Monday 29 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

Conservation Council of Ontario

Chris Winter, executive director


Dan McDermott, campaign director

Ad Hoc Committee of the Ontario Wildlife Working Group

Derek Rice, representative

Animal Alliance of Canada; Animal Protection Institute

Barry MacKay, API wildlife representative

Federation of Ontario Naturalists

Chris Lompart, forestry coordinator

Elk Lake Community Forest

Paul Tufford, representative

Union of Ontario Indians

Alan Roy, environment director


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

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

*Acting Chair / Président suppléant: Morin, Gilles E. (Carleton East/-Est 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

Hodgson, Chris (Victoria-Haliburton PC) for Mr Arnott

Miclash, Frank (Kenora L) for Mr Sorbara

Morin, Gilles E. (Carleton East/-Est L) for Mr Grandmaître

Murdoch, Bill (Grey-Owen Sound PC) for Mr David Johnson

Perruzza, Anthony (Downsview ND) for Mr White

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 1305 in committee room 2.


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 Acting Chair (Mr Gilles E. Morin): Good afternoon. I've been asked to replace the Chair, Mr Hans Daigeler, who has lost his voice. I presume that for a politician it is a curse, but in this instance I think it is a blessing.


The Acting Chair: I will ask the first witness to come and take a chair, the Conservation Council of Ontario. You will have half an hour: 15 minutes for your presentation and then we reserve 15 minutes for the members to ask you questions.

Mr Chris Winter: Thank you for the opportunity to come and address the committee today and tell you our concerns and, hopefully, where our support lies for measures being introduced here in the Crown Forest Sustainability Act.

First of all, the Conservation Council of Ontario, as many of you probably are well aware by now, is an association of 33 provincial organizations, all of which are united in their common interest for the protection of the environment and the conservation of natural resources. We've been in existence for 40-odd years, working to develop a consensus on conservation and environment and, I would say, working on sustainable development long before it became known as a term and in vogue as a trend. We fully appreciate the difficulties this government and previous governments have had in trying to define sustainability and put it into practice with an act and with programs and activities of the ministry.

That said, I think it also gives us some good credibility in reviewing the proposed legislation and commenting on its ability to actually achieve the goal of sustainability. In the work we've done, and the whirlwind of activity in the last few weeks and months leading up to it, it's unfortunate that we have reached the conclusion that at this point in time we cannot endorse the Crown Forest Sustainability Act. I choose that wording carefully. I was reading Peter Duinker's presentation on the way over this morning and I noticed he said the same thing in his presentation: "I choose my wording carefully."

I choose this wording carefully because the council and our member organizations have all raised concerns about the act, and I think many of them have made comments and presentations to this committee. When we sat down and tried to work them through, we realized that there was not enough support for the act as it currently stands. Further, we think it is going to be difficult to address the concerns we have in the time frame allowed and through the clause-by-clause amendments. I'm willing to be convinced otherwise and I hope I will be.

We've recommended that the government withdraw the act and refer both the legislation and the manuals back to the ministry staff and to the senior policy advisory committee that is part of the terms and conditions of the class environmental assessment but has not yet been set up. Give the act and the manuals a thorough overhaul, keep the good parts of them, iron out the bugs, and then, as soon as possible, reintroduce a piece of legislation that reflects the consensus of all the organizations involved in forest management in Ontario and as well demonstrates a clear ability to actually implement, to follow through on, this commitment.

In looking at the act there are two key underlying concepts, and I just want to touch on them quickly.

First is sustainable development, and that is reflected in the ministry's Direction '90s document as well as in other policies and so on that have come out since then. Sustainable development reflects, in my mind, the integration of environmental, social and economic needs. In a human-centred definition it is the ability to meet the needs of a current generation without harming the ability of future generations to enjoy the same opportunities as we do. In an environmental context it is the assurance that social and environmental development does not threaten the integrity of the environment or the stock of natural resources.

The second concept is environmental values, and that's the one that's coming forward now under the Environmental Bill of Rights and the statement of environmental values that each ministry is producing. The environmental values present a clear understanding of the requirements for ecological health. It is an important step in measuring sustainability. Without first saying what your environmental values are, or your social or economic values, you cannot define sustainable development, because sustainable development is dealing with the integration and the conflict, and hopefully symbiosis, of all three.

Several reports have come out in the last few years that are beginning to address that question of what is sustainable with respect to forest management and also what the environmental values are, and those are the reports of the Ontario Forest Policy Panel, the Forest Industry Action Group, the Ontario Wildlife Working Group and the Old Growth Policy Advisory Committee. We would have expected that the Crown Forest Sustainability Act would have started with those as the foundation for legislation. Instead what we have seen is that the act is drawing them in as add-ons to the legislation and to the requirements that were there under the Crown Timber Act. Rather than transforming the ministry and the forest management process, what we've seen more is the old process being amended slightly to adapt to the requirements and the recommendations of these reports. That's not the way we would have started with it. So right from the start, we have a problem with the way the legislation was developed.

It's one thing to come here and say: "Here are the specific problems we have with the act. Change this, change that." I guess we realized we had some fundamental problems with the act and there are some fundamental problems with the ministry. This is not to say that they aren't being addressed. I think it's fair to say that the Ministry of Natural Resources, the staff within the ministry, has made a tremendous effort and has shown a tremendous commitment to sustainable development. What I'm seeing is that the task of transforming the ministry and the ministry's legislation is much bigger than we may have anticipated in Direction '90s or hope to do within the mandate of the current legislative period. It's a very tough issue.

The way we need to come at this is that first of all, there are three basic points we're looking at: First is the definition of "sustainability," second are the principles for sustaining forests, and third is the planning process. It's the third one that I'm going to contend is the key element and the element that is missing from the Crown Forest Sustainability Act.

I think you've heard several definitions of forest sustainability come forward in your hearings. I present one to you here, which is to replace section 1 with a goal statement developed by the Ontario Forest Policy Panel to make it read, "The purposes of this act are to ensure the long-term health of our forest ecosystems for the benefit of the local and global environments, while enabling present and future generations to meet their material and social needs."

The one main difference in this that's worth highlighting is the term "the long-term health of our forest ecosystems." I think that's a little more direct than saying "the sustainability," which again requires defining. This is a recommendation which I think will be fairly easy to put into the act.

Second are the principles for sustaining forests, again section 1. We note that the Environmental Bill of Rights included a five-statement summary of the requirements for a healthy environment. To my mind, this is one of the strongest summaries in legislation of what a healthy environment is, and I commend the government for putting that into the Environmental Bill of Rights. I would like to see something similar in the Crown Forest Sustainability Act. It should include the principles for healthy forests. The way to do that is to go back to the Ontario Forest Policy Panel and take the clauses they have and add them into a new clause in section 1.

"The purpose set out in 1(1) includes the following:

"(a) maintaining ecological processes essential for the functioning of the biosphere, and conserving biological diversity in the use of forest ecosystems;

"(b) maintaining large, healthy, diverse and productive forests;

"(c) ensuring that forest practices will emulate, within the bounds of silvicultural requirements, natural disturbances and landscape patterns;

"(d) ensuring that forest ecosystem types that cannot be returned to similar and healthy forests will not be harvested;

"(e) ensuring that forest practices will minimize effects on soil, water, remaining vegetation, wildlife habitat and other values."

It's a good start. It's something that defines more clearly what we mean by a healthy forest. Without that definition, without those principles in the legislation, it's virtually impossible for us to measure whether all the mechanisms enabled under the act are actually achieving anything. We've got nothing to compare it back to in the legislation. That's a very key point and one that I think is not insurmountable at this stage in the process.

The third is the planning for sustainability, and I'll admit this one has given me a lot of trouble. It started with going to the hearings on the manuals and asking the question: Where's the province, where are the provincial requirements in this? What we're still seeing is that 95% of the act and the activities under the act are aimed at the local management unit. Where's the commitment to provincial planning, to defining the requirements for sustainability at a provincial level?

Surely if we're doing good management planning at the local level, it has to be within the context of provincial policy and the statement of the provincial requirements of sustainability with respect to biodiversity, protection of ecosystems, the desirability of forest practices and the mitigation of impacts. All those things need to be spelled out at the top, and there's nothing in the act that requires that.

We were directed to the Forest Management Planning Manual. In looking at it in the first draft, everything in that manual was aimed at the local level. It requires that local forest management plans are prepared by a registered professional forester with the assistance of an interdisciplinary planning team and a local citizens' committee. It shows that forestry is still driving the planning process and that the act does not provide a clear process for determining provincial requirements for sustainability.

The solution we put forward is to change part II, "Management Planning and Information," the section that currently only addresses the local level requirements for planning.

One of the things we look at is the advisory committees that are mandated or required under the terms and conditions of the class environmental assessment and ask that they be incorporated into that part of the act.

Specifically, new sections are needed under part II to explain the role of the ministry and the provincial policy, technical and regional advisory committees in identifying the provincial requirements for sustaining healthy crown forests.

It's odd to note that the act does refer to the citizens' advisory committees but that it does not refer to the provincial-level or the regional-level committees, and we think it should.

The second is the connection to the provincial land use plan process and the provincial land use strategy. Under the strategic land use planning exercise of the early 1980s, the ministry developed its land use plans to guide the process within districts in Ontario. That process is something that should be clearly tied to the forest sustainability act. Whether it can be put into the act, I'm not sure. It's very difficult, I think, to write that into the act, and I can't give you a specific wording on it, but what we do want to see is the ministry's commitment to maintain a strategic land use plan and the requirement that local forest management plans shall be consistent with the provincial plan and related policies. Without that kind of commitment, there's nothing that holds the local management process accountable to the provincial plans and policies.


Finally, we've got a little list of some of the other issues that are weak in the act and that we'd like to see strengthened.

State of the forest: State-of-the-forest reports are a condition of the class EA. We'd like to see section 19 of the act expanded to describe key components of a state-of-the-forest report.

Protected areas: The act should reinforce the need for the ministry to identify and protect a complete set of protected areas at both the regional and management unit levels. We note that Ontario is still well short of the 12% target set by the World Commission on Environment and Development and the endangered spaces campaign.

Forestry areas: One of the points that has been suggested is that the ministry and the planning process under the forest sustainability act should be encouraging or helping to identify where we want to see forestry happen and where with intensive management we could increase the yields and lessen the strain on other areas and on more sensitive areas and so reduce the competition for forest areas.

Community control: It's a favourite one with the conservation council because we have been working for a good five years with Geraldton on the community forest project. We were disappointed to see that the act made no reference to "community control." It made reference to "community advice" through the advisory committees. We'd like to see a strengthening of the role of the community advisory committees or a link between those committees and the community forest approach where the community has a direct stake in the management of its surrounding forests.

Accountability: The independent audits should be a key element of the legislation and regulations. Without a clear audit process and measurable goals for sustainability, there's no accountability within the ministry to the purpose of the act. Not only do we need the audit process, but we need to know what it is being accountable to or what the goals are that the ministry should be achieving.

Enforcement: We note that the ministry is transferring a lot of responsibility to industry for regeneration and management of forests. That can only be done with the assurance that the enforcement measures will be strong enough to make sure that the industry does carry through on that commitment. Even so, enforcement is not a substitute for good, solid, upfront planning.

Finally, private land forestry: You all know that private land forestry isn't part of crown lands, but we would like to see the commitment from the ministry to strengthen the private land forestry initiatives and support for private land forestry because we believe private land forestry is an important piece of the forest picture in Ontario, the forest economy, and is a way of reducing the stresses and the demands on crown lands.

Given the nature of the all these concerns, we find it hard to say that we think these issues can be addressed within the legislation and within the time frame. Therefore our recommendation is that the ministry delay third reading of the Crown Forest Sustainability Act and conduct a thorough review of the act and the mechanisms it is intended to empower.

We suggest this be done through the senior provincial policy committee. It has to be set up under the terms and conditions. The time to do it is now. Use that committee to flesh out the consensus and the support that is there for sustainable forestry in Ontario and then reintroduce the act at a later date.

We realize there are implications to this. The implication for government is that it effectively removes the introduction of the Crown Forest Sustainability Act from the current legislative session. This cannot be helped. We believe it's in the government's best interests to show the statesmanship required to change course and work in cooperation with the senior provincial policy committee and the various organizations that have already contributed so much time to the consultation processes of the past five years.

We believe the staff working on the manuals are genuinely committed to improving the ministry's ability to manage for long-term sustainability. We think this recommendation will only help them in making that transition.

Finally and possibly most important are the implications for forestry issues in Ontario. Forestry has the potential of being an extremely contentious issue, and we cannot afford to ignore the potential for conflicts that will arise in future years. We cannot ignore the threats to the resource and the threats to the economy. We need to address it head-on. That's why we think that if we don't take this course of furthering the debate and dialogue on sustainability and enshrining that in legislation and the manuals, we may find ourselves in a situation where we're in the contentious, adversarial position that has dogged BC and other areas, and we may find ourselves back to the Temagami-style approach. That would be counterproductive to all the good work and the potential for cooperation that's happened in the last few years.

In short, I hope we can find ways of making the legislation work. I would be extremely happy if this committee and the government could find ways of addressing these concerns within the current legislation. I have my doubts that it's possible, but you certainly have our commitment. We're willing to work with you to try to find a resolution on these issues.

Thank you for your time, and I welcome all questions.

The Acting Chair: Thank you, Mr Winter. We'll start with Mr Brown. We have about two minutes each.

Mr Michael A. Brown (Algoma-Manitoulin): Thank you, Mr Deputy Speaker; always a privilege to have you in the chair.

Chris, you presented a very articulate and well-thought-out brief with, I will say, some ideas we've been hearing not just from you but from virtually all players in this discussion. My favourite question is that the government seems to be saying to us, "We're not defining sustainability because sustainability is what this act is." In other words, the manuals, the regs, everything taken together, equals sustainability.

In your definition of sustainability -- there are various definitions, and you've given us one -- you're saying to us that this doesn't meet sustainability. Is that what I'm hearing, that it doesn't add up, that this isn't sustainability?

Mr Winter: The definition and what's in the act at this point in time?

Mr Brown: Your particular definition. If you stack it up against this act, do we get sustainability, using your definition?

Mr Winter: I can only say I haven't a clue. I haven't a clue because I have no assurances that what is contained in the act and the mechanisms it enables are going to achieve sustainability. The one key mechanism that should be in there is the defining of the requirements for sustainability. I think we all know we don't know what it is. We know we have forests in crisis, we know we have overharvesting on areas, and we know we have local economies that are in crisis and not sustainable. We know there are a lot of things going on that aren't sustainable, but what we don't have is the way forward to find out what is sustainable and to really get that into place.

The definition, in my mind, is only a minor part of it. That's why I say we could put in a definition of sustainability but it's probably not going to address the fundamental problems that are there with respect to how we flesh that out, plan for sustainability, identify the conflicts, address them at an early stage in a way that we can deal with the conflicts and the tradeoffs that have to be made. It's not so much a question of finding the true definition of sustainability, the Holy Grail of sustainability; it's a matter of making sure that the tough decisions that we have to make are made in a way that everyone has an equal say in it and we feel comfortable with those decisions.

Mr Chris Hodgson (Victoria-Haliburton): Thank you, Chris, for coming in today. I enjoyed your presentation. You've alluded to the fact that this bill is political in nature, that it's held out to the international market that products coming out of our forests are sustainable, to people who are concerned about the forests and ecosystem, without defining what ecosystems are going to be sustainable or what the base is that you're going to measure sustainability against, and it's held out to the people who work in forest products in northern Ontario that their jobs are going to be sustainable for ever.


The problem we have is that there are some good things mentioned in this bill, like the trust funds, but that was set up under Bill 160, not under Bill 171. The citizens' committees that you referred to as being positive were mandated by the environmental assessment. What is there specifically? Where do we start from here, given that we don't have the base or the inventory to even start, not in terms of a concept of defining sustainability but in terms of having something to measure it against? You mentioned the provincial interest, but the provincial interest has to have some base to work on.

Mr Winter: One of the things about the nature of this problem is that it's far bigger than any one of us can deal with. I don't feel bad that the NDP hasn't been able to deal with it, because I don't think the Liberals or the Conservatives or any one of us would have been able to deal with it at this particular point in time.

Mr Hodgson: Are we better, though, with the old 1952 bill than to take this?

Mr Winter: To my mind, it's six of one, half a dozen of the other. To those who are more focused and understand the nuances of it better, they might give you a different answer, but I come at it from looking at: How is this thing changing the planning process in Ontario? How is it achieving the policies, the requirements for protection of ecosystems or sensitive areas? How is it promoting changes in forestry practices? I don't see anything in there one way or the other. I'm being asked to believe that it will, and my sense is that nothing in the act is going to make it happen. What will make it happen is the commitment that may already be there within the ministry, the forest industry and the other stakeholders.

Mr Len Wood (Cochrane North): Thank you, Chris, for coming forward with your presentation. I want to go back a little bit. You're well aware that over the last two or three years, and probably going back four years, there's been public discussion and consultation on what has to be done and what can be done, what can't be done. The last two weeks have been pretty hectic, getting the public view of what they think of the legislation, what amendments they think there should be, what should be in the act in terms of sustainability, what can't be put in there. I understand that you were part of a group this morning that was also getting the message out there to the public about what you would like to see, and you're presenting here today.

You're saying the local committees don't go far enough, but there are provisions for forest management boards that will have more decision-making as far as community control is concerned. I just want to comment a little on that, and then I want to go back to sustainability.

One group made a presentation saying that timber must be sustained. Back in 1926 was the Timber Act, and then in 1952 there was reference to it again, but it's never been defined in legislation in terms of sustainability of the forests, including the water, the animals, the trees. One person gave the definition that if a tree takes 90 years to grow from a seedling, if you're planting, for every hectare of trees you're cutting, based on 10-year harvesting, one ninetieth of it, as far as the trees are concerned it's sustainable for ever. For sustainability, in his opinion, you had to talk about forests. You couldn't talk about a federal definition of sustainability; you couldn't talk about a provincial definition of sustainability. You had to define it more locally depending on the species of trees, the type of wildlife that's there, the type of water. I just wondered if you wanted to comment on that.

Mr Winter: You need to define sustainability both at the local level and at the broader level. You cannot have sustainability just at a local level. You have to look at the interplay between various local ecosystems and the provincial or regional ecosystem.

In terms of the management approaches or the harvesting and so on and how that impacts on the question of sustainability, any time you do a harvesting operation, you have an environmental impact. If the definition of sustainability is one that says it has no impact on the integrity or the health of the ecosystem, you run into difficulties of saying: "Does that mean I do nothing, or does that allow me to do everything as long as there's something still coming back? And what is a healthy ecosystem?"

The difficulty we're having with this legislation, and that I think all of us are having grappling with the issue, is that we're trying to find those answers without having spent the time really working through and saying, what is a working definition of sustainability? I think that's what you're getting at there a bit, something that is closer to a working definition.

The Acting Chair: I'm sorry, but the time is up. Mr Winter, thank you for your presentation.

Mr Brown: Mr Chair, as the next witness comes forward, I understand there are still some openings in the committee hearings. We have some time left, according to the clerk. I believe we have a letter before us from a Professor Aird of the University of Toronto faculty of forestry, and I would move that if time permits we schedule Professor Aird. Also, we have had a request from J.J. Hilsinger, who is from Sault Ste Marie, who would also like to be heard, time permitting. Is there any problem with that?

The Acting Chair: Does everybody agree? So be it.


The Acting Chair: Good afternoon and welcome to our committee, Mr McDermott. You have half an hour. Whatever time is left after your presentation will be divided equally among the three parties.

Mr Dan McDermott: I'm Dan McDermott, the campaign director for Earthroots. We are the successor organization to the Temagami Wilderness Society, the people who organized the Temagami protests of 1989, which you have just heard referred to by the previous speaker.

Good afternoon, members of the committee. The Crown Forest Sustainability Act as it currently is written is a fraud. The CFSA does not define the term "forest sustainability," does not establish any criteria for the achievement of this undefined goal, and provides no specific penalties for the private sector, ministry staff or the minister for failing to achieve what is touted as the raison d'être of the act.

The CFSA does get off to a good start. On the title page, the act is described as "An Act to revise the Crown Timber Act to provide for the sustainability of Crown Forests in Ontario." On the very next page, this laudable goal is again stated in the first paragraph. It is unfortunate that this is the last positive thing I will have to say about this bill.

In the very next paragraph, Bill 171 abandons completely any pretext that forest sustainability is a real component of the CFSA with the admission that "The sustainability of a forest ecosystem will be determined in accordance with a Forest Management Planning Manual to be prepared by the Ministry of Natural Resources." In other words, MNR will continue to have the right and responsibility to manage Ontario's crown forests in a sustainable manner and to determine all by itself what forest sustainability actually means. It is not necessary to revise the Crown Timber Act in order to reaffirm what is so clearly and obviously the status quo.

Nor do I draw much comfort from the statement that "The minister cannot approve a forest management plan unless he or she is satisfied that it provides for the sustainability of the crown forest," which is contained in the third paragraph of the explanatory notes. I will challenge anyone to provide me with the name of one minister of natural resources in the history of this province who would have admitted that the forest management plan did not provide for the sustainability of the crown forest. Furthermore, this statement is not even factual. The CFSA may prohibit the minister from approving such a plan, but it can do nothing to prevent him from actually doing so, as the word "cannot" would seem to suggest.

It is the duty and responsibility of yourselves, as the elected representatives of the people of Ontario, to ensure that a piece of legislation that purports to provide for the sustainability of crown forests in Ontario actually accomplishes this goal. It is beyond logic to assert that the Crown Forest Sustainability Act, as it is currently written, does this.

The Minister of Natural Resources of Ontario already has at his disposal ample resources to establish forest sustainability in this province. The CFSA does nothing to enhance this power. From this standpoint, Bill 171 is quite redundant.


If the goal of the CFSA is truly to achieve forest sustainability, then Bill 171 must be amended to mandate such sustainability in the legislation itself. Otherwise, we face the certain prospect that whatever commitments are made to sustainability in the manual can and will be altered by MNR in the future without legislative recourse.

Earthroots strongly suspects that the motivation behind the NDP's initial approach to this matter had little to do with sustaining our forests and everything to do with cutting expenditures. It is no secret that the genesis of the enterprise was the government's desire to offload its current silvicultural responsibility on to the private sector. At his Toronto press conference announcing the CFSA, Howard Hampton explained that the advantage of the trust fund approach to funding silviculture is that the money placed in the fund would be out of the grasp of the Treasurer, and thus stumpage fees would be reinvested in our forests rather than absorbed into general revenue.

None of the reporters present followed up on this amazing admission of a failure to govern. Hampton had just confessed the government's inability to manage Ontario's forests without being forced to do so through the mechanism of the CFSA. If the responsibility for the funding of silviculture must be taken away from the government in order to ensure that it is carried out, then what does this say about the much larger issue of forest sustainability? It tells me that Howard Hampton was right when he said the government of Ontario needs the force of legislation to ensure that silviculture is funded. It also tells me that the government needs the force of legislation to achieve the goal of forest sustainability.

The silvicultural trust fund shuffle was effectively enabled by the passage of Bill 160, so it turns out that Bill 171 is redundant from this standpoint as well. What we are now left with is a piece of legislation that would appear to have no purpose. So why are we all here today discussing the CFSA when this act will not empower the government to perform any function that is currently beyond its grasp?

The only logical answer is that the NDP intends to ride into the next election proclaiming to have created forest sustainability in Ontario. A mailing to party members last February contained a list of accomplishments of the Rae government. The achievement of forest sustainability was somewhat prematurely on that list. It is the Rae government's plan, in which you, the members of this committee, are all playing a role, to claim to have accomplished the goal of forest sustainability through the passage of a hollow shell known as the Crown Forest Sustainability Act.

Earthroots and the Ontario conservation community have submitted to the minister a brief outlining the required changes to Bill 171. A summary of these changes is as follows:

(1) Currently the act does not define nor make reference to a definition of "forest sustainability." The world has spent the last 10 years developing definitions based on the biological imperative inherent in the concept of sustainability. It is almost unthinkable that an act entitled as this one is and dealing with a biological entity such as forests could become law without such a definition.

(2) The principles of forest sustainability included in the Policy Framework for Sustainable Forests and approved by the Ontario cabinet are not included in the act, contrary to previous public commitments.

(3) The current wording of the act appears to constrain the ability of the Ontario government to settle aboriginal land claims, create new protected areas or recreational reserves, or designate crown land for other non-timber purposes.

(4) The transfer of responsibility for forest management and regeneration from the Ontario government to the forest industry will not occur under a clear, enforceable framework if this act is passed in its current form. Such an outcome will leave the Ontario public and the Ontario government at risk.

In closing, Earthroots demands that this committee not be party to a fraud. The Crown Forest Sustainability Act must be amended to protect our forest ecosystems and the biodiversity that comprises them. The Ontario Legislature must not pass into law a Crown Forest Sustainability Act that does not define and mandate forest sustainability.

Mr Hodgson: Thank you for coming in. I enjoyed your presentation, especially the last page where you ascertained that the only logical explanation of this -- and that's been alluded to by a number of presenters -- is of a political nature and has nothing to do with our forests.

Having said that, have you had any involvement with the drafting of this legislation or any of the workshops? We've had complaints that people weren't consulted enough. Were you in on any of the workshops that drafted the manuals?

Mr McDermott: I was at a two-day workshop about a month and a half ago on the manuals.

Mr Hodgson: Were your concerns addressed at that time?

Mr McDermott: In the sense that the first draft of the manuals contained almost no reference at all to any aspect of sustainability and the preservation of biodiversity and that the revised ones, which I've just gone through, at least mention these concerns, yes, there was some limited degree of movement. But as to how this is actually going to work in terms of standards and enforcement is all still very much a work in progress as it currently sits in the draft manuals.

Mr Hodgson: One of the concerns we have is that this could do us long-term damage if the substance doesn't meet the reality: that saying to the world that all the products coming out of Ontario are from sustainable forests, if that's proven to be not factual, could harm our credibility. Do you share that concern, or have you thought about that at all?

Mr McDermott: In a situation where you have the dominating legislation for how we manage our forests being this act and it being, upon examination, such an empty exercise as I believe it to be, in terms of how people from other countries, other jurisdictions, look at Ontario enforcing sustainability, it's going to be pretty difficult to look at this act and say, "Yes, this does it."

Mr Hodgson: You mentioned that a newsletter went out suggesting that one of the accomplishments of the Rae government was forest sustainability. Did you ask anybody about what this meant, or did you just bring it to this committee for the first time?

Mr McDermott: We were aware that this act was in the works for some number of months, and back in February when it first came out in a newsletter it was, at least within the forest movement, an open secret that the Crown Forest Sustainability Act would be moving forward. We had no idea what its components would be, and in fact, at the time Mr Hampton first announced it in April, some of the principles put forward at that time gave us some cause for optimism.

Mr Hodgson: On page 2, you state in the middle paragraph, "It is no secret that the genesis of the enterprise was the government's desire to offload their current silvicultural responsibility on to the private sector." When you say it's no secret, do you have any cost analysis of how the ministry is going to save a lot of money out of this?

Mr McDermott: No, I don't have a cost analysis, to answer your question first. But you look at a pattern of where MNR's budget has gone over the last few years and it's been on a steady downward track. It doesn't take too much of a crystal ball gazing exercise to see that if MNR is not responsible for silviculture, this is going to represent some theoretical saving to the public purse.

Another concern that I didn't bring out in my testimony, that Chris Winter alluded to, is that of enforcement. Are we going to see yet another cut that would affect MNR's ability to enforce this legislation and enforce those agreements that are made with companies to take care of silviculture?

I don't think the way to preserve Ontario's crown forests is for there to be continually less MNR.

Mr Bill Murdoch (Grey-Owen Sound): Are you aware of community forest projects that are going on right now in the north, in Kapuskasing and Geraldton, different places?

Mr McDermott: To some degree.

Mr Murdoch: Do you agree with that concept, or do you have any opinion?

Mr McDermott: It's always good for people living in a community to be consulted about what's going on in their community. I deal regularly with the Temagami comprehensive planning council regarding the land use plan for that area.

Mr Murdoch: That was something set up by this government anyway, to let local resources be driven by the local people, and I noticed the last presenter was concerned that that wasn't included in this bill. I just wanted your opinion on what you thought of local people having more to say about some of the things that are going on in their community rather than everything being set down here at Queen's Park.

Mr McDermott: You could theoretically, from my point of view, carry it a step further and actually empower a local community to manage a forest base, with the idea that that clearly defined forest base would be something that theoretically needs to sustain them generation upon generation. You might end up with some fairly interesting ideas coming forward on sustainability in that kind of circumstance. Prior to working on forests, I worked on the east coast fishery. Frankly, if the fishery had been under community control, I think we wouldn't have the crisis we have now.

Mr Murdoch: But Earthroots, the organization, is not opposed to the cutting of the forest.

Mr McDermott: No, our bottom line as an organization is that we want ancient or old-growth forests preserved and for us to manage those forests that we have already impacted upon.


Mr Wood: Thank you for coming forward with your presentation. As I said to the presenter before, we're in the process of influencing public opinion, and one way of doing it is to bring this committee right around the province to northeastern and northwestern Ontario. Other ways of doing it are to hold press conferences and get the message out. I do it myself and every elected member does it to get their message out and try to shape public opinion as to what you would like to see. I'm aware of part of the discussion that took place this morning during the press conference.

Along those lines, when you're saying that budgets are being cut and there's less money being spent, we're aware that since 1989 the recession was coming and revenues were dropping off very seriously. This is one of the reasons the election was held in 1990 and we ended up with a new government, because of what was happening. As a result, we had to do the job the previous government would have had to do had it stayed in office for another two years or whatever, till the end of its mandate. But they decided to cut and run early, and as a result we ended up with a very tough time in the last four years.


Mr Frank Miclash (Kenora): Did the Chair hear that?

The Acting Chair: Order.

Mr Wood: When we're talking about sustainability, from what information I have, there's nothing new or magic about it. We had members, Floyd Laughren, for example, Bud Wildman, tour back in the 1970s and 1980s and said something has to be done about the forest. I've talked to the lumber industry. They're saying the timber act, 1952, does not work: "It's not working. We have to do something." These discussions have taken place over the last 15 years and pretty seriously over the last three.

I'm looking for comments from you. You're saying in one breath that the legislation should be scrapped, that we shouldn't go with Bill 171; and in another, some of your group, during the press conference this morning, said that if the amendments can be addressed, it shouldn't be scrapped, that it's a move in the right direction. That's the message I was getting from some of the presenters who were there. I just want to know if you want to comment further on some of the things I've said.

Mr McDermott: I'll stand by what I've said here, that the bill as it stands is an empty shell and does not deserve to be passed. It's not that it represents a step backwards; it represents no step at all, that I can see. You can't, to my way of thinking, pass into law a Crown Forest Sustainability Act that doesn't stand back and say: What is sustainability, and since we're passing a law to mandate this, how do we then set standards and enforce it? I'm not saying this is something that's extremely easy to put forward, but it is something that if you're going to take that first step, logically you have to take the other ones as well.

The bottom line in terms of even our forests as commercially productive enterprises that you will get from talking to virtually anyone within the Ministry of Natural Resources is that we are continuing to have a decrease in the productive capacity of Ontario's forests. This act will do nothing that I can see on the face of it to turn that situation around.

Mr Wood: We probably can't undo all the damage that has been done in the last 50, 100 or 200 years, but the intention of the act is that as you harvest a hectare of land or change it in some way, it's going to be replaced and regenerated into the future. Trust funds are being set up to try to achieve this, and maybe somewhere along the line we might be able to pick up the backlog of the last 10 or 15 years that hasn't naturally been generated. Do you see this as a positive step in the right direction, that something is being done to try to sustain the forest, the water, the communities that are so dependent on the forests out there as an ecosystem?

Mr McDermott: When the first press material on the act came out in April, I was reasonably optimistic about some of the major components that were promised to be in the act. The maintenance of forest biodiversity was a key one. The commitment not to harvest forest types that wouldn't return to the same forest type is another one as well. These are all very laudable goals and certainly deserve to be in the legislation itself, because if you leave it to the minister's discretion, whatever commitment a particular minister takes will only last as long as that particular minister holds that office.

Mr Miclash: I'll try to be a little less partisan in my comments, as we are all trying to work together to bring the best possible legislation forward.

Dan, I was interested in what you had to say about this bill having everything to do with cutting expenditures. We've heard a good amount in regard to both the trust funds and the renewal funds, and I'm sure you've taken a look at those portions of the act. Could you possibly comment a little more on what you feel about those funds that are proposed in the act?

Mr McDermott: It's clear that the driving mechanism for the idea had at least something to do with reducing how much money the government had to commit to refurbish Ontario's forests. MNR has made larger cuts in silviculture than it has in other areas over the last number of years. This is something that was addressed on some level in the class EA. It's clearly a situation that provides us with long-term pain in terms of what is going to be the future of Ontario's forests, and I see that the idea of turning it over to the private sector had some compelling arguments to be made in a time when dollars are tight. My initial concern upon hearing about this part of the program was, what's going to happen with enforcement? Is enforcement also going to be scaled back? You can't turn over this responsibility without, from my point of view, increasing the enforcement, not cutting it back.

If the Ministry of Natural Resources is just going to continue to be scaled back, and the ability to monitor what's happening in the forests of Ontario gets cut back along with the commitment to silviculture, what you have is a "Trust me" enterprise. My favourite quote of Ronald Reagan's was, "Trust but verify."

Mr Miclash: The other part of your presentation I want to go to is the third recommendation you make in the summary. As a member from northern Ontario I'm quite interested to know what you mean by "designate crown land for other non-timber purposes." What are you referring to there?

Mr McDermott: It would appear that once an agreement is entered into with a company to have stewardship over a piece of forested land for the period of the five years, it could bring an action against the government if the government suddenly withdrew a portion of that forested land for another purpose. There's certainly a legal opinion that says that as it's currently written that's possible.


Mr Brown: Dan, it always strikes me as a little bit ironic that we sit in a committee room in the midst of one of the largest clear-cuts in North America.

Mr McDermott: I can see a tree out there now.

Mr Brown: A tree. That tells the story, doesn't it?

You raised some concerns that I think are fairly broadly based across the province and also almost regardless of what position you're coming at this from. I hear industry saying exactly the same things you are. My question is, does that make you nervous?

Mr McDermott: You don't have to be partisan to say this act has nothing new to it. All you have to do is analyse it from any perspective you care to. If there's something new here that I'm missing, would somebody please point it out to me?

Mr Brown: It's also been suggested to us by a number of presenters that if you replace the word "forest" in this act with the word "timber," it works; that it is just the Crown Timber Act and that what the ministry has really done is just gone through and everywhere there was "timber" in the old act wrote "forest," and now you've got it, it's now sustainable. Is that a view your organization would share, that really that's what we're still looking at, just a timber act?

Mr McDermott: Yes, and it particularly gets driven home when you look at the manuals that have been put together. They're just timber manuals. In the latest edition there is some lipservice paid to the preservation of biodiversity, indicator species, that sort of thing, but they are timber manuals.

Mr Brown: The comments about community advisory committees have been interesting. One presenter in Thunder Bay said to us, "The French Revolution had community advisory committees and it didn't necessarily work out that well." We're a little concerned that there is no definition in this bill as to how people are appointed. Who's on these things? How does that get decided? I think whether a community advisory committee works will depend on who's on it. Do you have some views on who might be appointed? Is there some formula that your organization is putting forward to flesh that out for us? We're having some difficulty understanding it.

Mr McDermott: I'll say that I share the concern in terms of how people get appointed to these committees. With the one I deal with most regularly, the Temagami comprehensive planning council, I have some questions as to how some people didn't get appointed to that committee. This does cause me some concern, and I don't have any idea of how you would put together a formula, other than having an election, to get people on these committees, which would of course politicize the whole process and remove the basic idea that these are simply citizens who sit on them. I think they're going to be imperfect and there's a limit to how much you can fine-tune the fairness of getting people on them.

The Acting Chair: Thank you very much, Mr McDermott.

Mr McDermott: Thank you.


The Acting Chair: I call upon Derek Rice from the Ad Hoc Committee of the Ontario Wildlife Working Group. Good afternoon. You have half an hour for your presentation. Whatever time is left after you've made your presentation will be divided equally among the three parties to ask you questions.

Mr Derek Rice: I don't have much of a presentation other than the written document here. There are a few comments I'd like to make, though.

To begin with, I don't really feel that the act plus the manuals plus the regulations would equal sustainability. There is a definite need within this legislation to have an explicit definition of how sustainability can be defined or worked out in some way, and that doesn't exist. I think this is reiterated by the process. Within the workshops, within any of my meetings with the MNR people, there hasn't been any clear idea of sustainability. In fact, on several occasions the MNR staff have asked me and have asked other people what we believe sustainability could be. This just doesn't seem to be the proper approach.

When we're working out the idea of sustainability, it is essential that it come about through a planning process that involves both provincial and regional levels of this process, and this isn't at all within this piece of legislation. In fact, when I've asked the people in the MNR staff where the provincial guidelines are, where the provincial motion is, there isn't an answer, there isn't any idea of provincial outlook or anything like that. They've always directed me to one section of the manuals, "The Future" section within the Forest Information Manual, of what we believe forest sustainability shall be at some point. But if the idea of the future is essential to the idea of sustainability and to the idea of forest sustainability, we have to start looking at what we believe to be the future and bring this into the legislation so that at some point we can have sustainability of the forest; not come up with a timber act, call it a sustainability act, and then at some point develop a future for the forest.

Quite clearly we are talking about the forests of Ontario; we're not talking about timber management in Ontario. If you replace the word "forest" with the word "timber," you do have a very strong act if you want to look at timber management in the short term. The only thing it's going to do is level forests in Ontario and replace what would be magnificent hardwood and deciduous stands of trees -- we would be left with ash and poplar all over the place, which isn't what either the industry or the people of Ontario want.

The group I represent, which has come quite unanimously to agree with some of the comments I've made here, is made up of distinctly disparate groups. There are anglers and hunters, there are animal rights people. It's very broad-based. I think it's important that the people of the committee listen to this and understand that if there are these many people who are diametrically opposed on so many other issues but who agree upon this, that this act has no weight and no possibility of achieving sustainability in Ontario, then you quite simply won't. This is not a sustainability act.

A lot of the comments I've made here are taken verbatim from MNR documents and MNR information. The "Purposes" section in the beginning is from the Diversity document. It seems quite odd to me that the MNR would bring about a forest sustainability act and not listen to its own comments, not listen to its own workshops, to its own policies it's developed.

I have to apologize for not being too formal about this, but I just found out about the possibility of my coming to the committee on Friday. I would appreciate that you would look at the document I've presented to you.

Mr Wood: Thank you very much for coming forward. "Sustainability" is an expression that's been around for a large number of years, but it's been used more in the last while as we go through public hearings and the drafting of the legislation. I want to get how you feel sustainability should be defined in terms of the Crown Forest Sustainability Act, in the act, in the manuals. This act is replacing the Crown Timber Act of 1952, but it does not wipe out all the other acts that are there, the Game and Fish Act and various acts that are there right now. This in no way wipes them out, so they're also there and they're not being revised at this time. I just want to get feedback from you on forest sustainability. What's your definition of it?

Mr Rice: I don't think I'm willing to answer your question as to how sustainability can be defined. I think the importance is to understand how sustainability can be achieved in Ontario. That will not be done by this act and there is no provision for it to be done. There has to be a framework within the legislation itself, not the manuals, not the regulations, that must give people an incentive, give manual writers an idea of how they can determine sustainability within their management unit. There have to be measurable and monitorable aspects of the forest.


Mr Wood: You or your committee members have been involved in the drafting of the regulations, the manuals, I understand?

Mr Rice: Unfortunately, I was the only one who was at most of the meetings. There was another person from the group who was at the manual workshops in Toronto here.

Mr Wood: So you've been involved in the manuals in the first draft, the second draft and whatever, the manuals that are out there right now?

Mr Rice: Interestingly enough, at one of the meetings I had with John Osborn on the Forest Information Manual, one of the things he presented to me was some information he had that could measure and monitor the forest to get an idea of whether the forest was being sustained. Although it was a fairly limited sense of the forest -- I mean, it's just trees, trees coverage, that sort of thing -- I feel it's an essential part of achieving sustainability: Measuring it. But it seemed odd to me. Why would an MNR person be coming to me and telling me what he believes should be incorporated within the act? Why is it not already in the act? Why is it not already a part of the manuals?

Mr Wood: I know what we've been trying to achieve, going back four years now, is getting thousands of people, people from every organization, industry, and communities, involved in coming up with legislation that we're having public hearings on right now. There have been thousands of people who have been involved over the last few years in coming up with, and we're still trying to get, a definition of sustainability, and nobody -- I shouldn't say "nobody." There are people who have come up and said, "I view sustainability as this -- boom, that's it." There are other people who have said, "I don't know what it means" or "I don't know whether it should be in the act or in the" -- we're going through the public process right now and trying to get feedback.

Mr Rice: The idea I'm promoting is that the framework for defining sustainability be in the act and that the actual definition remain in the manuals. The problem is that section 66 of the act does not explicitly require that there be a definition of sustainability within the manuals. It only requires that there be ideas or determinations within the manuals. That's extremely facile, if you ask me.

Essentially, in the "Purposes" section in my document, the idea I've drawn out leads to a framework for defining sustainability, and then the amendments to 66 would adhere to that and agree and require that in the manuals sustainability be explicitly defined at that point in time. And sustainability does not mean that there be extremely large, 200-hectare clear-cuts in Ontario.

Mr Gordon Mills (Durham East): Thank you for coming here this afternoon. I'm sitting on this committee and I've heard comment that I consider to be anti-government, that we're doing it wrong, we've got it wrong, we don't know what we're doing. We've heard that. Now I come to you and you're more or less saying the same thing.

One of the positions I try to do sitting on a committee is to weigh the evidence I hear as opposed to what the legislation -- so I can sort of understand it better. In order for me to do that, I want to know, what's your area of expertise? What weight should I be attaching to what you're telling me? Are you an expert in this? Where do you come from? What's your background?

Mr Rice: I come from Sault Ste Marie, Ontario. I've lived in northern Ontario all my life.

Mr Mills: Yes, but what do you do? Do you study this? Have you studied? Have you got some degree in forestry management, or are you just a Sault Ste Marie resident who's interested in forestry?

Mr Rice: No, I have a strong interest in animal issues, I have a strong interest in forestry. I've worked in the forest industry in Sault Ste Marie. I have a very good idea of what forestry is in northern Ontario.

Mr Mills: Are you a forester?

Mr Rice: No, I'm not.

Mr Mills: Have you had any training, educational background in this matter?

Mr Rice: I haven't had any education in it, no.

Mr Mills: None. Thank you.

Mr Rice: May I make a comment? As a citizen of Ontario and as someone who partakes in the forest, I have a very good idea of what the forest is, and I think that in itself qualifies me to understand what non-timber values are and what the forest is. The forest is not simply the trees, the megaflora. It's much, much more than that. If I have an idea of that, I think I have an idea of commenting on what would be a forest sustainability act, so I don't think you can simply disqualify me because I don't have an education as far as the forest goes. I have an education of how I use the forest and I have been --

Mr Mills: I never disqualified you. I'm just trying to assess the impact of your testimony.

Mr Miclash: Derek, just following up on what Mr Mills has said, he actually touched on a question I was going to ask in terms of the committee you represent and what the mandate of that committee is, where the members are coming from.

Mr Rice: The mandate of the committee is basically to develop policy in Ontario as far as wildlife is concerned, wildlife meaning everything -- plant, animal -- in the environment. That is an essential part of it. We have been given the opportunity by Howard Hampton himself to partake in this process and that's why I am here.

The offer being given to us to join in this process seems kind of backwards, in a sense. All we have done has been undertaken through MNR auspices, so MNR has always been aware and in fact has published most of the documents. It seems backwards that they've helped us along yet they're not including it within most of their legislation. There's an idea of what policy should be as far as wildlife is concerned and as far as that relates to forestry, and once again it's backwards: We've developed it with them but they haven't listened to it, haven't taken it into context.

Mr Miclash: I think where we're getting a little bit mixed up is in terms of the actual makeup of your committee. How did it come to be and what is its actual mandate? How did your committee form? Numbers? Who's involved?

Mr Rice: Essentially to develop policy, as far as the ministry goes, towards wildlife, to conserving wildlife, in a sense. There are several different groups I could list. There are MNR people, the Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters, that sort of thing. There are foresters, hunters and trappers.

Mr Miclash: So this is an actual group that meets on a regular basis?

Mr Rice: Yes.

Mr Miclash: That leads to my next question. Section 12 of the bill talks about local citizens' committees. As we've been travelling around the past weeks, we've been asking the various people who have presented about what they would see such a committee comprised of, the mandate and the makeup of such a committee. What are your views on that?

Mr Rice: One of the things I presented when I was at the manual workshops was some of the progressive moves made by the Ministry of Municipal Affairs, as far as it goes, to local citizens' committees and that sort of thing. Within the Sewell commission document, its final report, there are some very powerful statements made about how we can develop local citizens' committees to make them more substantive in Ontario. These sorts of things need to be looked at and made harmonious with this piece of legislation. But that's a really minor comment, as far as it goes, in terms of developing sustainability in Ontario. We have to start with a provincial idea and work downwards.

Mr Miclash: So you're suggesting they wouldn't be as important as the provincial umbrella group would be, in terms of the citizen committee?

Mr Rice: No, I don't think they would play any less of a part. It's just that right at the moment, what's not getting enough attention is the idea of a provincial outlook. The citizens' committees are fine and they are necessary in achieving sustainability in Ontario, but there needs to be more attention paid to the provincial level.


Mr Murdoch: To get back to the question that was asked by Gord and Frank, your working group is made up of Howard Hampton's -- you're basically working for the ministry, is that right? How did you get on the group? Who do you represent, to get on the group?

Mr Rice: No, I don't think we're working for the ministry. I would say we're working for wildlife in Ontario.

Mr Murdoch: Okay, but the group is set up by the ministry.

Mr Anthony Perruzza (Downsview): Oh, come on. It's a real fishing expedition you're going on.

Mr Murdoch: I just want to know. It was a very good question, I think. Why did you get put on the group?

Mr Perruzza: The question really is, "Has the NDP set you up?"

The Acting Chair: Order, please.

Mr Murdoch: I don't care about the politics. I just want to know, what group did you come from, to get on the working group?

Mr Rice: Unfortunately, I would like to not care about the politics, but I do in that I think he's right in saying that you are leading me up to the idea of, does this validate or legitimize the NDP's role in --

Mr Murdoch: Unfortunately, he's not, but if you want to carry on, we can do it that way if you want. Who do you represent, to get on the group?

Mr Rice: I work for an organization called Animal Alliance of Canada.

Mr Murdoch: That's all I wanted to know.

Mr Rice: Through Liz White, who is a member of the Ontario Wildlife Working Group, I jointed the ad hoc committee.

Mr Murdoch: That's what I wanted to know. I don't care about the politics.

Mr Rice: I think the politics is important because --

Mr Murdoch: Well, no. I'm not going to ask you what party or anything like that. That was the question I wanted to ask you.

From some of your comments earlier, you're not overly enthused at the way they manage forest management now, the companies and the way they cut timber now, is that right? You mentioned something about clear-cutting and things like that.

Mr Rice: That was just a minor comment. I don't necessarily agree that the companies are as ill as we think they are. The people I spoke to at the workshops have a very good idea of the need for sustainability of the forests in Ontario.

Mr Murdoch: You said you're from the Sault, so I assume you've been out in the forest where they have clear-cut and then replanted, reseeded. Do you know their methods?

Mr Rice: Yes.

Mr Murdoch: Do you agree with those types of methods?

Mr Rice: Not necessarily. No, I don't.

Mr Murdoch: That's getting into forest sustainability, so what would you do differently? You wouldn't clear-cut some of those stands where there is a lot of black spruce or poplar? How would you manage those stands? I'm just interested because you're on this committee.

Mr Rice: I'm not saying that clear-cuts should be illegal in Ontario. I don't think they're very visually attractive, I don't think they're at all essential for the forest and I think that's a very poor way of managing the forests.

Mr Murdoch: Do you have an alternative?

Mr Rice: An alternative to clear-cutting?

Mr Murdoch: If you've got a stand of black spruce or poplar, how would you go in and pick out certain tress and cut them and not pretty well clear-cut? How would you do that stand any differently?

Mr Rice: There are different methods of forestry other than clear-cutting. Shelterwood operations, selective cutting, that sort of thing works very well.

Mr Murdoch: When you have a whole area of, say, black spruce only and they're all approximately the same size, you don't agree with just clear-cutting that and reforesting. You'd cut one here and one there.

Mr Rice: It seems very odd. Why is it that you would go out and find a forest that would all be level trees? It doesn't seem quite clear to me.

Mr Murdoch: But there are a lot up there like that.

Mr Rice: That's probably because that's a cause of second-growth forests.

Mr Murdoch: Third, maybe.

Mr Rice: Yes. So the problem was in the beginning, cutting the forests in such a haphazard way without a clear vision of the future.

Mr Hodgson: You mention on page 2 of your report, section iv, that "Forest ecosystem types should not be candidates for harvest where this practice threatens or jeopardizes their long-term health and vigour." This goes to the essence of the measurable quality of an ecosystem. Do you feel there are enough scientific data available to define ecosystems and their connection to one another?

I use an example you might be familiar with, down in the east coast fisheries. There is a relationship between the harp seal population, for instance, and the cod stock. This spring the federal government has allowed the reopening of the hunt and harvest on harp seals because it felt, obviously, that that had a depleting factor in the cod stock. It's not mentioned very much in the media, but it's reopened again.

Would we not be opening ourselves up to similar mistakes in the future if we said this ecosystem is going to be sustained and that then had a detrimental effect on the sustainability of, in the east coast situation, the jobs those people worked at? We banned the hunt and now there's no jobs left in the fishery industry.

Mr Rice: The idea of the forest is that it's an all-encompassing ecosystem that includes all that is in the forest. It doesn't just speak of the trees in the forest.

Mr Hodgson: I realize that, but do we know enough yet to define the ecosystem that you want to protect and the connection of it to another ecosystem?

Mr Rice: Sure. It basically states that 85% of Ontario is a forest ecosystem. There are other ecosystems within the province, but, for the large part, that is Ontario.

Mr Hodgson: Let's say we have an ecosystem of some type of fungus and you want to sustain that.

Mr Rice: An ecosystem isn't necessarily always based on one specific species.

Mr Hodgson: Okay, a component of an ecosystem, and you want to sustain that. Is that where you're going with this, to define that? Measure it and have a base --

Mr Rice: No, there are other ways of doing it. You can include other species by monitoring the larger species. That is possible. I don't know if it's really valuable, but it is possible, sure.

Mr Hodgson: I'm just getting at, how would you manage that if you include section iv, where you said, "Forest ecosystem types should not be candidates for harvest where this practice threatens or jeopardizes their long-term health and vigour"? An ecosystem type, other than just trees, could be mosquitos. We had one presenter who said it could be black flies. In the day-to-day management within MNR, if a forest company wants to cut the trees off a piece of crown land, would you suggest we have it defined right down that we're going to protect the black fly culture in this area? How do you work with this if it's to be included?

Mr Rice: Because there are other statements here. It's an idea of maintaining levels of populations and levels of the ecosystem. There has to be a representative basis. Obviously, we need to extract resources from the forest. That's something we agree upon or we wouldn't be here. With that in hand, we need to maintain a certain level of tree coverage, we need to maintain a certain level of fungal growth, a level of mosquito and black fly populations. There has to be a level, and that must be achieved through a provincial vision and a local idea, a local quota, so to speak.

Mr Hodgson: So you would see an inventory developing that you could measure this from.

Mr Rice: There actually exists right at this time an inventory, as far as that's concerned.

Mr Hodgson: There is?

Mr Rice: There isn't an explicit inventory, as far as it goes, for measuring fungus in Ontario, but there is a way of inventorying what is in the forest.

Mr Hodgson: My understanding is that we're just doing the scientific studies, for instance, to ascertain the relationship between moose populations and forest rotations. But you're telling me that that's been done and there is an inventory?

Mr Rice: No, I'm not saying there's an all-encompassing inventory as far as the forest goes. But there are things that exist right now that we can work upon, that at some point in the future we can achieve that level of inventory.

Mr Hodgson: That's what I'm getting at. Do you see this bill hampering that process?

Mr Rice: Sure, 100%.

Mr Hodgson: It's hampering it 100%?

Mr Rice: Yes.

The Acting Chair: Thank you very much, Mr Rice.



Mr Barry MacKay: Mr Chairman, members of the committee, my name is Barry MacKay. I am here somewhat unexpectedly. Liz White, who I am not, was going to make this presentation to you.

Just to confuse you utterly, I'm a member of the Ad Hoc Committee of the Ontario Wildlife Working Group, as is Chris Winter, who first addressed you this afternoon. It is a committee that produced this document which, if you haven't seen, I certainly recommend to you. If you're nice to Mr Peter Evans, who's sitting behind me, he might be able to produce copies for you; I don't know. At any rate, it's something that was put together with consultation over a number of years between members of the Ministry of Natural Resources and all kinds of interest groups and players and so forth.

I came here expecting to address my presentation, which I hope has been distributed to you, that was prepared by my colleague Liz White. But I'm also a journalist. My background, my interest, is in wildlife, particularly international trade in wildlife. This brings most of these issues more to the national or to the federal level, and our commitment to sustainability and our commitment to biodiversity, which I hear about quite frequently, particularly at conferences of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species, which I go to as an NGO. Forestry is certainly a part of that. I consider trees to be wildlife, it's true, but I admit that my background is more involved with animals.

That's why I just want to deviate momentarily. I didn't expect to be talking about this, but the seal hunt never did end. The government has regulated a 180,000 quota for years. There was a ban on the importation into Europe of one age class and I think that's what you're referring to, but it was never a ban. Harp seals are not eaters of cod fish; they eat very, very few, in fact, and not during the breeding range. A species that does eat cod fish is the grey seal. The grey seal was thought to be extinct in the 1940s; it has come back, but it has come back to a level much lower than what presumably was its primal level, although usually we don't have benchmarks for this sort of thing. I just point that out because there's a lot of confusion about it.


The Acting Chair: This is not the time to ask questions.

Mr MacKay: He brought it up and --

The Acting Chair: Please just make your presentation and ignore the questioner.

Mr MacKay: I have this sort of congenital thing that I don't like to see misstatements just lie there.

Mr Hodgson: That's fine with me, Mr Chair.

Mr MacKay: I must be honest that actually I heard about this act from Mr Hampton himself in mid-May, when he met with the members of the Ad Hoc Committee of the Wildlife Working Group just across the road from here and essentially said to us, "Look, I think some of the concerns you've brought up are addressed in this act we have." It was the first I'd heard about it, and I must confess that when I heard the name of it, I thought: "This is good, sustainability is good. That's a good word, a nice word, and we like that." I assumed I would be supporting the act and I assumed that that's what Mr Hampton wanted not only myself but all of us as the committee to do.

I will defer to the people who have spoken before this afternoon and their greater expertise in this area, who have said that this is either equal to what we have, neither better nor worse, as I think Mr McDermott said, or those who have even said that perhaps in some respects it's worse. I think it's six of one, half a dozen of the other, that there's some good stuff in here that the former act doesn't have and vice versa, so it's a question of whether there's any actual material gain in the act.

But I would say I'm profoundly disappointed in it. It simply doesn't deliver. We can debate what we mean by "sustainability," but there have been lots of definitions of it. From a philosophical or purist position we might say there is no such thing as sustainable forestry, but on the other hand I'd be the last one, because like everybody in this room I am a consumer of forest products, to say that we therefore shouldn't have forestry. Of course we should. It's essential to this province. Therefore it must be sustainable. If there is a crisis, the crisis was created by the status quo, so therefore I think there should be a challenge to the status quo, a productive challenge, a challenge that is in the interests of allowing us to utilize our forests sustainably. I think these commitments to sustainability and biodiversity are good ones and I just don't see them in this act.

I will go through what I've written. We have recommendations. I'll start on page 2.

(1) To replace current wording under part I, section 1, entitled "Purposes" to read:

"The purpose of this act is to provide for the sustainability of crown forests, and in accordance with that objective, to manage crown forests with the following principles," and these come from what I understand to be government policy. I won't list them, (a), (b), (c) and so on; they're listed on the text in front of you.

Part I, section 2, Definitions:

(1) To amend the "forest ecosystem" definition to read:

"Forest ecosystems, while dominated by plants called trees, also include" -- and these are all the other components of the forest environment that we're familiar with to a greater or lesser degree. When I say that, I mean quite sincerely that there are some of us who have never professionally -- I have cut down the odd tree but I've never been paid for it. Nevertheless, I would argue that my knowledge of some of the elements of the forest are greater than those people who do get paid to cut down trees.

(2) To add the following definitions: an ecological region, a forest ecosystem unit, and a natural forest.

Under part II, Management Planning and Information, subsection 8(2), what the bill says now is:

"The minister shall not approve a forest management plan unless the minister is satisfied that the plan provides for the sustainability of crown forest, having regard to" -- again, all these good things -- "plant life, animal life, water, soil" etc, and including social and economic values.

Due to the discretionary nature of the proposed act, this section does not ensure that the forest management plan will actually result in sustainable forestry practices. Therefore, we suggest the following wording:

"The minister shall not approve a forest management plan unless the plan provides for the sustainability of the crown forest, in accordance with the following strategic objectives" -- again, as had been outlined in what we had hoped was policy and had been told was policy:

"to ensure that current biological diversity of forests is not significantly changed and, where necessary and practical, is restored" -- that's something that's been discussed earlier today;

"to establish and maintain representative, protected forest lands, as part of Ontario's natural heritage; and

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

Subsection 14(3): We're recommending that subsection 14(3) also be tied to sustainability by amending the wording to read:

"The minister may approve the work schedule, reject it or approve it with modifications as may be made by the minister to" -- and these are our words -- "ensure the sustainability of the forest operations in the management unit."

Subsection 17(1): We recommend that subsection 17(1) be amended to read:

"The minister will require the holder of a forest resource licence to conduct inventories, surveys, tests or studies in accordance with the Forest Information Manual."

The conducting of inventories, surveys, tests or studies must not be left to the discretion of the minister. A critical part of determining sustainable forestry activities will be based on the information collected from the inventories and other forms of data collection. That seems pretty straightforward.

Part III, Forest Resource Licences, subsection 26(2): There are several problems we have with this section, and therefore we recommend that it be amended to read:

"The minister may in writing direct that subsection (1) does not apply to a forest resource licence if the term of the licence does not exceed one year and the total area covered by the licence does not exceed 25 hectares and there is only one licence of this type held by an individual or corporation."

We would suggest that this section be further amended to show that 25 hectares may have different values or significance in different areas of the province. For example, 25 hectares of crown forest in southern Ontario may be considered a significant forested area as compared to the same size in the north. As a result, we recommend the following addition:

"The minister may grant exemptions for parcels of crown land that are 25 hectares or less provided all the requirements listed in 26(2) above and all other criteria for sustainable development are met."

There is a species of vole in this province called the pine vole, but it actually lives in Carolinian forests; it's a misnomer. I believe it's listed as endangered, and 25 hectares of good Carolinian forest is essential to that species, and that species' existence is essential to biodiversity if we mean it when we say we are committed to biodiversity.

Subsection 27(3): We are requesting that this section be amended to establish some criteria for granting such exemptions. We're not quite sure -- I mean, this has come upon us quickly enough that it's hard for us to figure out just exactly how to do this. Maybe it's by forest definition type. But something should be done to address this concern. The section, as it's now written, is open to potential abuse.


Part VIII, Miscellaneous, subsection 66(2): We recommend the following amendments:

"(2) The Forest Management Planning Manual shall contain provisions respecting,

"(a)" fine, no problem with the wording there;

"(b) forest management objectives that provide for measurable and monitorable" -- I love that word -- "assessments of forest ecosystem sustainability that include:

"(i) a level of harvest that provides a non-declining flow of volume of each harvested forest resource in perpetuity;

"(ii) maintenance of the relative abundance of all forest ecosystem units within the forest management unit. These forest ecosystem units will reflect those found in the natural forest within the ecological region where the forest management unit is found;

"(iii) distribution of these forest ecosystem units in a landscape matrix reflective of the natural forest of the ecological region where the forest management unit is located;

"(iv) maintenance of a forest age class distribution reflective of the natural forest of the ecological region where the forest management unit is located; and

"(v) maintenance of all wildlife populations at the levels found in natural forests of the ecological region where the forest management unit is located."

We urge you to amend Bill 171 -- you notice we're not saying dump it -- to ensure that the government's policy for sustainable forestry and ecosystem approach be reflected in law. If the amendments are not adopted, we urge the committee to defeat the bill.

Of course, before I ask you to ask me questions, which I probably can't answer, let me point out that I can remember going back to another piece of legislation, the Game and Fish Act, and we ran into a real problem, "we" being the Ministry of Natural Resources, if I may speak on its behalf, in that they thought it said a certain thing, and a Supreme Court of Ontario decision decided that it didn't say quite what we had thought it meant all along, and a case that had been brought to the courts by the ministry got thrown out, went the other way.

After that, I don't know if that was the catalyst for this kind of wording or not, but people who worked for the ministry were telling me: "Oh, you've got go the way of regulations. You don't want to tie yourself in too closely." I respect that, I honestly do. But I suggest there's a compromise between the one extreme on one hand and the other extreme we have with Bill 171 on the other. That's my concern. It's not dogmatism. I'm not saying that every single i has to be dotted in terms of what this absolutely and rigidly says. But at least let's have something we can work with both in terms of, as has been said, identifying what it is we want it to do and then the means by which it can be done.

Mr Brown: Mr MacKay, thank you for a very informative presentation. You've echoed the views of quite a number of groups that have come before us. But the question I want to ask you -- you just mentioned the Game and Fish Act, which I believe has probably been kicking around this place in terms of having a revised act since the early 1980s. The revision to it had first reading some time ago here --

Mr MacKay: Bill 162?

Mr Brown: -- Bill 162, then it seems to have gone the way of the dodo bird.

Mr MacKay: It's on a shelf somewhere, yes.

Mr Brown: What my question really relates to is that we talk to forest sustainability, and when you talk about forest sustainability, you are talking about fish and game, talking about a lot of things that aren't really encompassed.

This act, as it's presented to us, to me says timber management. Everything about this says timber management. It doesn't say forest management; it says timber management. It ignores the other values and the other interests that may be in the forests, which would quite legitimately be done if you were talking about only timber management.

Would you prefer an act that would include the various elements of the forest altogether; this combined with the Game and Fish Act and some other acts, the Provincial Parks Act and other acts that relate directly to the forest? Certainly our provincial parks are mostly forest, for example. This doesn't include that and yet we're hoping to sustain those, I presume, also.

Do you have some views on how that could be accomplished? That would be a most ambitious task, I understand.

Mr MacKay: I find that I learn more when I'm listening than when I'm talking, and I heard somebody make the comment that you just made earlier -- I thought maybe it was you -- that if you substitute the word "timber" for "forest" you kind of have what this act is really about. But I just take the view, as what I hope is a pragmatic consumer as well as a conservationist, that ultimately they all do come together. We can't have forestry, we can't have timber and we can't have log cutting, whatever you want to call it, if we don't have it sustainably, and that does include all the other values which may either directly or indirectly lead to the sustainability of the things we've mentioned, be they watersheds or fresh air or oxygen production, whatever. Ultimately, we can't have it.

Somebody made the comment about sitting in the midst of the largest clear-cut around for a long time. Right. You again -- very good and exactly right, I mean dead on. But I can remember two years ago being in montane rainforest in Borneo in a national park and having the disconcerting experience of stepping out of the edge, literally. I came to a boundary. I took three or four feet of a step, broke through the vegetation and found I was facing nothing but empty fields. That is a clear-cut, and it is one that is deleterious to the interests of the people in that region.

The situations I've experienced in other areas of the world are, granted, in many respects worse than what we have here. I don't want them to get there. That's my concern. As I said in my opening remarks, it may be that we could argue in a theoretical, purist way that removing a single tree is a sustainably incorrect thing to do, sort of the biological equivalent of a politically incorrect statement, in that that tree contains nutriments that are therefore deprived from the forest -- they've gone -- which would never happen in a normal forest ecosystem even if it is subjected to forest fire. It doesn't happen.

But we on the other hand -- hey, I use paper all over the place, I use forest products, I live in a house that has a lot of wood in it, so I understand. Between these extremes we have to be pragmatic. But if we aren't, if we don't come up with something that's workable, then we are going to lose what I need as a person who lives in this society, as well as what the person who cuts down the tree and makes a buck off it also needs. We need those forests and we're going to lose them. So I don't make that distinction that clearly, or I wish we didn't make that distinction that clearly.

Mr Brown: Something has been brought before us by several presenters over the last couple of weeks. We all know that the forest companies and the forest company employees are significant revenue sources for the provincial government. We have area charges, which you're aware that everyone who is harvesting on land pays. We have some suggestions that those who pay call the tune and that perhaps it would be better for some of the other users to be paying some of the share of forest management. I wonder what your view of that might be.

Mr MacKay: I think that may be absolutely unavoidable, sir. As any resource that is used diminishes, the cost of it goes up, and if a percentage of that cost is in tax, for example, goods and services, provincial sales, whatever, that's inevitable. That's what I'm saying. We're trying to avoid crunch time. If you're asking me -- I personally don't make a cent from cutting down trees. One of the reasons I'm here is because our resources are non-profit, in some cases charitable NGOs -- Animal Alliance of Canada is not a charity, it's a non-profit, but other organizations I represent or that actually pay me money -- because my work for Animal Alliance is voluntary. I have very, very limited resources compared to some of these forest companies, and if you suggest otherwise -- obviously, you're not that naïve. But am I willing to pay? I don't think it's possible for me not to pay as a consumer and as time goes on.

Mr Brown: There's a term called the "commercial forest" or the "industrial forest," and the argument is that the forest companies should pay the area charges on that, but on the others that are not available to them, they shouldn't have to pay for that land. What's your opinion?

Mr MacKay: You're coming at me with a question that I haven't previously considered, and I'm not the kind of person who just likes to talk to hear myself talk. But I can tell you my intuitive instincts are that, yes, we all should. I can't conceive that you're suggesting to me that forestry can occur in one place and not have an influence in another place that is adjacent to it or even some distance from it. This is particularly true as we recognize such long-term problems as global warming and ozone depletion. We're all part of it.


Mr Hodgson: Thank you for your presentation and for your clarification at the start; I really appreciated that. Your view of sustainability is one that I think there is a consensus on: "A level of harvest that provides a non-declining flow of volume of each harvested forest resource," that you somehow find that balance between sustaining the jobs that are directly related to the forest industry and sustaining the forest as an ecosystem.

There's no magic wand you can wave over it, but you've had a lot of involvement with working with different groups to get consensus. Do you think there would be a consensus for your recommendations -- I'm referring to page 5 -- on "Miscellaneous," under section 66, the manuals. This is more than just motherhood when you're putting in (2)(b)(i), (ii) and (iii). Some of the other reports -- you've included a couple at the back -- there's a consensus on because they've never actually come anywhere close to a specific definition. But you've got one here that can be measurable.

Mr MacKay: I'm sorry. Your question is?

Mr Hodgson: Do you think it's workable?

Mr MacKay: It's a good question. When I read this before coming down here, because I didn't write it, when I heard it first given to me over the telephone verbally and then read it when it came over my fax machine, I thought, as a writer: "This has a really nice flow to it. It sounds great. Is it workable?" My first thought was that perhaps it's incredibly naïve, but my second thought, my follow-up thought and the one I'll leave you with is that we have to. -- I think that's the thing that we have to come to grips with.

It may be that we can't do it the way we're used to doing business, in the same sense that it may be that the amount of money I pay for a litre of gasoline is artificially low, however much it pains me to say that, when I pay up. It may be that we have no choice but to recommend that we've got to come as close to these idealistic recommendations we put down as is humanly possible, because we have to look at what happens if we don't. Ultimately, it's the loss of the resource.

It's been identified to me again and again, and it's been admitted at this committee level, that there is a crisis situation in the forest. Now, I didn't say that. I haven't gone and measured things and come up with that as a report. Others far more knowledgeable than I say that. If it's true, something's got to be done to change that.

Mr Hodgson: We haven't got a definite answer on that. We're hearing two different stories on just the volume that exists in the forest.

Mr MacKay: A friend of mine, in fact a professor who's an expert on harp seals, stated to me, because he is a professor, that if you do have two different answers to the same set of data, you don't have enough data. That's part of the problem we're dealing with. Somebody made the statement again that this whole issue is so overwhelming, and it is. It doesn't mean that we shouldn't try to address it. In fact, I'd argue we must address it. Your point's well taken. I'm sure you've had the same data interpreted two different ways. It's not an unusual phenomenon in science.

Mr Wood: Thank you very much, for coming forward with an excellent presentation. I see from the brief that you're delivering the presentation but Ms White was involved in drafting it. I understand that she was involved in the development of the manuals during the month of July. Were you involved in the manuals as well?

Mr MacKay: Yes, she was. No, I was not. In fact, that's a disappointment to me. My initial plan had been to. With the period that was open to me, it wasn't workable.

Mr Wood: You're saying that your background is that you're a journalist?

Mr MacKay: I wear so many hats, it gets depressing sometimes. I write a weekly column for the Toronto Star and I do other freelance writing from time to time, usually on environmental, ecological or animal protection issues. But I also work part-time for the Animal Protection Institute, which you see is the cosponsor of this brief. Their organization is based in the States, but it's the only one that actually pays me. I also am a director of Animal Alliance of Canada. That's a voluntary position. I'm also a director of Zoocheck Canada, and in that capacity I serve on both the Ontario Wildlife Working Group and now its ad hoc committee.

Mr Wood: In Mr Brown's questions, he would like you to believe that if you change the word "timber" in this act that nothing else has changed; this is the impression. In section 13, there's a large number of new provisions in the act that were not covered under the timber act of 1952, for forestry management plans, provision for a fining system for companies refusing direct orders, if they're going to be out there deliberately destroying animal habitat or fish habitat or things of this kind. There's clear provision in there for third-party licensing now, which was not covered under the timber act. I believe in section 14 there are a number of new sections. I wouldn't want anybody sitting in the audience or you to go away from here thinking that if you just change the word "timber" to "forest," there are no changes.

There are major changes trying to address things like sustainability, the communities, the jobs, the industry that's there into the future. People are telling us that the Crown Timber Act, 1952, does not work, doesn't work any longer, that something has to be there. I'm just wondering if you could tell us if your version of sustainability, for example, is defined in the manuals, which are binding on the crown because of the regulations which tie them to the legislation. I'd just like to hear a little more from you on that.

Mr MacKay: The first question, that has been asked again and again, is first define what it is that you're trying to obtain, define, if you will, "sustainability," or, if you prefer to look at it a little bit differently, try to define the objectives of sustainability, and then you look at the regulations and say, "Do they do that?" In fact, what has been said to you here today by previous speakers is, must they say that? In other words, is this a discretionary thing or is it essential that they do say that? That's what my concern is.

I can't tell you how to do it in the field. I defer to other people who have greater knowledge of silviculture than I ever will, although I will say that in my various and eclectic experiences I have seen other forestry models than the ones that are practised here, ie, those that come from Europe. At least they interest me and intrigue me, but I lack the expertise to say if they are working as well as they look to be working.

There's a gentleman at the Peterborough crown and game -- no, what is it called? Peterborough something or other. At any rate, he's trying on his little plot of land to forest in an economically viable way that is also in a sustainable way. He showed me what he did, and it certainly looked like a big improvement over what I've seen of clear-cutting in northern Ontario. But I would defer to somebody such as Professor Aird or the previous speakers on points of how you do it. I just lack the expertise; I'd be misleading you if I suggested otherwise.

Mr Wood: One of the aspects of the new timber act is saying that there's a bunch of trees out there, and if you don't have a plan for what that's going to look like in the future, you're not going to do anything with it. That is basically in the act now. I just wonder if you have a comment on that. It's not in the other act and it's in the new act.

Mr MacKay: That pleases me. It still doesn't say what that plan should define. I don't mean to be facetious, but what happens if the plan shows a bunch of stumps afterwards? It's got to meet an objective. That's what our concern is.

Mr Wood: Sustainability and regeneration and reforesting.

Mr MacKay: Yes, as we have been discussing sustainability all afternoon. One of my concerns is that we get into the sort of situation where we look at sustainability in terms of maintaining sustainability of profit. In other words, sustaining the same number of dollars per unit of land in perpetuity over a time frame that allows those trees to grow back. That's not how I see sustainability, because it's a false economy. Eventually, you're going to feel the crunch of not looking after the other interests that were in there. I think, Mr Chairman, I've run out of time? Right.

The Acting Chair: Thank you very much, sir.

Mr MacKay: Thank you.



Mr Chris Lompart: My name's Chris Lompart. I'm with the Federation of Ontario Naturalists. We're a non-profit organization. Our mandate is essentially the protection and increased awareness of Ontario's wildlife and natural heritage. We represent about 15,000 direct members and 73 affiliated clubs and organizations. We've been around since 1931, so we do have quite a history. In terms of forestry issues, we've been directly involved for quite some time as well. We were an intervenor in the class environmental assessment through the Coalition of Forests for Tomorrow.

I've provided two different pieces of paper for you. One is the direct submission of the Federation of Ontario Naturalists. The other one is a submission from a number of organizations; they're listed at end of it on the final page. The FON submission is directly in line with this other submission; this other one has the consensus of all these organizations. I'll be presenting the FON submission, but they are essentially in line with one another.

Our principle concern is over the sustainability issue, as you've heard from just about everybody else who's presented to you. Part of the problem with approaching sustainability is that it means so many different things to so many different people. From an economic perspective, you're looking at sustaining the amount of dollars that are going into different coffers and the amount of business that's been generated out of the forest resources. From a community perspective you're looking at jobs, you're looking at recreational opportunities, you're looking at a number of things. Then there's the ecological perspective, which is sustaining the types of species, the wildlife, the trees, the way they're distributed on the landscape, their age, class, distribution and that sort of thing.

But consistent with all of these is that sustainability is something that is long-term. In most senses, people think of sustainability as something that's in perpetuity, you're maintaining something essentially for ever. In doing that, you shouldn't be hindering the opportunities for the future. If 50 years from now somebody feels there's incredible opportunity for black spruce doing something, the forest should be in such a state that we could take advantage of that opportunity. In terms of sustainability, there are those two prime, basic components, that is, that it's over the long term, and over that long term you're not hindering the future.

We're concerned more with the ecological perspective, and most of my comments deal particularly with that.

The Crown Timber Act which is in place right now deals with sustainability through sustained yield. Sustained yield is a very basic principle to sustainability; you don't get more basic than that. It's basically saying that you should be harvesting at the same rate as something is regenerating. That is as basic as it gets. As you know, that has been taken out of the current act we're looking at. As I said, that's the most basic principle. We've gone light years ahead of that. That principle's been around for 30, 40 years.

In terms of ecological sustainability, I think biodiversity is the principle we should be concerned with the most. Similar to what I mentioned before, that implies maintaining the species, maintaining their distribution, their relative abundances, their age class distributions. That's a little closer to where we are today. There's still a lot of research going on in that respect, but that is getting a little bit closer.

Basically, in terms of ecological sustainability, you should be harvesting at a level which can be sustained in perpetuity and you should be replacing what is harvested. In doing that, you would be looking after biodiversity, to a large extent. Currently, this isn't the way the forests are managed in Ontario. There was an audit in 1992 which very clearly outlined that what's being harvested isn't being regenerated, and there's been very little done since then to ensure that.

Another document which has been brought up quite often and does outline principles for sustainability is the Diversity document, which was the basis for the Policy Framework for Sustainable Forests, which, as you know, is a cabinet-approved policy. The Diversity document was developed in consultation with upwards of 3,000 people. As far as I know, that's more than have been consulted for pretty well any other government initiative to do with forests.

There was quite a bit of consensus that came out of that document and, as such, I think there should be a lot of weight placed on that document and on the policy framework which is a direct result of it. As you also know, the minister announced that the act would incorporate the policy framework, and it's very difficult to find in the act or in the manuals where this framework is actually incorporated into it.

The recommendations we provide I believe are in line with the Diversity document, in line with the forest policy framework, and quite often use the exact same wording.

Sustainability we have approached in three different sections of the act.

Section 1, the purposes, we feel is an excellent place to outline the principles of sustainability. Using the ones strictly out of the framework, or very similar ones, seems to be the appropriate approach.

Section 8(2) we believe is a very good place to indicate the objectives of sustainability which should be found in a forest management plan, incorporating into that that a forest management plan wouldn't be approved without these objectives being addressed.

Section 66(2) we believe is an appropriate place to provide direct indicators of sustainability and how these could be used or interpreted for field purposes.

The approach the government has taken to this legislation is one of enabling legislation. That's probably a reasonable approach to sustainability, as there's a lot that isn't known about sustainability and the knowledge around sustainability and what it really means is continually increasing. I think the difference between what I would propose and their approach is that they seem to think that knowledge around sustainability is changing, whereas I feel it's expanding and that you can actually expand upon what is known now. What is known now isn't changing, won't change. There are fairly basic principles of sustainability and those can be and are incorporated into the act, and then as different aspects of sustainability are learned, you incorporate them into the manuals and use the manuals to explain how that can be done at the field level. That's basically our approach to sustainability.


To go on from that, another prime concern of the Federation of Ontario Naturalists is protected areas. We feel there's a great need for a complete protected area system in Ontario, protecting representative natural features throughout the province. There's been in place in the province for close to two decades a policy which outlines the objectives for protected areas, and the government has committed to completing these protected areas by the year 2000.

Subsection 31(1) of this act deals with amending licences for a harvest. We're concerned that there isn't opportunity to amend a licence for the purpose of establishing a protected area. Currently, as it stands, licences can be amended only as determined in the regulations, and in the regulations as drafted thus far there's nothing to deal with protected areas. We would like to see directly within the act something along the lines that licences can be amended to fulfil objectives of other societal values. Without this, what will happen is that protected areas planning will be done through forest management planning at the same time, and this isn't something that should be done. Organizations like ours would not be willing to say that a forest management plan is either sustainable or a good forest management plan unless it dictated which areas were to be set aside as protected areas to fulfil the goals of the provincial park system. That would bog down the system quite heavily, and I don't think that's something that we or anybody else wants. It's a fairly laborious process as it is, so I'd suggest an amendment to section 31.

Subsection 13(1) deals with forest operations prescriptions. The wording in that is, "If preparation of a forest operations prescription is required..." It sounds as though prescriptions will not be required in all cases, and prescriptions are really the way of determining how a plan is fulfilling its stated goals and objectives. Without pre-harvest prescriptions, then it really can't be seriously said that a plan is trying to fulfil its goals and objectives. We would like to see that section changed to "shall" be required as opposed to "if" they're required.

Subsection 26(2) and section 44 provide exemptions from preparing forest management plans or being subject to work schedules and a number of other things, for areas which are less than 25 hectares and for a licence which is for less than one year. There are two problems we see with that. One is that in southern Ontario 25 hectares can be an extremely significant area. Once you get down below the shield, I'd say the majority of the forests fall within that size range, and certainly once you get down into the Carolinian Canada zone, getting rid of an area of 25 hectares is very serious. The other problem is the possibility of incremental damage: 25 hectares a year over a series of years can add up to quite a substantial area. We would like to see either that condition removed or more stringent restrictions placed on that.

With respect to trust funds, we feel the trust funds should be tied more directly to the silvicultural standards. We do have a concern. I've heard on a number of occasions that industry would like to get into more intensive silviculture in areas close to mills, which I don't necessarily have a problem with. I am a little bit more concerned with the areas which are farther away from the mills which they go in and harvest and then want to do the minimum possible as those areas can be more expensive to regenerate because of distance and because the profits they receive from them, due to the distance, aren't as great. Additionally, there is the possibility that companies would want to put less emphasis on those sites simply because they are of poor productivity. I believe there must be a tie-in to standards in order to ensure that these sites are properly regenerated. Basically, I'm saying that if they're willing to harvest it, they should be willing to regenerate it properly.

Finally, with respect to audits, in section 67, which outlines the regulations, paragraph 28 says that regulations can be developed around independent audits. The draft regulations, as I've seen them so far, say that independent audits are inappropriate at this point in time. I don't really see how they can be inappropriate at this point in time, and I think that directly within the act there should be a stipulation that independent audits are necessary and a time frame placed on that, possibly a two- or three-year time frame placed directly within the act.

That's all I have. Thank you very much.

Mr Hodgson: Thank you very much for coming in. I enjoyed the presentation. Why do you think this act failed to bring in a lot of the recommendations that were approved by cabinet and that groups like yourself had presented for years, and there was a consensus?

Mr Lompart: That's a very good question. I would have assumed that if something were cabinet-approved it is something they would be willing to bring forward in legislation. Certainly, it's not an easy issue to grasp. I think most of what it's in there is doable. I don't believe that we don't know enough to do something around it, and that's the approach I tried to take.

Mr Hodgson: Given that, why do you think they didn't do that? They had the same information you have, and you believe it's doable and it's approved by cabinet. Just your personal opinion, not representing your group or anything: Have you heard any discussion on it? Is there opposition some place to what was approved by cabinet?

Mr Lompart: Certainly there's opposition to what I've suggested. It would require more stringent standards and monitoring and enforcement, and I suppose the bottom line of that is dollars. All of those things added up results in hesitancy to implement that sort of approach. Monitoring, enforcement, more active regeneration are going to cost more dollars, but our position is that if you're willing to harvest it, you have to be willing to do the right job replacing it. I can only assume that that's a large factor in why it hasn't been appropriate.


Mr Gilles Bisson (Cochrane South): I have one question not related to your presentation and another related to your presentation.

In travelling northern Ontario we heard many representatives of industry and independent loggers and their association come before us and talk about the whole question of protected areas, and you've just touched on that. The feeling within those groups is that they very much see the growing trend of protecting certain areas in the forest as one that's encroaching on their particular part of the forest, taking more and more of the trees away from the availability of being cut and milled. The notion that was raised, to put it simply, was that environmental groups and tourist associations don't really have a stake in the forest because they don't really pay for the usage. When the government takes aside tracts of land to make them protected areas, it doesn't cost a naturalist anything and it doesn't cost the tourist operators anything, but they both benefit.

The notion they put forward is that somehow or other -- I don't know how you'd do it with naturalists, but certainly that tourist associations and their operators should pay a larger sum of money when it comes to those protected areas of land. Do you agree with that, and, if not, what are your comments?

Mr Lompart: I'm not opposed to a more user-pay approach. How that would be implemented is a very difficult question. In respect to provincial parks, a large number of the provincial parks already require entrance fees, a substantial amount of money going into the provincial coffers in that direction. There's also, just to add on top of that, a fair amount of spinoff to local communities from provincial parks. I can't remember the figures, but I believe it's in the hundreds of millions of dollars, which is quite substantial. Just because you set an area aside, from a purely monetary perspective it isn't a complete loss, and you have to remember that there are other reasons for setting areas aside as well.

Mr Bisson: I understand what you're saying. Of course we have to set aside pieces of land to make sure they're there for the enjoyment of future generations, and I think most of us understand that. But I think their complaint is that if you're a stakeholder in the forest and you don't stand to lose economically from a decision made by government, you're going to be pretty ambivalent about that decision. I think that's what their argument is. They're saying, "We're the forestry companies," or "We're the mining industry" in some cases, "and if you set aside particular pieces of land, it will affect our livelihood," yet you have environmentalists and naturalists and every other kind of "ist" out in the bush --


Mr Bisson: Well, it's a good way of putting it -- trying to protect the forest for the future to come, but they don't see you as a full-fledged stakeholder because you don't pay a fee. That's what I'm looking for.

Mr Lompart: I suppose my personal perspective would be that they're also gaining a lot more from the use of that resource and they're also impinging a lot more on the use of that resource by other people, and as such they should be a lot more responsible for paying for the resources they take.

Mr Wood: Thank you very much for coming forward. You've come forward with a lot of good recommendations and ideas for amendments and changes.

I just want to address one basic area, on the 25 hectares. The reason for that being there is that some independent loggers or small groups might not be able to come up with a plan of their own and MNR would be able to assist them to come up with a prescription, a plan, for that particular area for firewood or whatever. What is your opinion of that, with the explanation I've given?

Mr Lompart: I don't intend to overburden the small operators, but you say the MNR may help these people come up with a plan. Just make sure that plan is in place, whether it's with the MNR, or perhaps, in the case of a crown management unit or something, have the forester who's responsible for that management unit include in the plan possible areas where these smaller operators could operate and how they might operate.

I don't see that there's any need for harvesting anywhere on crown land that doesn't have some sort of plan, prescription, associated with it. In the case of a small operator, it's probably the responsibility of the ministry to place the small operator in the greater perspective and up to the ministry to come up with the greater plan and how this person fits in and what they should be possibly doing.

Mr Brown: Thanks for coming. The Federation of Ontario Naturalists has always been an important and significant voice in this province, and you're articulating its views well.

As we go through the issues, parks, for example, are an issue that comes up a lot. We've been facing tremendous pressure on provincial parks in the last few years; as you've noted, increased user fees. Eight parks were closed in the spring, with no notice. They almost closed 25 parks early this year. Those are single uses.

As we move to the commercial or industrial forest, as we know it -- I don't know what term you like, but I guess that's the area we're really debating in the crown forests these days -- it's a difficult concept for many of us because I think most of us understand it to be a multi-use area: that forestry can occur there but it has to occur there only in conjunction with a large number of other values. The difference is that we seem to be committing ourselves, and have over a long period of time, to silviculture, which is really agriculture for trees, I guess. How well we do that is what we're really here talking about, I think, at least in part.

Mr Lompart: Silviculture is the means by which you're trying to fulfil certain objectives. It's not an objective in itself.

Mr Brown: But with agriculture, the objective is to grow whatever, whether it's wheat or corn or whatever. Obviously in silviculture, the objective is to grow -- and that's the question: what, after you've harvested?

I've had difficulty, and I want your views on this. We talk about ecosystems, as if anybody knows what an ecosystem is; there are various definitions around. But the forest is a dynamic forest. It's changing all the time whether there are humans there or not. It's not easy to define in a specific period of time and say, "This is what it looks like now and what it will look like tomorrow," even if there's no human interference. I wondered if you could provide us with an ecosystem definition that would be helpful.

Mr Lompart: I think there is, actually, enough of an understanding in a practical sense to actually use ecosystems. If you look at some of the forest ecosystem classifications that are out there, I think that's a very real mechanism which can be used to determine what a specific ecosystem is. Essentially, what that does is look at the major tree species and the major soil and underbrush and put it into a certain classification. That will go through a typical succession for that ecosystem. You can guess what's going to happen over time with that so-called ecosystem. In that respect, you can manage it and you can direct your silvicultural techniques to redevelop that type of ecosystem.

Ecosystems do change and their precise boundaries can be debatable on different scales, but I believe there are mechanisms out there which deal on a scale which we would be more likely concerned with: on the management unit level, looking at closer to a stand level definition of ecosystems. I know that approach has been used on some timber management units already. It's not something that needs a lot -- it needs some more development but it's very close to a state where it can be used in a practical sense already. There are objectives for some timber management units based on these forest ecosystem classifications.

The Acting Chair: I'm sorry, but 30 minutes has already gone by. Thank you, Mr Lompart.



Mr Paul Tufford: Thank you very much for having me here this afternoon to speak to you. I guess you could say we're kind of the new kid on the block. We're part of an initiative the MNR has started out as part of its sustainable forestry program. There are four pilot projects, as was alluded to earlier in the presentations, Geraldton being one, 6/70 up in the Kapuskasing area, ourselves, and Wikwemikong.

We're not going to speak to the entire bill. We just have a couple of comments. One has been hit on by pretty well every speaker. That's either the definition of sustainability or the need for a definition of sustainability. In the definition of terms we did not notice any reference to sustainability at that point, and we feel there should be some reference in the act itself. Possibly something along the lines in section 8(2) where there's some reference made to land, soil, water, those types of things, might be appropriate. We're not necessarily prepared to offer a definition on our own. It's probably beyond us at this point in the game because we are a fledgling organization.

The act identifies a couple of different citizens' committees. Section 12 is the local citizens' committees, which are primarily advisory in nature from what we can determine, and then there are the forest management boards in section 62, which have both advisory and operational potential, with some delegated authority and things like that. We feel these are steps in the right direction, moving towards more public participation and a more proactive nature, that type of thing, which is essentially why we're in existence at this point in time.

However, there's no mention of community forests or community forestry, and we are part of the sustainable forestry program that's being run by the government right now. We feel this was an oversight, and we would like to tender that community forests be a third form of local management board or citizens' participation board, if you would.

The difference here is that the community forest would put itself forward as a committee as opposed to being appointed by the minister. We would put ourselves forward in the manner of preparing a formal plan, a business plan or a management plan. That would be submitted for review and approval, and at that stage of the game they could fire up and start on their way. We're looking at them as having some form of delegated authority. It would have to be granted on an incremental basis as the committee or the board demonstrated its competence in various areas, and it may seek areas of delegated authority over time. It would have to be set up such that it would not create an additional layer of bureaucracy but there may actually be a tradeoff from, say, the body responsible now being MNR to the community forest, somewhat similar to what forest management agreements have at this point in time.

The other thing we put forward is that the municipalities in the province would be a logical proponent and sponsor of said community forests. One of the notable things our membership has come up with is the lack of socioeconomic impact analyses for a lot of resource management planning. Municipalities, just by their mandate, actually build that into any planning they do, so that would be a logical extension of their mandate. They're positioned such that they have the organizational structure, particularly in rural areas, that they could provide that leadership and we could capitalize on their existing infrastructure for cost and time savings during startup.

We're also making presentation to the Municipal Act to suggest amendments that would permit municipalities to set up community forests in some guise, either as a committee of council or whatever, such that they could operate as part of the municipality.

There's been some concern mentioned about control being granted to a municipality and that the larger regional interests might be overlooked. We at the Elk Lake community forest have been operating for two and a half years. We have membership on our board from across the Timiskaming district. In the executive summary I've handed out, there's a breakdown of the interest groups we have and where those particular members come from. Although it's not perfect, we're working on it, we're getting there. As I said, it's a transitional thing; it has to develop over time.

Some of the other presenters have mentioned the need for the collection of data and those types of things as you move towards sustainable management. We've entered into a number of different projects with the local MNR, plus some on our own. A lot of these are aimed at data collection, development of inventories, updating of inventories. And with this, we're trying to apply some common sense. That's probably our forte, I guess you could say, because it's a group of local people who live and recreate in the area, and any decisions they make they have to live with, have to deal with. I don't think anybody is interested in working themselves out of a job or pursuing a particular activity that's going to harm the area and its ability to sustain the people and the ecology of the area.

I won't bother going through any of the things we're involved in; you've got that in front of you. There are also three larger packages, one for each party, that include a copy of our pilot project plan for your perusal. That's the sum total of what I have to say.

Mr Wood: Thank you for bringing forward your excellent presentation from the Elk Lake community forest. I know how proud you are of that, as I have the 6/70 community forest in my community and I'm well aware of the excellent work that the four pilot projects have developed and congratulate you on the work you've done.

Mr Tufford: Thank you.

Mr Wood: I'm looking at your pamphlet, in "A Brief History." "In May of 1991 the [then] Minister of Natural Resources, Bud Wildman, announced a comprehensive sustainable forestry program," and part of that was the four community forest projects.

You're saying that the four community pilot projects don't seem to be covered, but under "Miscellaneous," section 62, "The minister may establish forest management boards for such areas as are designated by the minister," which would be very similar to the minister, Bud Wildman, setting up the community forests, which involved a large number of volunteers coming forward and working as a working group. I just wanted to throw that out for you. Do you feel that would be sufficient?

Mr Tufford: The way we read it in the act, both section 12 and section 62 are permissive in nature; in other words, "the minister may establish." We would like to see community forests as an entity recognized in black and white, because it's always better when the name's there, and that the minister be obligated to entertain these submissions and review them, and if they have merit and are valid, the board could be set up. It would operate essentially very similar to a forest management board, the difference being that the community has taken the initiative. They've come forward, they've recognized the need to address the sustainability of the resources of their area, their livelihood and everything that goes with it.


We felt it was significant, some people may think it's subtle, but the critical part is the fact that the community can take that initiative, because that's true stewardship. If the community wakes up and says, "Hey, we're not going to wait for government to do it; we're going to take the bull by the horns and move ourselves" -- now, we still abide by provincial regulation and legislation etc, but we have a little bit of freedom to be innovative to make things work and not have to deal with maybe as large a bureaucratic structure as the MNR has to deal with now, which sometimes actually hampers some excellent ideas.

Mr Wood: There are a lot of developments that are taking place and have taken place over the last number of months and years. As we're speaking, I'm sure you're aware that the Bob Carman exercise that started some time ago is negotiating and coming up with some very favourable results that we'll hear more about in the next hours and days, I'm sure, and we'll probably hear more about it from some of the different participants in the Ontario Forest Industry Association as they come forward to make their presentation, and the Ontario Lumber Manufacturers Association. There's a lot of activity going on there.

I just wanted to get feedback from you about how you feel the public input has been out there. Has there been enough public input leading into Bill 171, or is the message getting out there? I know we're doing it through press conferences. There was a press conference here this morning. We're having public hearings. Are we doing enough?

Mr Tufford: I can only speak to it personally. I'm not a TV watcher. I live in a very small community. I work too many hours a day. It was by chance -- we were looking at making a submission anyway -- that our lawyer informed us that Bill 171 was in the hearing process. It was probably an oversight on our part, but we're fairly small-staffed and doing a million things. As some of the other presenters mentioned, it's a fairly tight time frame. Most things seem to be a fairly tight time frame.

The title of the act speaks to the fact that they're revising the Crown Timber Act. We didn't look at it as anything more than the fact that it's really a revision of the Crown Timber Act. We weren't trying to read too much more into it other than that you're thinking of it differently.

In terms of the potential for public input, I guess it could be argued either way. You could do it for a year and you still wouldn't have enough. You've got to draw a line somewhere.

Mr Wood: Your name came up in Fort Frances that you wanted to make a presentation, and the committee unanimously said, "Yes, let's get him on the list and hear the things he has to say."

Mr Tufford: We greatly appreciate the short turnaround.

Mr Miclash: Thanks for your presentation. As the parliamentary assistant was saying, we're quite interesting in section 12 in terms of citizens' committees. Throughout the past two weeks, we have certainly received a good amount of input into what they should be comprised of, mandate, and things they should be looking at.

You've indicated three different groups here, that section 12 refers to the citizens' committees, your group, the community forest, and you've also mentioned municipal councils. How do you see all three interacting to come up with some productive material, I guess some productive logical output?

Mr Tufford: We mentioned municipalities because the Elk Lake community forest operates as a committee of council. We're really stretching the rules, but for the term of the pilot project it was deemed we could do it. That's why we're making a presentation for an amendment to the Municipal Act, and also in the interest across the province of anybody in the future who would care to pursue it this way, so the community forest or forest management board, whatever you want to call them, would operate conceivably as a committee of council.

In a given area within the province, you may have a local citizens' committee and not have a community forest because there may be a very large industrial interest. We are in a relatively unique situation. There are four crown management units where we're located, and numerous small industrial operators and numerous tourist operators etc in the area. Those are the types of people we've brought together and that we see, for that type of situation, working and providing us with potential for some economic diversification, stabilization and paying some attention to the various aspects of the forest resource that should be maintained to provide ourselves and our children with opportunities.

There may be other areas, Fort Frances where Boise works, where you may only have a local citizens' committee that sits and that may not only advise the minister but may be working with the company itself in the development of its plans and those types of things. That may be a possibility. It would be somewhat difficult, I think, to get a forest management board. It would have to be a fairly unique composition in an area like that, where you have a forest management agreement that's already in place.

Mr Murdoch: Thank you for your presentation. I happened to be up in Kapuskasing a while ago, and in the community forest there they showed me what they were doing. I thought it was a good idea. I'd like to compliment the government for starting these projects up, because I think that's a step in the right direction.

I just noticed your mission statement, "To promote the continued economic viability of local communities that depend on the area for their livelihood through the implementation of sustainable forestry practices." Does this bill help you out with that statement or not? I've heard a lot today about sustainable forestry practices, and it doesn't seem to be in the bill.

Mr Tufford: It goes back to common sense again. We've looked at things. As I've listed further on in here, we've been involved in a number of data collection projects, anywhere from updating forest resource inventories to wildlife habitat inventories to cultural and heritage inventories. We've got a resource management field worker training program where we've hired 16 people. Four of those are trained technicians, and they are training 12 other people in various aspects of resource management. To a degree it's grunt work but work that needs to be done for an intensive management of certain areas, that part of the feedback loop for any management activities: You know what you have out there so you've got that baseline to move from or to come back to or whatever.

The act is essentially one aspect of it. You have a fisheries act, you have a new wildlife strategy, those types of things. There's a number of differing pieces of legislation and policy that we feel we can pick and choose from or whatever and try and incorporate together in an innovative way.

The advantage we have is that a lot of our focus is public education. You can legislate people to death and they're just going to dig in their heels, but if you sell the local population on what you're doing, that "You have to change your logging technique," or "You have to stay away from this lake for these reasons," people will buy into it because it makes sense. Then you start moving the yardsticks and then you start making it easier to achieve that sustainability because you're not getting into those areas of conflict where everybody is fighting for the same piece of pie. They understand why they can't have that piece of pie and somebody else can have it, and then they can shift their focus and their activities.

Mr Murdoch: I certainly agree with your common sense. That's why we have put forward a paper called the Common Sense Revolution, and I'm sure you'd agree with that. I found that up north, when I was up there, that most people agreed with me and said that that's what they need coming from government, which they've lacked over the last 10 years; there hasn't been much common sense. So I thank you for your presentation.

The Acting Chair: Thank you, Mr Tufford.



Mr Alan Roy: My name is Alan Roy. I'm the environment director for the Union of Ontario Indians, representing the Anishinabek nation. My apologies for Chief Roy Michano this afternoon. He was not able to fly down from Thunder Bay to make the presentation.

The Anishinabek nation is an organization made up of 41 Ojibway first nations in Ontario around the Great Lakes, from Thunder Bay to Ottawa, from Sudbury to Sarnia. Many of our treaties maintain our rights and interests on crown land to include such uses as fishing, hunting, trapping, plant gathering and forestry. Many of our first nations are involved in logging operations as third parties within company/industry FMAs. None of our first nations have first-party agreements or actual FMAs with the Ontario government. All our lands have essentially been given away to forestry corporations.

The native issues involved in review of this act: Our chiefs have noticed that the revised Crown Timber Act makes reference to first nations in only two sections. Section 5 is a standard non-derogation clause for treaty and aboriginal rights. The second, section 20, provides for agreements with first nations for joint exercise of any authority of the minister in relation to company work schedules, forestry management plans and recordkeeping. It's really consultation after the fact of an allocation.

The Anishinabek needs are the following:

For first nations to have a stake in conservation, a substantive voice in the protection of aboriginal and treaty rights and a vested interest in consultation, first nations require their own FMAs in order to practice a custodial responsibility for the forests while making their own economic opportunity.

Third-party agreements with the forest industry are only temporary arrangements in the transition for first nations to manage their own treaty lands in conjunction with the Ontario government for forestry operations.

Nothing in this act facilitates that transition to comanagement and economic independence. Section 20 only refers to after-the-fact allocations and token consultation. Without our own forestry economic base, Anishinabek cannot retain the foresters, planners, analysts and other technical resources that would make real comanagement with the Ontario government feasible on our lands.

I'm going to add something that's not in the brief. There are 23 land claims at present under the Indian Commission of Ontario. There are dozens more that have been researched and are ready for negotiation. There's nothing in this act that will guarantee the integrity of the forests, the diversity and the ecosystems that would reflect a healthy forest when it comes time for those land claim settlements. Those land claim settlements will cover most of the crown lands in Ontario eventually, and you realize that most of the crown land in Ontario is already allocated to industry under FMAs.

The issue of sustainability:

The definition of crown land under section 20 requires a specific definition of sustainability in relation to those forests. The Anishinabek require a definition that will guarantee a multiple use of our forest crown lands and will reflect feasible sustainability of that forest. For this reason we endorse the following definition put forward by environmental groups in Ontario and expect such a definition to be included in the act. That definition has also flowed from the five-year involvement of ourselves in drafting the Wild Life Strategy for Ontario -- something that wasn't translated into an act, by the way.

We have included an ecosystem-based definition of sustainability as it would apply to forest management. This definition, and variant of it, must be the basis of the act or it will not and cannot be relied upon by the people of Ontario to ensure that our forests are conserved for future generations. The definition, as I read it, would be the following:

The forest within each forest management unit in Ontario must be managed in such a way that all wildlife species, forest age classes, and plant species associations are maintained at levels that reflect the natural forest in that are or region. In addition, all harvesting of resources must occur at a rate that will provide for a long-term continuous flow of all products associated with the forest within that management unit.

There has to be a clear message in the act that past forestry cutting operations must change substantially in order to support sustainability principles.

In the evidence placed in front of the class environmental assessment timber management panel of the Ontario Environmental Assessment Board from the Forests for Tomorrow group, they reviewed that evidence and close to a thousand colour photo slides on current industry operating procedures in our forests. Many of those slides documented company practices that lead to degradation of our forests, under the following headings: large clear-cutting; cutting to water edges; soil erosion; litter; poor regeneration; propagation of monoculture forests, and others.

Those past practices by companies in Ontario proceeded under FMAs. They proceeded under plans that were approved by the Ontario government. The inventories that were done after that, after the fact, in review of those FMAs, showed that there was degradation of the forests, showed that there was more timber being harvested than was being regenerated. We do not see sufficient control measures nor an attitude towards serious custodial commitments to our forests that will guarantee sustainability in the long term in this revised act.

Interpretation of cutting operation plans: The emphasis of the cutting guidelines is clearly deferred to regulations in the act. Such regulations can be lengthy, complex and subject to various parties' interpretations. First nations will not have the human resources nor the inclination to involve themselves in such an examination, given that the act does not project serious sustainability principles and will allow for multiple interpretations under those regulations. Section 26 even refers to provisions for a company to clear-cut up to 24 hectares each year, presumably indefinitely, without a plan. It is one thing to exempt a plan on a small area. It is quite another thing to give carte blanche to an area chosen and guidelines for cutting on that area.

In summary, the Anishinabek expect the following:

-- A realistic definition of sustainability, such as I've given you in my presentation.

-- Recognition of multiple use of our forests. The industry is not the only one in there, and this act should allow for other considerations.

-- Recognition of our aboriginal needs for FMAs.

-- Provision of resources for our meaningful involvement in comanagement of our forests on crown land with the Ontario government.

-- Clearer direction to companies to change their present cutting practices and subscribe to sustainable, long-term forests, reflecting ecosystem principles.

I'll add one more: Make the future revised act accountable to the Environmental Bill of Rights. As you know, the Environmental Bill of Rights only covered the old timber management act, and there would have to be something revised to make it accountable to this new legislation that's coming out in Ontario.


Mr Brown: Thank you, and my regards to Chief Joe Hare, who is one of my constituents.

Mr Roy: He's just getting used to his new job.

Mr Brown: We've heard quite a bit about the definition of sustainability. Certainly your group is not the first to raise this issue, and we appreciate very much you providing us with your preferred definition of sustainability. I think you addressed this question in your brief, but maybe you could expand upon it. I've been asking groups: Given your own definition of sustainability, applying that to the act we see before us and the regulations we see and the manuals we see, do you believe the government is actually going to achieve sustainability through this act?

Mr Roy: No. I think too that if the practice of a company or even its plan was challenged in court, a judge would have a great deal of difficulty interpreting what is sustainability and what is not, under the legislation. I don't think it would be enforceable for MNR and I don't think it would be enforceable under a challenge in the courts, the way it's written now.

Mr Brown: We have another problem with definition in this bill that maybe you could help us with. That's the ecosystem definition, which seems a little lacking. One of the problems we face here is that in many of Ontario's forests this is not the first time there'd be cutting done; we're often looking at second cuts, sometimes even third cuts of the forest. The problem is identifying what that forest might look like if none of that intrusion had happened and what kind of ecosystem therefore we're trying to regenerate.

For example, we may have a forest that is now primarily poplar and birch, and the reason it's now primarily poplar and birch is that somebody at some point had clear-cut the jack pine, for example, and therefore the regeneration, the natural regeneration in that case, ends up being poplar and birch. Can you give us some idea of where your organization fits on those kinds of issues?

Mr Roy: From a scientific background, we would say the way we would relate to "ecosystem" is biodiversity principles and multiple use of the forest. From our own cultural perspective, we would expect the forest to sustain the multiple uses we would expect to get out of it and reflect a healthy forest; that is, reflect biodiversity in the animals, the plants and the trees as well as protecting the aquatic systems, which is really what we strove for when we drafted the Wild Life Strategy for Ontario.

I don't think you can take forests back to the turn of the century, and I don't think we expect that. There are ways, though, to cut the forest which can actually facilitate biodiversity. I don't see it here because I don't think this act looks at that; I think this act looks at a way of getting the logs out of the bush without disturbing the status quo that much. The whole way this act is written doesn't really change the status quo.

Mr Brown: Some presenters have said to us that what we have here is that what somebody has done with this act is go through the act and every time you should say "timber" they are now saying "forest," and that makes it all seem right. Is that your view?

Mr Roy: Yes.

Mr Brown: So we just have a revised timber act -- maybe a new, improved one, so the parliamentary assistant doesn't get excited -- but what we have is a timber act rather than a forest management act.

Mr Roy: I actually got the impression that in the old act there was actually more of a requirement to look at the plans from a sustainability point of view.

Mr Bisson: Under the old act?

Mr Roy: Under the old act.

Mr Miclash: Thank you for your presentation. As you will know, we heard from Chief Kakeway and Chief Wilson in Fort Frances as well on some different aspects of what they saw in terms of this act as it was going to affect them in northwestern Ontario.

You've indicated that none of our first nations have first-party agreements or FMAs with the Ontario government. Could you maybe elaborate on why not?

Mr Roy: I'll speak specifically within my own territory, the Anishinabek. I'm thinking now of those first nations along the north shore of Lake Superior, those along the north shore of Lake Huron. They got into the forestry business 30 years ago on very tiny cutting operations, and there's really no land available to apply for a licence in a particular area except for some small crown land management areas maintained by MNR for the Ontario government. Most of the land is already granted in 20-year FMAs, so if we're going to get into the logging business and we approach a company, we'll get maybe 8,000, 15,000, 20,000 cord cuts a year and it'll be usually in areas where it's difficult to build the roads and the timber isn't that good, first of all. So we have experience, but we've never been able to get into a large logging operation because those licences were never available to us. There was never, for instance, a principle of right of first refusal if a licence became available.

We always talk about making first nations independent, giving them the economic opportunity. ONAS has brought out papers in this province which talk about economic opportunity and the right of first nations to have their own economic opportunities and independence, but in fact we've never had a crack at FMA, not within my area anyway. It's always these little third-party agreements, and we're at the whim of the companies. We certainly are not part of the planning picture.

Mr Hodgson: Thank you for coming before us today. You mentioned that the bill enshrines the status quo, or maybe a step backwards. The old Crown Timber Act had what was referred to as sustainable yield criteria for any plans. The status quo, though, in terms of the purposes section of the bill and the press announcements, was that sustainability was to sustain not only the forest and the timber coming from the forest in perpetuity, and the ecosystem -- it's going to sustain that as well -- but it's also going to sustain jobs in the northern communities, in the economic communities. What you're suggesting is that FMAs be changed: The configuration of the jobs would be changed, but the number would remain the same?

Mr Roy: No, I don't think it would. Anyway, the operations we run are always labour-intensive. We can't invest in technology the way the companies do. Essentially, our operations are non-profit and whatever money is made on the operations goes back into the communities. The primary objective of our operations is employment, to get people off welfare and get them working. Our whole motivation for getting into the logging industry is twofold. It's to get jobs for people in the small communities, but also to have something to do with what's happening in the forest. And it's the kind of work that our people like to do.

Mr Hodgson: You have been involved, I assume, in preparation of the manuals in the study groups that have gone on in the past. You mentioned the Wild Life Strategy for Ontario. Why wasn't that included in this act? Have you been given any answers to that?

Mr Roy: For the Wild Life Strategy for Ontario, that five-year exercise, we specifically went to Howard and asked him, why put the emphasis on a forestry bill? Why not put out something that covers the whole ecosystem? They had already drafted the bill at that point and it clearly was an emphasis after the class assessment on forestry to follow up and put something in legislation.

I don't understand what happened. It happened very quickly and it happened without consultation with any first nation. If Willie Wilson and myself are the only two who are here, it's not indicative; there are at least 25 groups in Ontario that could have come before you representing aboriginal groups. We were not consulted and we were not part of developing the manuals. We weren't asked even about the two clauses that specifically relate to aboriginals. We were never approached on those clauses and we were never approached on a definition of sustainability. There was no consultation.


Mr Wood: Thank you for your presentation. In the area I represent, Cocos Lake and New Post are two drive-in reserves, and both the chiefs, Chief Archibald and Chief Spence, have been involved in the public consultation and discussion and they've been negotiating contracts. I think the latest one they negotiated was about $300 million back to them over an 80-year period for the Shekak power plant. New Post has contracts for tree planting and harvesting, and they've been quite actively involved with myself and Howard Hampton in the discussions.

I was under the impression that you were involved in the drafting of the manuals in July on the first or second draft.

Mr Roy: No. We went to the information orientation session at the airport and the manuals were sent to us, but I have no resources in my operation. I'm alone, and there are a lot of other things that are impacting on us at the same time. We've never had any funding to even work in the environment. I'm a health officer working for the Union of Ontario Indians. Environment is my second hat; that's not funded. We just didn't have the resources to get into it, and we didn't have the inclination either, given the basic bill that sets the tone for the regulations.

By the way, the first nations you're referring to under the Nishnawbe-Aski have a separate agreement that sprang from the class environmental assessment which provides for a consultation before allocations are made. We don't have that in Treaty 3 or we don't have it within the Anishnawbek around the Great Lakes or in southern Ontario.

Mr Wood: There's no doubt that there's a lot out there on the plate, especially in the last three, four or five years, especially with the environmental assessment that came to a conclusion. It made a lot of very good recommendations that we've wholeheartedly adopted and accepted in terms of the structure and makeup of local committees, the involvement of using forestry and the ecosystem for sustainability into the future.

I know the Chair is going to cut me off, but I'm pleased with the definition of sustainability you've come forward with. I think it's something we can work with. We put the question to them, "What is your definition of sustainability?" and they're saying, "Well, I don't want to define it right now." There's no doubt in your minds, you have defined it, and I appreciate your coming forward with that definition.

Mr Bisson: Thank you for coming forward and being fairly clear on a definition of sustainability. Of those we've heard, it's not a bad one. I think it tries to encompass what we're looking at in the bill. I appreciate that, because that's one of the questions this committee has been wrestling with. We're trying to come down to what's an actual definition that we can come back to in a little while.

I just want to clarify two things you said and then get into the biggest issue, which is how we deal with first nations in terms of not only comanagement but the ability of native people to have an economic base on which to operate their governments and provide for their people.

The first thing is on section 26, where you said people would be allowed to harvest up to 25 hectares without having a forest management agreement. You should be aware -- and if you're not I'd like to clarify -- that that is meant for non-commercial operations. It's meant for things like fuel wood permits, possibly developments that may be happening in the area.

Mr Roy: I didn't know that. Thank you very much.

Mr Bisson: The question I'd have later on that is, should it be smaller?

The other thing is that you talked about the bill being unenforceable, and I thought that needed to have some mention. As you understand, in this legislation you'd sign an agreement with the crown as you do under the Crown Timber Act presently, and by virtue of signing that agreement you spell out what it is you're going to be doing as an operator, what you intend to do in terms of not only how you approach cutting the trees but also when it comes to reforesting. That is fully enforceable through the laws; the bill is fairly specific in how it deals with that. If we've heard one criticism, it's been that under section 61 it's maybe a little too enforceable, in the view of some.

I want to get to the biggest issue, because I think that's the one, quite frankly, that your people need to deal with and we need to deal with. That is the question of not only comanagement but -- you made the comment a little while ago, and it's true, that currently in Ontario most of the wood that's available for harvest has been already divvied out -- I'll use that term -- to forestry companies over a period of 60, 70, 80 years. I was in northwestern Ontario with the committee last week and we're aware of situations where native people have a sawmill within their community and can't get any wood.

How do you go from here? If you're Boise Cascade or you're Malette Lumber or you're Abitibi and you have an FMA, you'll say: "We have tender to that forest. We won it fair and square." That's the way they see it, pardon the pun. How do you at this point go about trying to make sure that first nations people have access to the forests for their economic development?

Mr Roy: You could do it two different ways. You could do it within the act, or you could do it within a policy framework. But essentially, within given management areas in Ontario, you could sign memoranda of understanding with first nations on a comanagement format that would look at allocation before the fact.

Mr Bisson: Of existing FMAs or new areas of harvest? That's where I'm not clear, because we can do that under this act. We can enter into an agreement with first nations people to develop a particular area for their economic wellbeing. But the question I have is, as most of this forest is already divvied out, how do you deal with the existing forest companies and how do you divvy that back?

Mr Roy: Some of that land eventually is going to have to become available either on right of first refusal on a licence or a reduction of the land by 10% each year -- or something; I don't know how the Ontario government will accomplish it. But when that happens, I believe first nations should have a comanagement structure where they should be able to talk about allocation with the Ontario government and shift the allocation over to first nations, partially.

Mr Bisson: From existing operators?

Mr Roy: Yes.

Mr Bisson: Not easy to do.

Mr Roy: No, it's very difficult. That's true of fishing licences, trapping licences and a number of other things in the forest. That's the challenge.

Mr Bisson: Are your different band councils and leadership talking now within northern Ontario to various companies about how you make that happen, to try to sensitize them?

Mr Roy: Yes. The discussions are not going well. There's an obvious example in the Wawa area. There's a new hardboard mill going up. There is no action whatsoever in relation to first nations in the area supplying fibre to that mill. There is just nothing. Those discussions are going nowhere. That's one of the reasons why Chief Michano wanted to come here today.

The Acting Chair: Thank you very much, Mr Roy.

That concludes our meeting this afternoon. I want to remind you that we are meeting tomorrow morning at 10 o'clock.

The committee adjourned at 1619.