down the owners or they don't want to deal with you, whatever, and so the supply's locked up.

Mr Fleet: I know this sounds a little radical, but it really doesn't involve the owners. The owners are the crown. It doesn't involve the owners of the land.

Mr Ramsay: Yes, I guess we all have a different sense of -- I don't own the trees but I own the land, and we all have a sense of what ownership means. Yes, it can be somewhat controversial, but I'm sympathetic. We need to rectify the problem.

Mr Brown: I guess there's another issue I wanted to take up with you, because we talk about the trusts that are being set up, and one of the real issues, I think, in this whole debate is the reforestation issue. We look at, different species will require different stumpage fees.

Say we are harvesting relatively low-value poplar or birch, whatever, for, say, your company, and you're paying the 50-cent fee, but the goal of that management unit maybe is to bring it back to where it was in the first cut in that area where it was spruce or whatever. I'm wondering how we decide what species this land should be regenerated to and that the 50 cents that you're paying will actually do the job. Conceptually, I haven't got my head around that notion, and maybe you could help me, because it could be the opposite situation too, where you're paying $6 and you'd be better off letting it go to poplar or birch.


Mr Fleet: The first thing is, I think what species the particular cutover returns to is by and large defined in a forest management plan under the Forest Management Planning Manual. I did read that one, but there's also a silvicultural and operations manual, so there'd be some very clear direction in there too about, if you harvest this, then you'll bring it back to whatever. It may be that if you harvest poplar, you may not want to bring it back to poplar, you may want to bring it back to spruce.

I would think the way that would work in the bigger picture is on a management unit. With many of the poplar areas that are being harvested, the management plan and the manuals would direct that you'd reforest those with poplar, in which case the cost would be zero. A percentage of those, like you suggest, would be harvested and the prescription may be to regenerate them to conifer. The cumulative 50 cents over the larger area where you had no cost should be able to be directed to those areas where you want to regenerate what was previously a poplar area to a conifer area. It wouldn't work the same on a conifer because you're going to have expenses on just about every acre. Therefore you need to pay more per acre. I'd be paying the $6, if you would, but on a much smaller area, just sort of all prorated.

The Vice-Chair: Thank you very much, Mr Fleet, for your presentation. You obviously have a lot of experience in this field and we're glad that you shared that experience with the committee.


The Vice-Chair: The final presenter for the day is Aurora Friends of Nature, represented by Klaus Wehrenberg.

Mr Klaus Wehrenberg: Thank you for the opportunity. I hope you are prepared for a slightly different point of view and a somewhat more critical presentation than what I've heard so far. Now, I'm not from the industry, I'm not a forester, I'm not a former MNR person etc, so I do not have the expertise that some of the people at the table had on the technical aspects of the legislation. My comments will be directed more at the structural philosophical approach that has been taken in the legislation.

I was somewhat concerned about the level of the draft bill, meaning we are discussing the first reading draft bill, yet I'm hearing that, unbeknownst to me, the manuals have been produced, the regulations are here. Am I behind the times or --

Mr Bisson: Second reading.

Mr Wehrenberg: Second reading? I went to the Queen's Printer and this is what I got, the first printing, the first reading.

The Vice-Chair: There's usually no change, okay? There's no change in terms of the document.

Mr Wehrenberg: It doesn't. All right. Anyway, I should introduce myself --

The Vice-Chair: Of the bill itself, but then there are all kinds of these documents, which are regulations and manuals.

Mr Wehrenberg: Right on, yes, but I have not considered any of those other documents, I want you to know.

I should introduce myself: Klaus Wehrenberg from Aurora. I'm representing Aurora Friends of Nature, which is an environmental organization based in Aurora. We have, at last count, approximately 50 members. Our organization is generally involved in land use planning issues etc, ecosystem types of issues. We have been involved in forest campaigns and so on. Most of our involvement would be very much at the local level, but we have been going to James Bay etc.

My own background: I was born in Germany and educated there to some degree, and I have been a Canadian citizen for 30 years. My relevant backgrounds are in forest-related industries and environmental activism and in law administration, which I do professionally. My father was a sawmill manager, and I went with him when he inspected logs in the forest, so I very early got in touch with logging etc. I served a cabinetmaking apprenticeship and I've worked as carpenter and boatbuilder over here in Canada. As a youngster I earned pocket money by picking blueberries in the forest, and mushrooms and pine cones, and also got kindling wood out of there.

As an environmental activist, I'm a veteran of many forest campaigns -- this is apart from the organization as well -- provincial and national campaigns, including Temagami. We hug trees. We measured the trees in the middle of the winter as part of our involvement.


Mr Wehrenberg: I'm sorry?

The Vice-Chair: Disregard those interjections.

Mr Wehrenberg: Okay. In my 25-year career as a professional law administrator, I've helped research and draft regulations and found out in claim adjudication what makes for effective legislation and what education can do to increase compliance. So I feel that I am well qualified for the subject at hand and can represent our organization in this capacity. So let me go on to my comments.

It is recognized that the purpose of Bill 171 shifts the essence of crown forests from an object for exploitation into something akin to a biological-cultural asset, and that is very much appreciated. While the purpose is noble, however, the commitment to carrying out that purpose appears less so. That will be the subject of my remarks that follow.

Education: There is no specific reference to the need to educate the public and the industry, the harvesters, and for that matter the field staff of the Ministry of Natural Resources, on the value of the forest ecosystem and on harvesting practices. If the intent was to shift attitudes from a strictly human-centred approach to a holistic one, then a major shift in attitudes and understanding of natural processes is needed. That type of shift is not going to happen on its own. Education is the essential catalyst.

Public participation: In the formulation of policy, the Ministry of Natural Resources is given a free hand. It will be ministry staff who prepare the essential manuals that will have to reflect the public opinion which has led to the repeal of the Crown Timber Act, to some good degree over the resistance of ministry personnel.

How can one expect that manuals that are prepared by the same staff which was at the centre of so much public outcry will not continue to reflect the attitudes of the staff who were very much a part of the cause of the exercise? Without public participation in the formulation of the text of those manuals, we fear that we have very much a case of the foxes minding the chicken coop.

Now, I gathered from previous conversations here that in fact there was input. My concern is that there was no provision in the act to make that a mandatory component. There needs to be a provision that mandates a public participation process as part of the formulation and amending of any policy on forest practices, if for no other reason. The forests practices are the centre of this act, I believe. A further provision should relate to ready access by the public of records that have to be made and kept under the act.


Enforceability: There are several reasons why we believe that the bill will not be an effective base for enforcement. Firstly, the statement of purpose contains one key word, "sustainability," yet there is no definition of this term, and that definition would have to be in the act. Definitions abound in many international contexts and even in documents of the Ministry of Natural Resources. The one which we prefer is the one signed by Canada in 1992 under the United Nations Convention on Biodiversity. We repeat it here:

"Sustainable use is the use of components of biodiversity in a way and at a rate that does not lead to the long-term decline of biodiversity, thereby maintaining its potential to meet the needs and aspirations of present and future generations."

That is what we signed in 1992.

What could be more in the interests of the general public and the enforceability of this bill than the inclusion of such a definition, or is there some interest at play that would prefer not to see this bill enforceable? We have to wonder.

Secondly, there are several manuals to be prepared under this bill. None of the manuals have regulatory status, hence no legal teeth.

Thirdly, none of the manuals are required to be prepared with uniform base principles that are set out in the bill. Do the legislators not have principles?

Further, the Forest Operations and Silvicultural Manual can vary from region to region, which in a legal context could provide for unending contrasting arguments served up on a platter courtesy of the very ministry that was meant to provide for enforcement of the bill. All of the arguments would be equally legitimate, as all of the manuals are prepared by supposed experts on the subject and under the same umbrella legislation.

Monitoring: The bill makes no provision for an independent monitoring agency. That means independent of the industry and the Ministry of Natural Resources. If such an agency does not function under this legislation, then the public can be excused for continued mistrust. The parties who have previously been responsible, and still are, for the administration of forest practices cannot be expected to change their attitudes and commitments, especially not without a substantial educational component, as pointed out above.

Performance bonds: In order to have meaningful financial and enforcement clout in the land use context, the logging companies should be asked to post performance bonds. Such provision might do away with the need to worry about non-performance altogether, or at least substantially.

Community sustainability: The provision that logs are to be processed in Canada does not address the sustainability of the economic base of the local communities in the area where harvesting takes place. It will also be advisable, in our opinion, that the bill go beyond the concern for primary processing into how secondary processing can serve the long-term viability of northern communities. One way that could be accomplished would be by making it possible to derive seed funding for secondary industry in the form of grants or loans from harvesting fees.

Summary: Our above comments reflect our disappointment with the current draft bill. We make no apology for expressing our impression that while the bill was meant to deal with sustainability of the forest ecosystem, it appears more designed to deal with the economic sustainability of logging industry interests and the sanctity of the turf and secrecy of the Ministry of Natural Resources. I am very strong on this, I admit.

The bill in its current form also represents a disservice to the people of Ontario. Its substance does not do justice to the prevailing public opinion on how to safeguard the multiple non-economic values of a forest. We are hoping for substantial changes to give teeth to the bill and to make us believe that what is intended can actually be attained.

Mr Wood: Thank you very much for coming forward with your presentation. You've covered a lot of territory.

Mr Wehrenberg: Yes. Would you please speak up? I don't hear in one ear, and I'm having trouble.

Mr Wood: Okay. Thank you very much for coming forward and making your presentation. You've got the same problem as I have. I had 30 years in a paper mill, so I've got problems with my ears as well. So I understand what you're talking about.

You've covered an enormous amount of material there. I just want to point out one thing before I get into questions. The manuals that have been produced will have the force of the law under the regulations that have been produced, so they will be binding by the regulations on how they're used out in the forestry.

You covered the area of education and public education. I just want to see what your comments would be as far as primary schools, starting in kindergarten, whether this should be part of the education program that the kids are taken out into the woods operations and show them what it's all about -- I'm sure some of the younger teachers don't have a full knowledge of what is happening out there, especially northern Ontario, which has a large chunk of land -- and how we should try better to educate the public on the ecosystem out there and the sustainability of the forest.

I was talking to a reporter from the Nugget earlier, saying, is the general public out there? I know we've had a lot of input as far as the manuals are concerned, as far as the writing of the legislation, from industry, from rod and gun clubs, from different interest groups out there, but how do we go about two points really, educating the kids at an early age, educating the teachers and educating the public?

Mr Wehrenberg: Do you want me to answer?

Mr Wood: Yes.

Mr Wehrenberg: We obviously have to head out in several directions. But the first priority at this time I believe has to be at the harvester's level, actually. I think I would like to see some mandatory education of those people who are in the woods and who actually do the harvesting so they understand, much like -- and I'm going back to my own country, I guess, or my original country -- where a driver's licence cannot be obtained unless you have some knowledge about the motor. Now, we're not having any knowledge about the motor in the forest. This is not a fact of life out there yet.

I also believe a lot of Ministry of Natural Resources people don't have a full understanding of what ecosystem is all about: the functioning, the interrelated processes, the intricacies. Most professionals don't have a full understanding, I must admit. But you have to make more of an effort to get people to have a formal introduction to this subject and not to assume they have the knowledge by osmosis or something like that. I think there has to be some formal requirement on the part of ministry resource personnel, especially those hands-on people out there and so on, who have to show that in fact they have gone through education along those lines.

I know the foresters have, but there is updating needed too. But the loggers themselves, the harvesters, the scalers -- for scalers it is maybe less important -- but certainly all the people who are out there working in the forest, and the business people. They should have a licence, to prove that they know what this is all about, not just a business licence but to understand what they're getting into, why it is important to respect and so on.

Now, the kids, that is a matter of curricula at the educational institutions, like teachers, teachers' colleges, university courses and so on. You basically look after components in the curricula of general education in the schools up to secondary level and then colleges and so on so this type of thing is guaranteed to be there at one stage of their lives, of the people who are being educated.

Mr Wood: Just one more brief question: You're from Aurora. I have a brother who lives in Schomberg, which is very close to Aurora. The makeup of your committee is from that immediate area, or are they spread out?

Mr Wehrenberg: Yes, we had even a member or two from the Schomberg area. We go central York region basically. We have people involved with the Oak Ridges moraine. I'm a provincial-appointed member of the Oak Ridges moraine effort, you know, the strategy we're trying to develop there. We have professors and we have people from various areas who are basically interested in the local scene, meaning land use and processes and so on.

Mr Frank Miclash (Kenora): Thank you for your presentation. Over the past couple of days we've heard a lot of input into local citizens' committees. As you know, part of the bill refers to that, where the minister may establish these committees to advise the minister. I'm just wondering how you would feel about the makeup of such committees as to who they would possibly involve, what kind of input they would have and any particular mandate they might have as well.


Mr Wehrenberg: Basically, I gather they're established so that they have some meaning under the regulations, I guess. My concern isn't the citizens' committees that are there after all these manuals and so have been established. My concern is with getting the right philosophy into the manuals, into the working documents. It was news to me that in fact they have become part of the regulatory framework, which is good news, and I commend you for that, because they do have to be. Otherwise you can't enforce these darn things.

But my concern, naturally, with manuals is that they can vary from region to region. I pointed that out. I don't know how you cope with that when you get into a court situation, because I can produce a manual from another region and say, "Now, listen, this is contradicted in this manual, or it's partly contradicted," and all of a sudden the judge, who doesn't know anything about this subject, must wonder what the heck is going on and how he can be clear about what direction the Ministry of Natural Resources wanted to go.

The citizens must have standing. They must not have to justify. This is a more important part than what they actually contribute. They must not have to justify their standing in these contexts; they must be accepted as bona fide members of the community that has an interest in this. Local citizens, I would imagine, have more than just forestry at heart. They probably want to know that tourism, ecotourism, for instance, can flourish in their community or that they themselves can go for walks in the woods without having to meet a bulldozer every five minutes, or clear-cuts, for that matter. So they have a great interest there. I think it should be a fairly free-flowing exercise.

There was a point that came up earlier on citizens. I think it was you who asked the question. There was a more specific point, and I can't remember what it was, but you asked something fairly specific of somebody. Whatever that was, I had a comment on it but it now has escaped me.

The main thing is that citizens have standing and don't get questioned as to why they're even there. That's the problem that we have now in the environmental movement.

Mr Miclash: Right.

Mr Wehrenberg: So as long as they have, then --

Mr Carr: Just along the same lines, I take it then that you feel the committees should be local and have local input?

Mr Wehrenberg: Yes, I'm concerned with the local communities, the boom and bust thing. We have to do away with that somehow, and I think this legislation should have served as more of a catalyst to do away with that. We should be going beyond just forestry. We have to think in terms of what it does to tourism and so on, and then the local committees can maybe -- they have to understand, though, what is at issue. Some of them don't. They come to these committees, but they don't know what they are into in terms of how they could benefit the public.

Mr Carr: Did you have any input at all into the regulations? Did you have any dealings in the regulations?

Mr Wehrenberg: Did I have input?

Mr Carr: Yes.

Mr Wehrenberg: No, none. I've been out of the country for most of the past year. That has been my problem.

Mr Carr: And nobody from the group, nobody from your association either?

Mr Wehrenberg: No, I'm the one who is the lead person on this subject, and we have in fact lost three members of our executive. One is in Germany, one is in Manitoba, and I forget what happened to the third one -- oh, down in Toronto, professionally displaced etc. So we have had quite an upheaval in our organization, but I happen to be the one who deals with forest issues, so it was no big problem there.

Mr Carr: I understand there are some concerns that you have and some of the changes you'd like to see, but do you think the bill as is is better than the status quo we have now?

Mr Wehrenberg: Oh, yes. The Crown Timber Act wasn't -- it shifts, but in order to make sure that these shifts will come about, the enforceability has to be a big concern. It doesn't mean you're going to enforce every two minutes, but it has to be enforceable. In other words, the definition of "sustainability," which is a key definition in the act, has to be in there. If it isn't in the act, if it goes into regulations, it's immediately degraded in standing. Once you do that, you have done away with some of the key elements of this new legislation, the paradigm shift that we are envisioning here.

Mr Carr: This question you might not be able to answer. In listening to the various groups, industry and then some of the people representing the environmental movement, I don't think we're going to get a definition that they could agree on. Do you think we could get an agreement where there could be compromises between the two groups and that we could get a definition both sides would agree on, or what do you think?

Mr Wehrenberg: We have so many good examples of definitions already, as I pointed out, that I don't think there should be a problem. I think we all know what it means. The problem is that maybe some interests are afraid of having to face this on a day in, day out basis.

Mr Carr: I know you can find some agreement on the definition. Knowing the industry -- and you might not know them -- do you think you can get some agreement? I know there have been definitions. People have come forward and said, "This is the definition we'd like to see" --

Mr Wehrenberg: I think we could.

Mr Carr: -- but industry hasn't. Do you think we could actually get one?

Mr Wehrenberg: I think we could sit down with industry and everybody and discuss this around the table and I think we could come up with something. I think we are all agreed that when you have a purpose in the act that includes a key term, "sustainability" in this case, it isn't enough. I think every lawyer will agree it isn't enough to have that term in there. If you don't define it, you're going to have a heck of a time later in a court environment or enforcement environment. You can't work without definitions.

I think we can come to an agreement. I think what has to be agreed upon first of all is that there's a commitment to getting a definition. Then we'll work out the details. For that, all parties have to be around the table. But it can be done.

The Vice-Chair: You had a quick question, Mr Hodgson?

Mr Hodgson: No, I just have a point of procedure. Go ahead. I'll wait till after you finish up.

The Vice-Chair: Thank you very much for your presentation. We certainly appreciate your coming up here to give your viewpoint, and if you have anything in writing, perhaps you can leave it with the clerk.

Mr Wehrenberg: Yes. This is what I have. You wanted x number of copies. I don't have the capacity to produce that many.

The Vice-Chair: Just give it to the clerk. He will make the necessary arrangements.

Okay, Mr Hodgson, you had something to say? Could we have some order, please?

Mr Hodgson: I don't know if it's common, but in the information we have in the manuals, the page numbering is different than what the public have. I noticed the confusion when Mr Magee was speaking. He was referring to the regulation section, and the page numbering on that was different than the page numbering that I've received. I just wondered if that's common practice. I'm new at this. If it is, just let me know what people are referring to when they refer to a page number the public has received and it's different from what I've received. I can follow him.

The Vice-Chair: Do you have an answer to that, Mr Wood?

Mr Wood: We'll get back to him.

The Vice-Chair: The parliamentary assistant will get back to you with that information tomorrow.

In terms of other business, I just would like to remind you that you better be at the airport this evening. The plane leaves at 8:15 to the famous city of Kapuskasing. Also, tomorrow morning the proceedings will start at 9 o'clock, and they will be not in the place where we're staying but in the council chambers at city hall. I'm sure we'll be able to find that, and I'm told that it's possible to walk there.

Mr Ramsay: I missed the time. Did you say tonight what time we leave here?

The Vice-Chair: No. It will be up to you, I think, to get to the airport from here. The plane leaves at 8:15 tonight. Any other questions? Thank you very much. The committee stands adjourned until tomorrow morning at 9 o'clock in the council chamber.

The committee adjourned at 1558.