Wednesday 31 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

Canadian Environmental Law Association

Michelle Swenarchuk, executive director

Ontario Chamber of Commerce

Joe Couto, policy coordinator

Wilberforce Veneer

Yvonne Shamash, general manager

Broland Enterprises Inc; Ontario Silvicultural Contractors Association

Grant Brodeur, president, Broland Enterprises and president, OSCA

Structural Board Association

John Lowood, president

Jagdish Nautiyal

Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters

Terry Quinney, provincial coordinator, fish and wildlife services

Gary Bull

Algoma Country Adventures

J.J. Hilsinger, representative


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

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

Arnott, Ted (Wellington PC)

*Dadamo, George (Windsor-Sandwich ND)

Grandmaître, Bernard (Ottawa East/-Est L)

Johnson, David (Don Mills PC)

*Mammoliti, George (Yorkview ND)

*Mills, Gordon (Durham East/-Est ND)

Morrow, Mark (Wentworth East/-Est ND)

Sorbara, Gregory S. (York Centre L)

Wessenger, Paul (Simcoe Centre ND)

White, Drummond (Durham Centre ND)

*In attendance / présents

Substitutions present / Membres remplaçants présents:

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

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

MacKinnon, Ellen (Lambton ND) for Mr White

Miclash, Frank (Kenora L) for Mr Sorbara

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

Runciman, Robert W. (Leeds-Grenville PC) for Mr Arnott

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 1001 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 Vice-Chair (Mr Hans Daigeler): Good morning, ladies and gentlemen. We're continuing the hearings on Bill 171. I should say that, by popular demand, we are putting the Vice-Chair back into the chair, as long as my voice holds out reasonably well. If not, perhaps Mr Morin will be so kind as to chair again, but I'll give it a try. Of course, as Chairman I like to say as little as possible anyway, but please excuse my voice.

The first presenter this morning is Michelle Swenarchuk from the Canadian Environmental Law Association. You have half an hour, and if you'd leave some time for questions and answers, we'd appreciate that. Please go right ahead.

Ms Michelle Swenarchuk: I also have a voice problem this morning. Good morning. I'm a lawyer and executive director of Canadian Environmental Law Association. I think it will take me about 15 minutes to go through the brief.

CELA, as you may not know, is an environmental law clinic funded by the Ontario legal aid plan. Our mandate includes representation of environmental groups and low-income individuals affected by environmental problems, and engaging in law reform and public education.

We provided counsel, myself and Mr Lindgren, for Forests for Tomorrow, which was the environmental coalition which went all the way through the timber environmental assessment, and we've been involved in numerous forest-related cases and law reform efforts in addition.

We joined with other groups in this brief which was filed with you, The Crown Forest Sustainability Act: Making it Reflect a Commitment to Sustainability. We believe it outlines basic changes needed to give Bill 171 a semblance of usefulness to the forest environment. We're not supporters of this bill.

Even with these changes, the act would fall far short of what is needed in Ontario and what modern forest management entails. However, the adoption of our proposed changes, drafted from stated government policy, as reflected in that brief, would demonstrate an intention on the part of the government to make this bill more than what we consider it to be, which is a public relations exercise.

I want to talk now about what we think forest sustainability would actually entail.

Any modern concept of sustainability of forests incorporates, as did the Ontario Forest Policy Panel report, the fundamental premise that all elements of the forest must be sustained.

There are many ways of saying this. We speak of timber and non-timber values; or of conservation of biodiversity; or of stewardship of the forest for all the values within it, including wildlife, aesthetics, tourism, spiritual values, non-consumptive and consumptive recreation, conservation of air, water and soil, and logging.

In brief, any modern concept of sustainability of forests recognizes two broad categories of forest values to humans: timber and non-timber values, or economic and ecological values. This bill does not provide for sustainability of either category of forest value. It is skewed towards the status quo: short-term profits for industry through the depletion of commercial forest species.

Let's look now at what it does with regard to sustainability of the timber resource.

With respect to timber extraction, sustainability legislation requires a frank recognition of the fundamental issue: What level of logging can be sustained in perpetuity? What level does not exceed the level of wood the forest can produce? The immediate corollary question then becomes, what methods of logging and regeneration should we use to sustain both the timber and non-timber values of our forests?

This act clearly does not grapple with this question. It fails to include a definition of sustainability, and eliminates the definition of "sustained yield" which currently exists in subsection 6(2) of the Crown Timber Act. Although flawed and inadequate, that definition did relate the permissible level of the annual cut on the FMAs to the biological capacity of the forest.

Studies for Forests for Tomorrow, based on MNR's wood projections, as well as other MNR reports, point to impending wood supply problems in various parts of the province, and we've listed a number of those reports. However, section 26 of Bill 171, rather than requiring a sustainable level of cut, establishes that each forest management plan will specify "the amount...available for harvesting." This amounts to no requirement for sustainability whatever.

The draft regulations under the act -- the latest we received, which are dated August 1, 1994 -- and the draft Forest Operations and Silviculture Manual similarly contain no sustainability commitment. Section 1.1.3 of the manual, entitled "Achieving Sustainability of Crown Forests in Ontario" is an excellent example of MNR bafflegab. Propagandistic in style, lacking in substance, and failing to even mention the issue of harvest levels, it provides no standards or benchmarks for the achievement of sustainability.

Instead, it indicates that Ontario forest management will be amended to comply with federal government initiatives to certify products for export. These efforts are irrelevant, totally irrelevant, to the determination of sustainability in Ontario. After years of public consultation in Ontario on forest policy, it is unacceptable that the government is seeking another excuse for failing to face the real issue.

We therefore strongly urge the Ontario government to amend the act to require, as specified in our collective brief, that the level of harvest be set to provide a non-declining flow of volume of each harvested forest resource in perpetuity. This standard should apply to each species harvested, with a permissable fluctuation in the amount of the flow of plus or minus 10%.

Successive governments of Ontario have a long history of promoting an unsustainable level of logging in this province. By continuing this pattern, the act fails to provide for the sustainability of the timber resource.

Let's look now at what it says with regard to sustainability of non-timber resources.

In the past, and up to the 1980s, forest managers spoke of managing wildlife in the forest and developed policies focused on production of fish and game species, with little regard for other species. In Ontario, we continue to base wildlife management on production of moose and deer habitat, with some attention to habitat for game fish. It's been estimated that Ontario's present approach ignores approximately 99% of the species of flora and fauna which exist in the province.

However, a modern approach to forest management, including that proposed by the Ontario Forest Policy Panel, concentrates on conservation of biodiversity, using landscape management and concern for conservation of forest ecosystems overall. This act contains no such modern thinking, and does not even reflect current practice of requiring some attention to habitat for some species. It merely says that forest managers, in preparing plans, shall "have regard to the plant life, animal life" etc. Similarly, a minister may approve a plan and find that it provides for sustainability -- which is undefined -- of the forest by merely "having regard to" some issues.

It should be noted that similar language, "have regard for," is currently being removed by the Ontario government from the Planning Act because it is too vague and doesn't provide sufficient protection for environmental values. It therefore has no place in Bill 171.

Forest management requires that we plan the use of all the forest resources in an integrated fashion and not merely plan for timber extraction with some minor "regard" for other values. The scientific community and forward-looking forestry community -- including some field people within MNR -- are far beyond that in 1994. Non-timber values must be seen as worthy of protection and production in their own right and not merely as constraints to timber production.

The US National Forest Management Act, passed in 1974, provides a precedent that could have been adapted to Ontario needs, together with the lessons learned in its implementation over 20 years.

Numerous prominent Canadian foresters, including Gordon Baskerville of the University of New Brunswick, have criticized MNR's backward approach and lack of integrated forest management. To have wording like this in legislation proposed in 1994 is shocking. The old Crown Timber Act had no pretensions; it only dealt with timber. The government should acknowledge that despite the years of consultation and environmental assessment, it is not about to move to forest management and that Bill 171 is about timber management in the old style.

Nor can we rely on the manuals to correct this deficiency. The Forest Operations and Silviculture Manual includes a section on biodiversity and standards for forest management activities. The biodiversity section includes a reasonable definition of it, but no commitment to manage for conservation of biodiversity and no measurable benchmarks or indicators. Incredibly, the section entitled "Standards for Forest Management Activities" includes no standards. It merely recites that familiar list of MNR manuals and provides no standard that the public can actually enforce or rely upon.

That old-style timber management plans will be deemed to be forest management plans under this act, section 69, will not make them so. However, it may well stop any progress being made by forward-looking MNR employees, working without the support of their senior management, to move in that direction.


I want to talk now about silvicultural funding and practices.

We're among the groups in Ontario who support requiring the forest industry to assume more of the costs of silviculture. However, it's impossible to evaluate whether the move to create the forest renewal trust and forestry futures trust actually achieves that goal. The government has given the public no information about the structure and management of the trust funds.

If revenues that would otherwise accrue to the crown, for example from stumpage and area charges, are put into trust funds for silviculture, the public has still lost the use of these revenues from forest operations for the creation of public services and payment of the provincial debt, and the forest industry has not paid more.

Further, CELA and other groups have urged the government to impose and enforce silvicultural standards on the industry even if regeneration costs are transferred to them. This would include more use of logging methods other than large-area clear-cutting. This act and the regulations under it impose no regeneration standards. At a minimum, the act should provide for accountability of the trusts -- these are very important trusts -- to the Legislature and not just to the Minister of Natural Resources.

Enforcement provisions:

We are pleased to see that the MNR has been provided with the authority under the bill to issue stop orders or remedial orders. However, we remain concerned about the MNR's willingness to actually use this authority, particularly in light of its questionable enforcement track record in forestry-related contraventions. We therefore recommend that subsection 53(3) be amended to permit the minister "or any resident of Ontario" to apply to court for remedial relief. Sections 52 and 54 should be similarly amended to provide the minister or Ontario residents with the ability to go to court to seek injunctive or mandatory relief. In fact, we're surprised to see that these sections, as drafted, fail to provide the ability to go to court to seek appropriate relief where a person fails to comply with MNR orders.

We note that section 78 of Bill 171 repeals the Crown Timber Act. Significantly, the Crown Timber Act is scheduled as a statute to which the Environmental Bill of Rights applies, and we're recommending that the government move to ensure that this act, if passed, also be covered by the EBR.

We see section 56 of this bill, which permits licence cancellation, as rather a paper tiger, since the MNR, to our knowledge, has never cancelled or revoked a forest management agreement. Nevertheless, if the MNR actually took that extraordinary step, we believe there should be an opportunity for public involvement in that process.

We have reviewed the provisions of section 61 regarding offences and note that while the maximum fines look impressive, in reality fines rarely approach the maximum even for serious contraventions. We're recommending that minimum fines also be implemented in the act, in the order of about $25,000.

Let's look now at public participation in forest management, about which much has been said and written in this province in the last 10 years.

A hallmark of modern management of public resources is the creation of opportunities for public participation and sharing of information with the public. Nothing defeats this approach as readily as unenforceable laws and retention of bureaucratic discretion. This act exemplifies the latter approach in such provisions as:

-- The absence of definitions of sustainability and the absence of enforceable standards.

-- The retention of the minister's discretion to approve plans without legislated standards.

-- The inclusion of an appeal structure regarding forest management plan approval in section 11 of the act which will not in fact be put in place, according to commentary which accompanies the draft regulations.

-- A section enabling regulations pertaining to independent audits of industry compliance, something that all of us really want. However, no such regulations will be drafted, again according to commentary accompanying the draft regulations.

-- Again, the "Remedies and Enforcement" sections which permit enforcement actions for environmentally damaging practices only if the minister considers that damage has been done.

As I say, we were counsel to Forests for Tomorrow throughout the timber environmental assessment. The MNR maintained throughout those protracted hearings that it was seeking an approval for timber management planning. Despite our objections and those of others, and despite having previously written four draft environmental assessment documents for forest management, the MNR abandoned forest management and proceeded to obtain an approval for an undertaking called timber management.

If the MNR now wants to call its approach forest management, we question whether the approval the ministry obtained is sufficient to cover such a change, particularly given the narrow and conservative basis of the decision by the Environmental Assessment Board. This confusion is ironic, given that the ministry in fact merely intends to continue its timber management approach and merely change its name. However, the legal confusion is real.

Given all of these deficiencies and lack of substance in Bill 171 -- I guess you'll have concluded that we're not big fans -- we do not support its passage. We are concerned that it may stop any useful initiatives currently being undertaken by MNR's more forward-looking staff and will make further forestry legislative reform more difficult in the future.

We urge the government to withdraw this bill, make a commitment to real sustainable forestry, and present legislation that would mandate that necessary reform. Thank you.

Mr Michael A. Brown (Algoma-Manitoulin): Thank you for coming. You have presented us with a lot of food for thought. We agree that this is a public relations exercise, as you've pointed out, and other presenters have gone so far as to call the title a fraud. If we were to consider this a timber management bill, not a forest management bill but a timber management bill -- which I think it is; good or bad, that's what it is -- would you see this as an improvement over the present Crown Timber Act or a regressive step?

Ms Swenarchuk: I think it's a regressive step. The only thing that's of use, really, in evaluating sustainability in the Crown Timber Act is that definition of sustained yield. We argued during the timber environmental assessment that MNR's approach to timber management does not comply with that act. I have the sneaking suspicion that maybe that's why the definition's gone now. There's nothing in this act that I feel would improve timber management in the province.

We all know we don't get a lot of chances for legislative reform in any particular sector, and we really are concerned that if this act is passed now, this is going to be it for the next, what, 10 years, 20 years. The Crown Timber Act has been around for a long time. We just don't think it should go forward.

Mr Frank Miclash (Kenora): You indicated, "The legal confusion is real," in your brief. I'm wondering if you could expand on the conflict you see between the class EA and Bill 171.

Ms Swenarchuk: Let's go back a little bit. This was my first reaction when I saw this act, and it's the section that is going to deem timber management plans to be forest management plans.

There's a long history here. The Environmental Assessment Act was passed in 1975. Between that time and 1985, four drafts of an environmental assessment document for forest management -- if you think about the Crown Timber Act, there still is mention of forest management in that act, and we have forest management agreements in the province. Four drafts of an EA called "forest management" were produced by MNR. Environmentalists and other people said: "This is much too narrow. It's not really forest management. It looks more like timber management." So the fifth one they produced and amended and took through the hearing was called "timber management," and they explicitly rejected arguments from us and others and evidence throughout the hearing that we need to move to forest management in the province, meaning integrated management of all resources on a given piece of land.


They rejected that and they got their approval for timber management. They explicitly did not want and did not get an approval for forest management, and MNR did not support the kinds of approaches of various of us in the hearing to get even conditions of approval that would move towards forest management. They said, "No, it's timber management." So that's what they're now able to do. Now they simply say, "We're going to do forest management because we're going to call them all forest management plans."

It's very difficult to figure out what a court would do with that if one of us went to court and said: "Excuse me. If MNR is now doing forest management, it has to get an environmental assessment approval and do it properly." Explaining all the ins and outs of forest and timber management to a court would not be an easy thing to do, but that was my first reaction when I saw the act: They don't have an approval for forest management, and I think that's a problem.

The Vice-Chair: Mr Hodgson's next.

Mr Chris Hodgson (Victoria-Haliburton): Thank you very much, Mr Chair. It's a pleasure to see you back with your voice.

The Vice-Chair: Not quite, but it's getting there.

Mr Hodgson: I'd like to follow up. Thank you very much for your presentation. It's excellent. This legal confusion was mentioned yesterday by Marie Rauter of the Ontario Forest Industries Association --

Ms Swenarchuk: Yes, I thought they might have some concern.

Mr Hodgson: -- that maybe they don't have the mandate.

I would just like to go back. Correct me if I'm wrong, but the impression I had of this act was that it enabled us to move in the future towards managing a forest as a whole because, in recognition of what you said, you only get one crack at it every 15 or 20 years to get forestry on the legislative agenda at Queen's Park. Do you not agree with that, that this act would enable us to work towards forest management as we get more data and a base to measure results from?

Ms Swenarchuk: I don't think so. In the political reality of how this thing exists, I think it exists to legislate the approach that senior management and MNR achieved through the Environmental Assessment Act hearings and to put a gloss on it: a title. When we have a bill which says, "Timber management plans are now going to be called forest management plans," to me that just shuts the lid on changing the planning process to what forest management would really be.

Of course, we always need more data. All of us have said we don't have enough forest management data etc. As we go down the road there will always be more, but we have far more than enough now to do the job properly and, as I say, I think there are lots of people within MNR who want to do that. I don't think we need more information. I think we need a commitment from the ministry that that's what we're going to do, and my reading of this act is that it's a commitment that that's not what they're going to do.

Mr Hodgson: You blame the ministry staff for the gloss, but it was pointed out in these hearings that some of the gloss was already alluded to in political documents published in February.

Ms Swenarchuk: I didn't blame the minister's staff. I think I said the ministry overall. I don't know who made the decisions here. I could guess, but --

Mr Hodgson: But you suspect it's a political act. Thank you very much.

Mr Robert W. Runciman (Leeds-Grenville): You're suggesting about the legal confusion and the environmental assessment decision. Just a yes or no answer, since we have such limited time: Are you suggesting or are you committing yourself or your organization to a legal challenge or are you just simply suggesting that --

Ms Swenarchuk: No, we haven't made a decision like that.

Mr Runciman: But the threat is there, I assume. You feel it's open to challenge.

Ms Swenarchuk: I think it's open to challenge, yes.

Mr Runciman: I'm just curious about your sustainability -- I know we don't have much time to talk about this -- and your concern about sustained yields. We talk about 10 or 15 years it takes the Legislature to look at these kinds of questions, historically. When does your organization see Ontario getting into a so-called crisis situation in terms of sustainability?

Ms Swenarchuk: There are lots of MNR data, some of which we cite there, which indicate that in various parts of the province there are wood shortages now. I didn't come armed with the list, but they're in that information. Overall, we are not regenerating at the level we're cutting. We're still having to go over the next hill and get the next bit of natural forest. We are clearly, province-wide, cutting more than we're regenerating.

Mr Len Wood (Cochrane North): Thank you for your presentation. I just want to cover a couple of areas. You're saying that you don't feel there are enough enforcement provisions in the act. I want to point out that there are a number of areas: In section 31, the minister can amend the licence; under the regulations, there's a clause which allows the amendment of a licence; in regulation 67.1, there's an area there for the minister to regulate licences. There are a number of areas.

When we get into the enforcement provisions, I understand that under the Timber Act now the only provision there is to shut down a town, and then you end up with hundreds or thousands of people camped out on the lawn of the Legislature.

When Mike Harris was Minister of Natural Resources and Lyn McLeod was Minister of Natural Resources, they didn't have the clout under the timber act to be able to make the amendments and the changes that we have under the new act.

There are a number of areas where there are enforcement provisions right now. If there's lake or river damage, there's no question in the minister's mind that the stop-work order is put there and a cleanup has to take place. There are enforcement rules there, but under the timber act right now there is nothing other than shutting down a complete town or a complete operation.

We have progressive steps for fines replacing the damage that has been done, up to the point where court action can be taken with a fine of up to $1 million. I don't have time to get into more detail, but I wonder if you want to comment on that.

Ms Swenarchuk: Was that a question?

The Vice-Chair: Sometimes it's not so much a question as an invitation to comment, but you don't have to comment; it's up to you.

Ms Swenarchuk: I certainly disagree with that characterization of what the Crown Timber Act enforcement provisions entail. But my point was -- if you read the brief, we say we are pleased to see that there are more enforcement provisions in this bill; we just really question the commitment within MNR to use them.

Mr Gilles Bisson (Cochrane South): I don't think there'll be enough time, but I just say that, as a northerner, I'm certainly glad the legislation is not drafted the way you propose. I think it would be very dangerous for industry. I'll be quite honest with you.

The comment you make is that the ministry has never cancelled an FMA. Could it possibly be that sometimes the industry does not always do things perfectly but is doing not too bad a job when it comes to managing its forest management agreements? I disagree with your brief.

The Vice-Chair: That was a quick comment from Mr Bisson -- unusually brief. Thank you very much. You certainly made your views very clear, and I'm sure the committee will take them into consideration.



Mr Joe Couto: Thank you, Mr Chair and members of the committee, for allowing the Ontario Chamber of Commerce to make this presentation. The Ontario chamber represents 65,000 businesses across Ontario and more than 205 community chambers and boards of trade.

We'd like to particularly emphasize the fact that we have been approached by many individual forestry-related businesses and chambers from northern Ontario who were not themselves able to participate in these hearings. We wish on their behalf to relay their comments and concerns to members of the committee, as well as the concerns of secondary manufacturers throughout Ontario that depend on a healthy forestry industry for their materials.

The Ontario Chamber of Commerce supports the introduction of new legislation that will assist the forestry industry in remaining economically competitive while adhering to good sustainable development practices. In considering the legislation, we feel that it is important that the committee be aware of the economic hardships the industry and its dependent employees and communities have endured during the recent recession.

In 1989, the industry directly employed 84,000 workers, with recorded sales of more than $11 billion. By 1991, the number of workers was down to 64,000 and sales had dipped to $9 billion. The graphs provided in the addendum section indicate clearly the serious circumstances that the industry has suffered during the recession.

When we take into account that indirect and induced employment adds another 128,000 jobs dependent on the forestry industry, it is important that this legislation ensure that it aids future economic growth for the forestry industry in Ontario.

In consulting with our members from such communities as Fort Frances and Kapuskasing, we have become acutely aware of the dominant position of the forestry industry in these communities. It is crucial that the ministry get the proposed legislation right in order to assist in the preservation and growth of such communities.

A key concern expressed by our members in both the forest industry and the financial community revolves around the security of the wood supply and how attractive the industry will be in terms of investment in the future. We asked two senior forestry analysts from two leading financial institutions, from the chamber of commerce, about the tenure question and were told that the legislation as drafted raises serious concerns regarding the lack of needed long-term tenure for Ontario forest companies.

These analysts indicated that financial institutions are concerned about any legislative initiative which might add to the volatility inherent in this sector, particularly given the recent timber harvesting cutbacks in the northwest US and in British Columbia. Specifically, they suggested that the tenure component of Bill 171 is much too vague and allows the minister licence to amend a resource licence without consulting with the licence holder and without due consideration of the affected business' requirements.

Unless these aspects of the bill are redrafted to allow for a greater security of wood supply, we fear that financial institutions may take this as a signal that the Ontario government does not believe in the future viability of the forestry industry as a strong contributor to Ontario's economy. This would, in our opinion, be the wrong message at a time when the industry is slowly turning around.

Our members in the forest industry are conscious of their obligation to ensure regeneration of the forest lands they harvest and expect that the government will continue to ensure a secure supply into the future. Forest management agreements between the government and the industry have in the past offered the security needed for an industry that has invested over $1 billion since 1991. It is essential that Bill 171 be amended to ensure that financial institutions continue to regard Ontario's forest industry as a viable industry in terms of financial commitment.

We also request that an independent analyst from a financial institution be requested to provide an opinion to this committee regarding the economic impact of the tenure question on the forest industry with regard to future access to capital for investment purposes.

Our members have also expressed concern regarding the increasing number of obligations they will face under Bill 171 and the impact this may have on their ability to run their businesses and create jobs.

Concern has been raised about the slight but significant change from the term "timber" to "forest" in the legislation when discussing the types of information and management practices required from the industry. The use of "forest" instead of the more specific "timber" implies that our members will be responsible for managing all elements of the forest.

This has caused confusion because our forest industry members are aware that the timber Environmental Assessment Board has clearly defined the roles of both the industry and the government in timber management. Our members would not be able to manage any increases in responsibilities at this time. Again, members of the committee should keep in mind the economic situation facing the industry and the fact that the industry needs to concentrate on strengthening itself after the recession. Forest management should be a joint responsibility between the forest industry and the government.

We support the timber EA board's ruling that the industry should be primarily responsible for the information on timber-related activities while the government should look after other aspects of forest management. The Ontario chamber recommends that the government work in partnership with the industry on this matter.

Recently, the Ontario chamber commented on the environmental statement of values issued by 14 separate Ontario ministries. The common problem in most of the proposed ESVs was the inconsistent use of the term "sustainable" when referring to the environment and the need to act in an environmentally beneficial way. The fact that "sustainable development" and other similar terms are rarely qualified leaves too much room for interpretation and vagueness.

We mention this because Bill 171 has succumbed to the same disease, that sees a variety of different terms being employed when dealing with the environment without qualifying the precise meaning and implications of these terms. This is particularly surprising, given that we regard the Ministry of Natural Resources' own ESV as one of the better ones in terms of clarity and vision.

The proposed legislation fails to define such phrases as "forest ecosystem" and does not assist our members in determining what information might be acceptable for such terms as "damage" or "loss." We are concerned that the proposed manuals, where such terms may be defined or qualified, may be revised at the ministry's discretion.

Without a concentrated effort to eliminate this vagueness from the legislation, we believe that uncertainty will result, adding to our members' frustration in dealing with this legislation. We urge the ministry to consult with the industry on working out clear definitions and qualifiable data for such vague terms and phrases and that they be clearly communicated to industry members.

Our members have expressed concern about the legislation's apparent emphasis on the stick rather than the carrot when it comes to the enforcement aspects of Bill 171. The power vested in the minister regarding preventive orders are unnecessarily left up to discretion and puts the emphasis on punishing the alleged perpetrator of the offence rather than in working to ensure that such offences are prevented in the first place.

Essentially, the relationship between the ministry and a company is a business one and should be resolved by negotiations and commitment to working in partnership, not on punitive action. Avoidance of court action is in everybody's interest. We recommend that the ministry recognize initiatives such as the Ontario Forest Industries Association's implementation of a code of forest practice and redraft the sections of Bill 171 dealing with remedies and enforcement to focus on positive incentives and rewards.

We commend the ministry for recognizing the need to update legislation governing the manner in which crown forests are managed. The final legislation will have a tremendous impact on the way our forest industry members operate in the future and will of course impact our other members who rely on the forest industry for their materials.

While we have felt compelled to point out the serious flaws in Bill 171 as drafted, we would like to commend the ministry on the proposals to establish trust funds and encourage sustainability in the forest industry, and the establishment of advisory committees.

Our members are confident that these two proposals are positive steps in encouraging partnership among the industry, the government and other stakeholders, and in ensuring a positive future for the industry. With regard to the advisory committees, the Ontario chamber would like to point out that many of its members already actively participate with local citizens and groups in their various communities to ensure that their local forest industry thrives and jobs are created.

We trust that the spirit of cooperation evidenced in these two proposals will be reflected in changes to other less positive aspects of the bill. Thank you very much.

Mr Runciman: You were sitting in the audience while the opening presenter commented on the act from another perspective, significantly different from the chamber's. How do we as committee members reconcile those two views which seem to be at opposite ends of the spectrum? To put it in very basic terms, who's telling the truth? How do we judge that as committee members?

Mr Couto: We're definitely coming at it from two different perspectives. As an employer group, as Mr Bisson pointed out, we are very concerned that northern communities have sustainable forest industries, sustainable in both the economic sense and environmental sense.

Mr Runciman: But we're being told by the previous presenter that that isn't the case and that this act is not going to enhance the situation; that in fact it's going to create even more difficulties than currently exist.

Mr Couto: The concern we have with the act as it's drafted is that it leaves a lot of holes, shall we say? Definitions: When we went to our members and asked them, "What are your concerns?" most of them said, "In reading the bill, we're left up in the air in terms of the vagueness about sustainability and all that."

Mr Runciman: I want to narrow this down to the question of sustainability, the position CELA took with us and the position you're taking. Is there a concern among the chamber members, in the north especially, with respect to some of the conclusions CELA's drawing? I mentioned "crisis situation," and the witness indicated that there are already sections of Ontario that are, in her view and her organization's view, in crisis situations now. If you're looking down the road, if what she's saying is accurate, is your view rather short-term, not really taking into consideration what the impact may be 15 or 20 years from now?

Mr Couto: The bill itself, as currently drafted, is not defined well enough. It hasn't gone the full 10 yards, if you will. It's very vague, I think, and it's leaving a lot of questions up in the air, particularly regarding tenure. That's our main concern, quite frankly. When we did talk to others in the chamber who analyse the forest industry for the major institutions, their prime concern was: Is this bill going to secure tenure? Is this bill going to assure that we're going to have an adequate supply in the future? The consensus was, "As currently drafted, no, it will not."

I think the bill itself right now is short-term because the impact it will have on the industry will be a negative one, and if the industry is not healthy, it doesn't matter what we're doing on the environmental side of it; the industry will keep going down and down and will be negatively impacted.


Mr Hodgson: Thank you, Joe. I just have one question basically, on your recommendations and conclusion. You feel "compelled to point out the serious flaws in Bill 171 as drafted [but] would like to commend the ministry on proposals to establish trust funds to encourage sustainability of the forest industry, and the establishment of advisory committees."

The trust funds, as you are aware, are not established under this bill; they're established under Bill 160, and they're going to be putting in place a trustee and administering that. The citizens' committees are a legal requirement from the timber EA; they have to do that. Given that those two things are not a direct result of Bill 171, is there anything in Bill 171 besides those two things you point out that improve the situation in your communities?

Mr Couto: I think the consensus is, no. I pointed out the two aspects simply to make the committee aware that we get awfully tired of coming down here and just arguing with the government, whatever party that might be. We commend the government as a whole for putting this through.

The overall impact that I see from the bill, as far as our members are concerned, is that it leaves too much up in the air. Perhaps what we need to do is step back a little bit. I know you've been hearing a lot from all kinds of different groups. I know you had the industry association in here yesterday, which presented you with quite a load of material. A lot of things in there are very specific, and what we've seen of it, we support. I think we need to step back here, and we really need to gauge this legislation. Right now, as far as we're concerned, the economic impact will be more negative than positive, but I think the bill can be salvaged if there is the will to do it, putting aside other concerns or agendas.

Mr Bisson: Thank you very much for your presentation. It's always a pleasure to hear from the chamber. Maybe I can help you in your own mind to salvage the bill, to a certain extent, by clearing up a few misconceptions.

As to the comment that Bill 160 sets up the trust funds, what Bill 160 is is enabling legislation that allows us to set up the trust funds. You need a mechanism by which to operate those trust funds, which is found within this bill.

On the question of the citizens' committees, yes, they're a requirement of the EA, but as a requirement of the EA they have to be done somewhere. You just can't all of a sudden say, "I'm setting up a citizens' committee." You have to have some kind of legislation that governs how you set up those committees, what the structures are, and all of that is defined through the legislation and regulation.

Two other points: The question of tenure is something this committee has heard throughout northern Ontario and the south. Under the present Crown Timber Act, there is no tenure for the 20-year clause, or the evergreen clause, as it's commonly referred to. The Crown Timber Act is silent on that. What it does is give the ability to the crown to sign an agreement with a party such as Abitibi, whoever it might be, and in that agreement you sign that you have tenure for a 20-year period, renewable every five years, in the actual agreement.

The same holds true in this legislation. It's not in the legislation, as it was not in the Crown Timber Act, which was the norm since the Crown Timber Act and FMAs have been in place. It's how people have gone out to borrow hundreds of millions of dollars through the banks and various means, have utilized their agreement as the security of tenure. That's also entailed, the same type of principles, within this legislation. The other thing is the cancellation of the licence. Under the old act, the minister could cancel the licence and there's probably not a heck of a lot you can do about it. Under this act, there is a process you can go through. The minister can't just on a whim cancel a licence; it's prescribed in the legislation and regulations what allows him to do that. But if he or she chooses to do it, for whatever reason, obviously it would be a very flagrant misuse of their FMA, their agreement. There is a process in there by which the licensee could petition the minister and actually make presentation. It's spelled out quite clearly in the legislation under 56(3)(a) and (b). So it does do what you ask it to do.

I want to pick up on Mr Runciman's point. The previous presenter basically said to us that "What we wanted is a more rigorous exercise that would really bind forest companies to managing the ecosystem in a much more defined way than it is under this legislation." I think the long and the short of it is that she felt the forest companies were not paying their fair share. That's sort of what she was saying if you listened to her presentation. As a representative of the chamber, do you feel that's a direction the government should be taking, that we should be trying to hold forest companies more to task, or do you think we need to try to find a balance? What's your view?

Mr Couto: In any kind of situation where the government basically regulates an industry, you need a balance. That's a given. In listening to the previous speaker, the impression I got is that she and her group felt that the forest industry companies somehow have squirrelled away tons of money, that it's in the back room and if we just access it, everything would be great.

I provide a few graphs that show the state of the economy for the industry and the debt the industry is in currently, from 1989, when the debt was $1.4 billion, to where it is in 1992 -- the latest figures I have -- of $2.7 billion. It indicates that we have a significant problem if you're going to be asking the companies to invest more money in doing what she was getting at. Quite simply, there is no money to do that. They're struggling right now just to save jobs. The figures for unemployment, as you know, being a northerner, are staggering. They are especially staggering when you consider that these communities are smaller communities sometimes, depending on that industry up there.

I would not agree with her that it is because our members aren't doing enough. We're doing what's required under the law and we're doing the best we can, but we must keep in mind the economics. It's not simply environment, it's not simply economics, it's not simply social justice. Everything has to be taken into context.

Mr Wood: I'm pleased that in your recommendations and conclusion you're saying that Bill 171 as drafted is going in the right direction. You're probably aware that since the decision was made to proceed on this basis with Bill 171, the Carman exercise renegotiating the FMAs, large investors have come forward and we've announced four new operations which are going to create between 1,500 and 2,000 jobs in northeastern and northwestern Ontario, realizing that this is going to mean they're going to have the fibre they need to build these new plants and help to stabilize the communities and the jobs that are there now and create new jobs over the next number of months. Probably in the next 18 months most of these operations will be up and running, and the communities will feel a lot better knowing they have new jobs there and that the jobs they have are being secured.

In my opinion, without Bill 171 this wouldn't have been possible. We've heard people come forward and say: "Look. We've argued for the last 15 years that the timber act is not doing the job." There have been no new plants or industry open up in 15 years, and now we have announced four within the last two or three months. I just wondered if you want to comment on that as a result of Bill 171.

Mr Couto: New jobs and new investment are always great, of course, and we share your enthusiasm for that. Whether that's solely because of 171 -- we'll leave that up to those people to answer, if you'd like to ask them.

Mr Wood: There are a few hundred million dollars being invested.

Mr Couto: Sure, and that's great. You and I agree about that. My concern, one that's been expressed by the financial analysts whom I mentioned we spoke to, is that they do have some concerns, and I haven't seen them at these hearings. I may have missed them, I don't know. I think it's very important that you go to the financial institutions and ask them: "Is this good legislation? Are there things we can fix to make it better?" if there are concerns -- what kind of impact it's going to have on tenure and other economic questions.

Mr Wood: They're not lining up at the door to condemn the legislation.


Mr Miclash: Joe, thank you very much for your presentation. I particularly enjoyed your views as you've gathered them from the northern chambers. You just touched a bit on security of tenure. I'm wondering if you could give us a few more examples of where you can see the negative impact on industry, should it not secure that tenure.

Mr Couto: As you know, the forest industry is not simply cutting trees. It's a very long process, where it goes through to the person here in Toronto who sells furniture, for instance, who sells paper products. If we don't get it right at the source, where we're cutting the trees, harvesting them, it's going to have a domino effect all the way down.

I have talked to some of the secondary manufacturers, who do not know a lot about this bill because it doesn't concern them directly, but constantly and unanimously, no matter what industry they're in, they insist that the supply of wood is the number one priority.

We can talk about all the other good things we need in terms of sustainability, in terms of setting up advisory committees and all that, that's all fine and good, but if we don't have the security to give our financial institutions the confidence in the industry, all the way down the line it's going to mean jobs, it's going to mean communities being severely affected. That's why this bill needs to be gotten right now. The previous speaker mentioned that forestry is usually not at the top of the legislative agenda, and I would agree with that, so we have to get this right and we have to get it right now.

Mr Miclash: I appreciate that. You also touched a bit on the committees. As you know, section 12 calls upon the minister to set up these citizens' committees. From the chamber's point of view, what does it see as the setup of the committees in terms of membership, and not only that, but the mandate of these citizens' committees?

Mr Couto: I think you need to ensure that the makeup of the committee reflects all communities. When we get into northern Ontario, of course we start having not only labour and business and environmental groups but also aboriginal peoples, tourist operations. Quite frankly, this will have an impact on our tourist operators.

What we need to do is to see what's already being done. There are already citizens' committees. I know there's one in Kapuskasing. I think we need to look at them first, use them as templates, and then go and make sure we've covered all the bases.

In terms of a mandate, job one should be the future viability of the forest industry. Again, if we don't have forestry being harvested into the future, long-term, it doesn't matter: We can talk about the environment all we like; it's not going to be there. And that impacts on workers, it impacts on companies and it impacts on communities. If you go to Fort Frances and ask them, "What would happen if the industry in this town went down?" you know what the answer would be.

Mr Miclash: Or Kenora, Dryden.

Mr Couto: I urge the committee to really look at this and make sure they get it right. It's very important, this bill.

The Vice-Chair: If there are no further questions, we appreciate your presentation and appearance before the committee. As you know, in two weeks we'll have clause-by-clause consideration.

Mr Couto: Thank you, Mr Chairman.


The Vice-Chair: The next presenter is Wilberforce Veneer, represented by Yvonne Shamash. Please take a seat and go right ahead.

Ms Yvonne Shamash: Good morning. I'm a little nervous about public speaking, but I think I'll get through this.

First of all, I'd like to introduce myself. I'm Yvonne Shamash. I'm the general manager of Wilberforce Veneer. We are medium-sized rotary cut veneer mill in Haliburton county and we specialize in cut-to-size. Ninety to 95% of our production is for export, primarily to the US market. However, we do export a little to the Far East. Demand for our product has been on the rise over the last two years and it's still increasing. Both our sales and employment have also doubled over the last two years.

The mill is in Wilberforce, Ontario, and is one of the largest employers in Haliburton county. It was established in 1937 and has continued to produce unfailingly, despite several changes in ownership.

The mill produces veneers in poplar, beech, oak, birch and cherry. However, most of the mill's production is hard maple. Raw material requirements average 2.6 million board feet annually, which isn't very much. Average employment at the mill is 50 people full-time, at an average wage of $10.25 an hour, which is fairly high for the area. We also create many seasonal jobs through logging etc. Most of our purchasing is conducted primarily within a 200-kilometre radius of the mill.

The reason I have come here today to speak to you is that I want to talk to you about the frustrations of maintaining inventory minimums for small and medium-sized operators. For a business like ours, it is essential to have a certain degree of predictability for supply. This ensures for our employees a consistent level of employment, and it allows us to plan our production levels and service our customers. In addition, unpredictable inventory problems create bad morale, low morale problems, which is just awful for a business.

In essence, it is impossible for us to run our business in an efficient, effective manner under conditions of very low inventory levels or non-existent inventory levels. Our mill, like many other small operations, competes on international markets. These conditions make us ineffective and vulnerable. No one likes an unreliable supplier. During the last two years, we have had to turn down several substantial supply contracts that would have provided the mill and its employees security through the future years. We could not guarantee that we could consistently produce at certain levels; therefore we couldn't accept these contracts.

Our timber supply comes from 100% private sources. There isn't a lot of information on private sources, and these sources are also often unreliable. The ministry has not been able to provide us any assistance. There have been some crown timber tenders available over the last couple of years, but often they are small, they're few and far between, and they're unreliable.

One year ago, out of desperation, we began to buy blocks of private standing timber, which we harvested ourselves using local contractors. This allowed us some degree of predictability: We were able to plan our production for months at a time; we knew what our employment levels were going to be. Unfortunately, it's not always possible to find private timber to harvest. This summer, for example, despite a great degree of time, effort and money, we were unable to find a block of private timber to cut. As a direct result, 12 employees are on indefinite layoff and we do not believe we can sustain production through the fall. We are not alone in this dilemma.

It would seem to me that you as a committee, concerned with managing crown timber in a sustainable way to meet social, economic and environmental needs, would have a definite mandate to take a very serious look at the economic contributions of smaller and medium-sized mills to their respective locales and the employment they generate. These mills need concrete assistance in maintaining minimum inventory levels specific to the mills. Tendering crown timber is fine, but it's not going to give these mills a steady, reliable source of supply.

Also, small and medium-sized mills generally employ more people per wood volumes they use than do their larger counterparts, and generally in an area where unemployment is high. I believe some provision should be made to make sure that when you talk about licensing crown timber, small and medium-sized mills are guaranteed a certain percentage of the allocation. There should be certain criteria set up to look specifically at smaller and medium-sized businesses, because it does not seem reasonable to me to compare a small or medium-sized business to a very large one.

It seems unreasonable to expect that our supply would be guaranteed. However, I do not believe it is unreasonable for a stable, committed company to receive a small percentage or an allocation of supply so it is able to meet its customer requirements more effectively.

In these changing times, it is vital that Canadian companies meet the challenges they face. Without solving the problems smaller mills have with raw material supply, we'll miss the boat. Small business is a very significant sector of the forest industry and it is the sector that is growing rapidly. I feel this growth should be supported, and these companies need assistance to strengthen their foundations to achieve the excellence that's going to take us into the future.

I don't think I need to stress again the importance of our mill, or any of the small or medium-sized mills, to the local economies or to their employees. The financial contributions are substantial. However, I think it is very relevant to emphasize again the relationship between the amount of raw material that a small or medium-sized mill requires yearly and the employment levels. Our yearly raw material requirements are a very small figure in relation to the timber volumes harvested off crown land annually. Fifty full-time jobs is not. Thank you.


Mr Wood: Thank you very much. I also have a concern about what we can do to make sure your operation remains viable. Under the present timber act of 1952, there is very little in that to allow for a third-party operation on crown land which might be licensed to an FMA, pulp and paper mill or whatever. Under the new act, there is a provision that the sharing of the resources is possible.

I don't know exactly, in your particular sawmill operation in Haliburton -- I know the species of trees you're using there; they don't grow them in Kapuskasing. But I'm sure there are other crown forests out there that could possibly supply wood to your mill that are not available under the present timber act. That provision is covered under the legislation. I just want to get a reaction from you.

Ms Shamash: I've looked at a lot of reports over the past, and it seems to me it is always emphasized that in cases of small and medium-sized businesses that have been established, the ministry is willing to do everything in its power to help these businesses out. I've never seen it, and I think we are very important. It's one thing to have the bigger mills and support them, but the smaller mills have to compete against these bigger mills that have a lot of their timber supply guaranteed, and I think there's got to be a very special criterion set out to help the smaller mills.

It's really not a fair market for us. We may not be able to compete against mills that employ 200, 300 people, but we're none the less as important. I just think it's very important that there is a very specific criterion for timber licensing to make sure that if you're going to do this, it goes to the right spot and it does the things you want it to do. That's my concern and that's why I'm here.

Mr Wood: There is a provision in the act being proposed that if there is a disagreement about how that resource should be shared, a mediator can be brought in to work out the final details of agreement about who should work off that particular crown forest on a third-party licence or on some other arrangement. Bob Carman, the negotiator on behalf of the province, which is the landlord for all of this land, is negotiating some terms and conditions now to have the FMAs transferred over to sustainable forests. So the intention is there.

Hopefully, as we get closer to clause-by-clause and listening to all the presentations -- coming from a small town myself and representing about 12 or 13 other towns within my riding, all dependent on forestry -- there is no mining, there is nothing else; it's totally forestry that they depend on -- I can sympathize with you how important an operation of 25, 30 or 50 employees is to sustain that community and the surrounding areas.

Mr Miclash: Yvonne, thank you for the presentation. It's certainly given us a different perspective on the industry than we've heard so far throughout the north.

You indicated that the crown timber tenders were being unreliable. I'm wondering if you can give us a little background on that and a little expansion.

Ms Shamash: Not unreliable -- few and far between. We're being told that blocks of timber are going to come up for sale that aren't coming up for sale. A lot of the times it's because the ministry doesn't have the money to market or gets behind. These are things, if we know something is coming up, we watch for, and when it doesn't come up it really hurts us. There's no guarantee we're going to get the timber anyway; it's on the open market. But that's what I mean by unreliable: You can't count on the fact that the sales are actually going to come up when it's told they will come up.

Mr Miclash: So it's a problem between yourselves and the ministry, and the ministry not actually giving you guidance.

Ms Shamash: Yes. Information, I guess, communication.

Mr Brown: Thank you. It is a different perspective than we've heard before. We've spent most of our time in the last two weeks, in northern Ontario, talking about the large FMAs and a lot of issues, but not directly dealing with the people like you who are involved in the -- you say most of your wood comes from private lands.

Ms Shamash: All of it.

Mr Brown: You know the government cancelled the managed forest rebate program to private land. Has that had an effect on your wood supply one way or the other?

Ms Shamash: Not yet. Haliburton county is probably one of the notorious counties right now. We have a very strong owners' association. What they plan to do in the future will quite possibly affect our wood supply. Right now, it's not. If they follow the course of action they're discussing right now, it will benefit our wood supply for the short term, because they'll cut.

Mr Brown: They may increase their cutting, actually.

Ms Shamash: They will increase their cutting.

Mr Brown: The problem we're having has been stated by a number of studies. There's about a 50% increase in available cutting in the province of Ontario. Now, whether that's in Haliburton county, I have no idea. But we don't know (a) how the ministry decides that there are surplus trees available for harvesting, or (b) what the criteria are for the successful bidder. They say it's competitive, but they don't give the criteria, and they claim it isn't just dollars, which we're finding very confusing.

Ms Shamash: It's dollars, as far as I'm concerned. They have the right to refuse your bid even if it's the highest, but I've never seen it done. Generally, it goes to the highest bidder.

Mr Brown: Not long ago, I was visiting a mill in Thessalon that would be, I suspect, somewhat similar to yours in that it was a veneer plant also, and one of the difficulties they're having is that in adjusting to the wood supply that's available to them they're going to have to retool. You're talking very large dollars, and they're not certain they want to put those dollars out, given the fact that even that wood supply is, at best, precarious. Is that affecting your particular business?

Ms Shamash: It is, but we were forced into making the changes a little earlier. We haven't done anything with our machinery yet. Accepting smaller wood, changing our machinery -- we haven't done that. However, we've changed our operation to accept a lower-grade piece of wood. We've changed what we sell to accept a lower-grade wood. We've broadened the types of species we take, so we're not running 100% hard maple, we're doing other veneers; we're buying in random lengths; we're taking shorter blocks; we've started sawing a very small amount of lumber to take care of our downgraded logs so our log suppliers are happy with us. They don't have to take logs back.

It's a big problem. We've tried to make deals with other mills of the same size to trade raw material to make each other's inventory stretch harder. But as for retooling our equipment, until we see that this company is viable long-term, we will not do any big retooling, we will not make any big changes, because we see maybe 10 years. There's no point. Are we going to invest $2 million in a company that's not going to have the raw material to run? With the problems we're having now, we're going to be shut down two months this fall. It's not worth it.

Mr Brown: One of the other issues that has been raised by a number of small operators, and these tend to be the independent loggers, not the companies, is the whole issue of scaling. Has that been a particular problem, getting consistent values?

Ms Shamash: The ministry scalers?

Mr Brown: Yes. I guess most use is for private land, so maybe this question isn't --

Ms Shamash: We scale differently than the ministry would. We use Ontario log rule and the ministry scales metric. The biggest problem we've seen with this is that you've got two groups that are working together that are speaking completely different languages. We don't understand what they're talking about and they don't understand what we're talking about --

The Vice-Chair: Sounds familiar.

Ms Shamash: -- so by the time the conversions are done, it's too late.

Mr Brown: Someone said it sounds familiar. That's usually what's going on around here.

That's good. Thank you for your help.


The Vice-Chair: We'll see whether Mr Hodgson has some questions and we can ensure that we understand each other.

Mr Hodgson: Thank you very much, Mr Chair. I guess as everybody realizes, I'm from Haliburton county, and Yvonne's one of our major -- they've heard our concerns for two weeks on the road, and I've brought your concern up in the Legislature earlier this year, in June. Yvonne's worked awfully hard, I want to let people know, to make this a viable industry in our area. We do have a high unemployment rate, 27% to 30%, so when Yvonne talks about jobs being very important to our community she's speaking exactly right, and we should all be concerned about that.

In this act there is an improvement, I think, under section 35, and it's what Mr Wood alluded to, that a third-party licence could be granted. You're cutting mainly the high-quality. If you had the high-quality stuff off some of these crown reserves --

Ms Shamash: That's the ideal situation.

Mr Hodgson: Yes. We do not have FMAs in our area, we have crown units, and they've been allocated to mills outside our area, quite a distance away. They compete on the private land as well, because the cost -- if I'm getting this correct, and you might want to comment on this -- for the crown units is low enough that they can borrow to also tie up the private land and compete on the private land for the wood supply and virtually create little monopolies up there. The difference is that if Yvonne can't get the lumber at n a predictable rate and high quality -- we're talking about best end use -- she has to cut back from three shifts to two shifts to one shift and, this fall, it might be none, then our unemployment rate goes up and they're on other programs. Yvonne, would you like to comment?

Ms Shamash: Yes. It seems absolutely crazy to me, because all these people have been running around talking about the best use of our forests. I've seen it said very, very vocally: "We have got to use our wood in the best way and every tree's got to go where it's going to generate the most jobs and the most money." Well, why isn't it being done? All these big mills have these licences, and I don't see the wood going to where it would create the most jobs and have the most economic and social value.

Coming back to the small and medium-sized mills, we're very powerful when you look at how good an impact we can have. If you want to manage forests, we're not cutting 26 million, 30 million board feet to run our mill; 2.6 board feet is not a hell of a lot. We're a lot more flexible and a lot more able to cut timber responsibly, to take the time for stand improvement. We're not rich, but we do have resources, and it really drives me crazy when I see sawmills cutting crown timber and taking slicer veneer logs and rotary veneer logs and cutting them into lumber. It doesn't make sense. You're looking at your slicer logs and your rotary veneer logs -- they're going overseas, and export is so important to this country. It's absolutely crazy.

I, as a rotary veneer mill, don't expect to see my yard full of slicer logs. They have a better spot. But I do think when you look at what we need and what a sawmill needs and what these different companies need, if there were a better way to distribute the wood that's coming off these properties without getting everybody out of joint, then yes, you're going to create a lot more jobs and in the end effect you're going to have a hell of a better forest and better communities, and there's going to be more revenue generated.

Mr Hodgson: Yvonne, do you think you could do that through stumpage fees, if you had it so that the stumpage fee was based on the price of the tree as it is on private lands, and you'd have to take it to where you can get the best dollar?

Ms Shamash: You mean every tree is priced for its value?

Mr Hodgson: Well, a veneer tree is worth more than just a slicer log to you.

Ms Shamash: It would be a good idea, but it would really be hard to implement. Can you imagine placing a stumpage on every tree on a thousand acres? It would be real, real hard.

Mr Hodgson: You'd have to it by sampling.

Ms Shamash: Yes. It's like marked timber. Nobody agrees with the way the ministry marks timber. So if you have somebody marking trees for veneer, like grades 1 and 2, I think it'd be a nightmare.

Mr Hodgson: You can't really tell till you get it cut.

Ms Shamash: The best way is to do it somehow through scaling, because a scaler looks at every log and knows what it is.

Mr Hodgson: Yvonne, I'd like to thank you for taking the day off work and driving three hours to come down and see us.

The Vice-Chair: Thank you very much. We certainly appreciate, as Mr Hodgson said, your appearance before the committee, and your comments will certainly be taken into consideration.

Mr Bisson: I realize the rotation was missed -- I wasn't here -- but is there an opportunity just to ask how she would achieve best end use? Do we have the time?

The Vice-Chair: We can always ask the committee whether we want to give Mr Bisson another chance. Okay, Mr Bisson.

Mr Bisson: The question is, how would you adopt a best-end-use policy? What would you suggest?

Ms Shamash: Like I said to Chris, after the logs are cut they'd have to be scaled and it would have to be determined there. You would have to work very closely with industry to determine very, very strict grade guidelines, because you can't benefit the veneer mills and put the sawmills out of business. But there is a log that is strictly veneer, there is a log that is a sawmill log, and there is a log that's a slicer log, and there are very strict grade guidelines on that. That could be marked out in every bush, just like they talk about giving mills that use primarily certain species first dibs for the certain species. The same thing with grade: You mark out grades 1, 2 and 3. Grade 1 is a slicer log, grade 2 is a rotary log and grade 3 is a sawmill log. I think that would be the easiest, most economical way to do it, because you're going to get different logs in the same tree. Also, length guidelines.

Mr Bisson: So through regulations of the scalers is what you're saying.

Ms Shamash: I think that's the only way it can be done, because also, if you have a tree, you're going to have maybe one rotary log, a slicer log and a sawmill log.

The Vice-Chair: Again, thanks for coming before the committee.



The Vice-Chair: The next presenter is Ontario Silvicultural Contractors Association, Mr Grant Brodeur.

Mr Grant Brodeur: Good morning. If it's okay with everybody, I'd like to read my presentation, as I believe you all have a copy. I would like to thank you for the opportunity to present the views of both Broland Enterprises Inc and the Ontario Silvicultural Contractors Association, for which I am president of both.

The proposed bill is going to have profound effect on the way our clients, both the MNR and FMA holders in the province, do business and thus how we conduct our business in turn. Although the amount of time to thoroughly review the bill is limited, especially in terms of the working manuals, I will be able to comment on general areas of support and areas of concern. I trust the FMA holders are preparing an in-depth review of the bill, and we would certainly support their direction in the modification of the bill. In general terms, what is good for our clients is usually good for silvicultural contractors.

Broland Enterprises Inc is a silvicultural contractor, with head office currently relocating from Toronto to Thunder Bay. The move will hopefully position Broland to focus on the eventual opportunities that may arise as a result of this bill. Broland currently plants 10 million seedlings a year and has diverse operations in thinning, tending, spraying, nursery work and site preparation.

The Ontario Silvicultural Contractors Association is a provincial association dedicated to assuring the sustainability of Ontario's forests. Currently, the membership represents the majority of the work conducted in the province. Unfortunately, as the provincial budgets for forest renewal have been slashed during the past year, so have the association's operating budgets, as contractors have been going out of business.

I'd first like to talk about areas of support for the bill.

A new direction: Support is given to the process of updating the existing Crown Timber Act. Bill 171, once passed, will allow for the sustainability of the forest by a collective of all stakeholders and users of the provincial forests. However, the point must be made about whether there is sufficient time in the bill's proposed timetable to fully develop enabling legislation which will be supported by all the affected and interested parties.

In order for the province to consider the forests to be managed for sustainability, the power must be given to the trained and competent professionals to act as they see fit. Through consultation with all the users and stakeholders, the professionals are best suited to make the decisions for the public as to what is best for the forests.

The new powers given to the minister in the bill should be reviewed to eliminate the discretion, so as to maintain a level playing field.

Trust funds: During the past five years, we have experienced drastic reductions in the provincial forest renewal budget. As a direct result of budget cuts, we have watched the number of seedlings planted in the province virtually cut in half from a high of 175 million in the early 1990s. Even with the artificial cap on seedlings planted at the 175 million trees, demand was for more seedlings.

Both British Columbia and Sweden harvest virtually the same amount as Ontario but have considerably larger replanting programs. As a result of the severe cuts in the provincial forest renewal budgets, Ontario is risking the sustainability of not only the forests but of the economy as well. Without a well-planned forest renewal program, there simply will be no trees to cut and no taxes to collect.

The proposed forest renewal trust fund and the forestry futures trust aim at alleviating the concern of budget cutbacks for forest renewal. This section of the bill is by far the most important aspect of the bill with regard to the provincial forest renewal and stewardship programs. Without a safe, secured and auditable source of funding, the forest cannot be sustained for future generations.

Advisory committees: The establishment of advisory committees is supported by not only the groups I represent today but by all stakeholders and concerned interest groups. By participating in the local decision-making and by having knowledge of the process of sustaining the forests, everybody wins.

An area of concern is the composition, function and power of the various committees. Perhaps the bill should consider the detailed work that has already been completed by the class EA, and accept the board's term and condition 4(a) and (b).

Timber to forest management: The concept of timber management to forest management is widely accepted in order to have sustainable development. However, concern must be expressed over simply the exchanging of "timber" with "forest" without a full review of the implications. Consideration must be given to who is the best-suited manager of the forest.

The recent class EA ruled on timber management, and I would not expect that the government would invite a new EA hearing on forest management in the near future, all things considered.

Certainly the timber harvesting companies are not in a position to manage the forest when there is such a vast array of management areas they not only have no interest in but no expertise either; for example, a blueberry patch 500 miles from any ongoing operations.

Now I will deal with some particular areas of concern.

The need for a pre-harvest prescription: The legislation as currently written suggests the minister "may" require a pre-harvest prescription. How is a plan to be written to ensure sustainability if there is no plan at time of harvest? Without a thorough plan prior to harvest, the forest is already deprived of potential valuable natural renewal resources. By identifying and planning for areas with advanced understorey, potential seed trees, and other natural tools of forest renewal, sustainability and biodiversity targets are far easier and less expensive to achieve.

I would recommend that in subsection 13(1), the first word "if" be dropped so as to say "preparation of a forest operations prescription..." and I would also recommend that subsection 14(1) should be modified by replacing "may" with "shall" so as to say, "a work schedule shall be prepared." Without a plan, how can success be measured?

Defining sustainability: Bill 171, from what I understand, is to ensure sustainability of Ontario's forests. However, the bill lacks a clear definition of what sustainability is. I would recommend that the bill adopt a definition of sustainability. As well, I would recommend that the bill adopt the proceedings from a vast collection of material compiled addressing the sustainability of Ontario's forests, including the Diversity document, the Audit of Regeneration in the Boreal Forest and, most notably, the Class Environmental Assessment for Timber Management on Crown Lands in Ontario by the Ministry of Natural Resources.

Certainly considerably more time, effort, and consultation has taken place on the construction of these documents than will be able to take place on the development of this bill.

In conclusion, I would just like to say that I trust the much-needed further development of Bill 171 will lead Ontario into the next century as a leader in sustainability. This will conclude my presentation today. Thank you, and I'll now try to answer any questions you may have.

Mr Brown: Thank you, Mr Brodeur. I believe you're the first person from the silvicultural contracting community that's been to see us. We've heard from tree seedling growers, we've heard from the large holders of FMAs, from independent loggers -- virtually every section of the forest industry but yours.

Could you give the committee some idea of how many people are employed today in your particular area -- not your firm, but across the board in silviculture, not just with tree planting but with the other operations that take place in the forest, tending, whatever else?

Mr Brodeur: A number of years ago, when the program was in full swing and we were planting perhaps 180 million trees a year, it seemed like the budgets were concentrating on tree planting and a lot of the other aspects of stewardship perhaps were going by the wayside, to a certain extent, at the expense of the planting. Whether that was a good thing or a bad thing at that time, I don't know.

We estimated that the employment would have been between 8,000 and 10,000 people at that time. If you do simple arithmetic, with the program virtually being cut in half, you could probably cut the employment more than in half, because what we're seeing is more people doing more jobs because they're having to do that. I would estimate the employment at this time in the range of 3,000 to 4,000 people in the province for the very seasonal work of the tree planting, site preparation, nursery work and such.

It seems like the employment has been drastically reduced. It's a hard thing to measure, because it's not a full-time job where you can go out and actually count bodies that are working somewhere. Because it's so seasonal and so transitional, it's hard to actually go out and count the number of people who are in the industry, but for the sake of argument we had estimated between 3,000 and 4,000 part-time, seasonal jobs, most of those being held by university students, I would imagine, 80% anyway.

Mr Brown: During the course of the hearings, the committee has heard a lot about regeneration etc. We know from the timber EA that they were very critical of the government and I guess of industry for the relatively low levels of planting seedlings, the most expensive way of regeneration, suggesting that we should be doing far more. That's what the EA says, not anything else.

As we look at the trusts, have you been able to do any math on the trusts to understand how much money may be going into them, whether there will be appropriate amounts of planting and tending going on from the money that will be available within those trusts? It is certainly a plus to know that there is going to be a guarantee of funds, but the second question is, are there enough funds? What's your view?

Mr Brodeur: The level of money that's going to be into the funds, ongoing transfer payments, if you will, will be somewhat equal to the amount of money that's being paid in stumpage right now. The rate is based at $6 per cubic metre cut, which is an average of the gross stumpage rates divided by the gross amount of wood cut; they came up with an average of the $6. From what I understand, that is going to be an amount that'll be just deposited into the funds for the next three years, at which point it'll be reviewed to see if that is "enough" to regenerate the forest.

In terms of the actual amounts we're able to play with right now in terms of forest renewal, two points would come to mind.

One is that although it's at 1994 budget levels, which are cut in half from what we would have liked to have had and what we experienced in 1990, we do feel that that amount of money, which is estimated to be in the $80-million to $100-million range, will be considerably more effective. We're not going to see the money moving back and forth from government to industry, and that's going to save a fair amount.

Plus, all of a sudden industry is going to be able to be innovative in how it practises forest renewal. In the past, they used to have to budget accounts, and if the government said, "You have to plan 10 million trees," you had to plant 10 million trees. They weren't allowed to take money from the planting program and put it into tending. On areas that could get away without having to plant trees, jack pine, sand flats and such, they were forced to plant trees; otherwise they wouldn't have received their budget allocations in terms of their FMA transfer payments.


Hopefully, we're going to see that redistribution is going to be better, with the FMAs having control and the forest managers being able to practise forestry again as opposed to being accountants and balancing the numbers.

Likewise, I would hope that after a while we're going to see an increase in the amount of money that's going to be going into the funds. The $6 is an average, which means that half the companies are below that and half the companies above, and I would imagine that the companies that are below the $6 average will maintain that $6 payment after the third year; also, companies that have traditional silvicultural costs that are above $6 a cubic metre, perhaps $10, will all of a sudden be paying an additional $4. So we should see the provincial money in terms of silviculture allotments go up to a certain extent after the three years, I would imagine.

It'll be interesting to see what happens in those accounts and in those areas where the $6 isn't going to be enough to cover the silvicultural cost. I sit on the Carman committee and it was one of the questions I asked: What happens in a particular forest where it costs more than $6 to do their forest renewal? The answer I got was, don't invest in those companies. Well, we're not investing in the companies; I believe we're investing in the forest in terms of those expenses.

Mr Brown: One of the concerns we've had is that it's relatively -- well, nothing's simple, but it's more straightforward dealing with the current FMA system than it is with the various other kinds of licences that are out there in the forest. I'm referring to the crown land units, the crown management units. Have you any indication of how the funding is going to flow and how you're affected? I think most people would agree that silviculture has been more successful in the FMAs than it has been on the other units.

Mr Brodeur: What I think we've seen in the past couple of years is that the crown units have really, really gone downhill in terms of their forest renewal. The FMAs seem to have been able to maintain their programs, perhaps at the expense of other programs and perhaps by allocating some of their own funds. However, it's in the crown units that we've seen a real decrease, specifically in the amount of trees that have been planted. It's gone from 60 million, 70 million, 80 million trees down to about 10 million or 15 million trees. As a result of that, I can't afford to even contract with the ministry any more. The prices are just far too low in terms of silvicultural contracts.

From what I understand in the bill, we're going to see crown land dues being allocated to silviculture as well in that they're going to be going into a trust fund. I don't believe it's in the first year, but perhaps it's in the second year and in subsequent years. I had hoped to see that the crown units are going to all of a sudden become a lot more responsible in their forest renewal programs. It's something we've advocated for a while: Let's do an FMA audit on a crown unit and see what the results have been over the last five years. It would be interesting to see what those numbers would be like compared to the FMAs. I think the FMAs have tried to maintain their programs as best they can, and certainly they had a contract with the government ensuring that as well.

Mr Hodgson: Thanks for coming in. As Mr Brown pointed out, this is a different perspective.

I think there is a general support for trust funds. It's an idea that's long overdue, and I think people welcome it. It's going to be spelled out in this bill and that will give some security about how it's done.

You mentioned the advisory committee, and you're recommending that we follow the class EA and accept the board's terms and conditions 4(a) and (b)?

Mr Brodeur: Yes.

Mr Hodgson: Okay. We've talked about that as well.

But there's one area that's just come up in the last day or two, where you support the idea of from timber to forest management. I think everybody does. Do you want to expand upon it? We've heard a couple of other people's opinions on this, but you've got a line in here: "Consideration must be given to who is the best-suited manager of the forest." Then you go on to say, "The recent class EA ruled on timber management, and I would not expect that the government would invite a new EA hearing on forest management in the near future, all things considered." How do you see that working? How do you avoid that? You say, "Consideration must be given to who is the best-suited manager of the forest." Do you want to comment on that?

Mr Brodeur: Right now in the FMAs the forests are being managed by foresters for timber management companies, and they're obviously managing the forests and their licences and such for feeding a mill, whether it be a pulp mill or a sawmill, so their best interests are situated in the bottom line of that company. That's what their boss tells them, I'm sure. Are they looking out for the overall management of the forests?

There are some big areas out there that don't come into particular interests; maybe "interests" isn't the best word. If I'm a forest manager working for a company in northern Ontario and I know we have to make a bottom line and we've been posting losses for the last three or four years, I'm going to be making sure I concentrate all my time on managing and getting the wood into the mill for the company I work for. Perhaps my devotion to certain other areas of the forest, while I might be concerned, isn't going to be as highly prioritized as it would be with the timber. I used the example of a blueberry plantation 500 miles from any operation. Am I going to manage that resource as strongly as I'm going to manage the resource for timber? I don't know if the people working for the timber companies are best suited to manage the forests. They're certainly best suited to manage timber.

Mr Hodgson: How do they do it in other jurisdictions? You cite BC and Sweden and say BC's the Canadian model and Sweden's the international model. Are you familiar with how they do this?

Mr Brodeur: To a certain extent. I'm not sure if they're forest managers or timber managers in Mac-Blo out on Vancouver Island. I know their programs seem to be a little bit more developed than ours and they don't seem to have the budget constraints we have. Unfortunately, I'm not well versed in the jurisdictions in either British Columbia or Sweden; however, sometimes we do use those as models for comparison.

Mr Bisson: You made some comments in regard to forest prescriptions and work schedules, and I thought maybe a little bit of clarification will clear it up.

My understanding of the way it works is that you're required to put together a forest management plan, and as part of that forest management plan you have to have a work schedule that deals first of all with how you're going to harvest and then the prescription deals with how you're going replant; everything is sort of interrelated.

My understanding of sections 13 and 14 is that through this bill, because we're not just managing timber, it gives the ability to manage a number of other things. For example, what happens if somebody decides they want to go into a commercial operation in blueberries, or whatever it might be? Do you think it would be too onerous if we took your suggestion and said, "Yes, you have to do a forest prescription and you have to do a work schedule"? In some cases we may not want them because it would be much more than what we need, because timber management and blueberry patch management are much different in nature. Do you still feel we need to really close that in? It wouldn't give us the ability not to do so with other types of things we can harvest in the forest.

Mr Brodeur: As a quick comment, I think the amount of paperwork that's being put on the people I deal with on a daily basis is pretty onerous right now. They usually don't get a chance to go into the field to actually see what's going on, with the amount of paperwork they're doing.

Mr Bisson: I go into the bush with my foresters all the time.

Mr Brodeur: I certainly developed my brief in consultation with some clients I deal with in the OFIA and people along those lines, and there's concern when you look at forest management planning as opposed to timber management planning. If the companies are being forced to write forest management plans as opposed to timber management plans, the number of resources in a forest is endless, and to write plans for all of those is going to be a lot of work for the people who are dealing with them.

I don't know if I understood your question. Are you saying that the forest harvesting companies are the ones who are going to have to write it, or are you saying if someone wants to go and pick blueberries they have to write a plan for how they're going to pick blueberries?

Mr Bisson: No, what I'm saying -- let's be specific. Obviously, if you're harvesting timber it's a fairly complex process. You've got to go out and cut. You're obviously going to some damage in the forest -- you have to haul it out and you have to replant -- so it's much more onerous in terms of what your responsibilities are because you have more ability to impact the forest. The legislation, because we're talking about a forest management plan, managing the entire ecosystem, gives us the ability to say, maybe we want a management plan and we want work schedules and prescriptions for a commercial blueberry patch operator or somebody who grows ginseng or somebody who cultivates mushrooms.


What I'm getting at is that your point is that we should require the prescription and we should require the work schedule, no matter what. That's what you're suggesting. I'm saying, isn't that more onerous than we need to make it? For example, with blowdowns, it would mean that when there's a blowdown and MacMillan Bloedel goes in to clean it up, you may not want to do a work schedule and you may not want a prescription. Do you feel that would really box you in? I see that suggestion as being more onerous.

Mr Brodeur: I think my suggestion was saying that a timber management plan must be written -- it certainly would identify the need for that -- as opposed to a forestry operation. I can understand, if that's the intent of the legislation, that they need a little bit of flexibility in case they need to go in and use some of the other resources. I don't know if it's possible to put it in the legislation that a timber management plan must be written. From what I understand, it's done right now under the Crown Timber Act, if I'm not mistaken, that a timber management plan -- the five-year plans and the annual work schedules -- must be written before they're allowed to harvest.

Mr Wood: In your areas of support, you've indicated that the bill should have been drafted according to the terms and conditions of the EA. From information I have, Bill 171 was drafted according to the terms and conditions of the EA board that came down with its ruling. The 28-day period was there, or the 30-day period, whatever it was, and there was no appeal on the part of the government and we accepted the terms and conditions of the EA. As a result, Bill 171 was drafted around that, with the understanding that EA also said that there's nothing stopping the government from talking about forestry and not restricting it to timber. It's been drafted around that. I just wanted to clarify that there's nothing in the draft to say we're going to try to avoid the EA decision. We've agreed to that and we're bound by it, and it's there, in our opinion.

I just wanted to get into sustainability a little bit. One of our people who came up with the Policy Framework for Sustainable Forests, Tom Clark, has suggested about 10 ways that should be included in the definition of sustainability. He's based that on the words and feelings and emotions of over 3,000 people when they went out on public hearings. I just want to know what your feeling might be on that, as you're saying you've been involved with the Bob Carman exercise. Do you want to comment on sustainability, how we should be defining it in the legislation, in the manuals? Do we need a broader definition of it, as Tom Clark has suggested in a letter to us?

Mr Brodeur: I don't see it. Maybe I'm missing it, but is it even defined in the legislation at all, the meaning of sustainability?

Mr Wood: All throughout the whole hearings, we've been trying to get --

Mr Brodeur: Come up with what sustainability is for the purpose of the act?

Mr Wood: -- what the general population out there feels the definition of sustainability should be and where it should be and how it should be spelled out as we proceed to amendments and third reading. I just wanted to get your version of that.

Mr Brodeur: My definition of sustainability for forests?

Mr Wood: Yes, on crown land.

Mr Brodeur: That whatever is there right now will be there in some way or form in the future so that everybody can enjoy the same uses. Certainly it's not going to be in the same way that we enjoy them right now, for a number of reasons, but so that future generations can enjoy whatever their use is going to be of the forest, similar to the use we get out of it right now. It's a pretty broad definition, because it's hard to say what people's use for the forests is going to be in the future, but certainly so that there's some use, somehow, for somebody.

Mr Wood: The protection of the forests.

Mr Brodeur: Protection of the forests so there's going to be something there, and I think I've explained that, to a certain extent. Without sustainability there's not going to be an economy, there's not going to be a forest -- there won't be much there at all.

The Vice-Chair: Thank you very much, Mr Brodeur, for appearing before the committee and sharing your views with us.

Mr Bisson: Just on another matter, I have a letter here from a Mr Grant Tunnicliffe from South Porcupine, who wanted to present his views to the committee. I'd like to make sure that's put on the record and passed to the committee.

The Vice-Chair: Thank you. This concludes the hearings for the morning. We'll resume at 2 o'clock this afternoon.

The committee recessed from 1146 to 1402.


The Vice-Chair: We're continuing the hearings of the standing committee on general government regarding Bill 171. I understand that the Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters, Peterborough section, is not here yet. You're the Ontario Structural Board Association representative, if I'm not mistaken.

Mr John Lowood: I represent the Structural Board Association, not the Ontario Structural Board Association.

The Vice-Chair: Perhaps you can clarify for us what the difference is. In any case, I appreciate that you are willing to make your presentation now rather than at 2:30, seeing that our first presenter is not here yet. I understand you want to use some visual aids, and you can certainly do that. Go right ahead.

Mr Lowood: Thank you very much, Mr Chairman, ladies and gentlemen. The Structural Board Association is actually an international association which was incorporated in 1976, a major trade association with members in Canada, the US and overseas. Interestingly enough, the reason we were originally thought of as being the Canadian Structural Board Association was that the association started in Canada and the industry started in Canada, back in 1965.

Our membership is composed of producing members ranging from BC, Quebec, Ontario, France, the US, Saskatchewan, Scotland, Minnesota, and Weyerhaeuser in Alberta. We have a fairly extensive membership. On top of that, we have a large group of what we call supporting members who are in the supplying business. A number of those are Ontario companies. In support of our group in terms of research, we have a number of research members and universities. So we like to call ourselves a full-service association, with manufacturers, suppliers and researchers.

Our mission is that we represent the oriented strandboard, or OSB, producers, who are committed to continuous quality improvement; end-user recognition of OSB as being the preferred structural panel; and to improve the performance of the industry and the members. We work very closely in doing that with codes and standards people in Canada, the US and offshore, particularly, recently, with the increase in activity offshore and the need to have North American and Canadian products recognized in that area.

We have recently formed a new partnership called the Wood Panel Bureau. It's a partnership of our association with the Canadian Particleboard Association and the Canadian Hardwood Plywood Association. Our mandate of course is to expand export markets for the three products that are manufactured by the association: OSB, MDF/particleboard, veneer and plywood. We do this by having technical bulletins, trade shows, advertising and promotion, and market studies. Of course, the government of Ontario is also a partner in this program, along with the governments of Alberta, Quebec and the federal government, in supporting the activities of the association. That's just a recent event; it's just in the process. I believe the Ontario agreement is going to cabinet tomorrow.

Looking more at what the industry is doing, I have a few slides. What I'm trying to show here is the aspen forest which basically runs through central British Columbia, Alberta, southern Saskatchewan, touching into Minnesota and Wisconsin, and then moving up into Ontario and Quebec. That is the area where most of the OSB industry is focused today that is using poplar. The other resource the OSB industry uses, and our competitors, is the southern yellow pine and hardwoods that come out of the south. That area, of course, is our major competition in Canada for wood supply, so we have to be very sure that when we're looking at wood supply we put ourselves in as competitive a position as possible.

The other reason we need to have this competitive position is the growth of the industry. Back in 1980, we had five mills in Canada and three mills in the US. In the year 2002, we'll see the industry reaching 54 mills in total, of which 19 to 20 will be in Canada and 34 in the US. That number is changing even today. I was not aware until very recently that another mill has been proposed for Fort Frances. This was just last week. We also heard from our US friends that another mill is being proposed in Virginia, so these numbers are already out of date. The industry is growing very rapidly.


As to the locations of the mills, you can see from the map how in Canada it follows the boreal forest and the aspen supply and, in the south, the southern yellow pine supply. The blue dots are announced mills; again, that chart was done in June and it's slightly out of date.

Total volume: We are a bilingual organization, so we have square feet and cubic metres. Basically, a billion square feet is a million cubic metres; that's a quick and dirty conversion. What that shows is that the total industry volume by the year 2002 will be getting close to either 18 million cubic metres or 18 billion square feet. That's a significant growth, and that growth of course is coming from Canada, the US and offshore. Again it's a question of making sure that the Canadian operations are competitive, particularly the Ontario operations.

The three Ontario members of SBA are Grant, Malette and Weldwood at this time. The other two companies that have announced mills, Jager and Tolco, have also indicated to us that they'll be joining our association, and we believe the new mill at Fort Frances will as well.

Just one last thing on the association. We have a major research program, which I indicated earlier. These are some of the projects we're jointly undertaking with -- I'm having a little trouble with this overhead. This program is a market-driven program managed by the association, undertaken by Forintek Canada Corp, the Alberta Research Council, and we just recently awarded a contract to the University of Toronto for some work it's undertaking. Part of their project is at number 10 at the bottom of the list. We want to use as many of the resources as we can to get the best possible results.

That is a little bit on the association. There is certainly a lot more information that can be provided, if it's the desire of the committee.

I'd like to look now at the reason we're here, the new crown forest act. I've seen submissions from one or two of the other groups, and when we started thinking about our submission we really thought that what we should do is first congratulate the writers of the legislation in putting together a pretty concise piece of material. There are some things that perhaps could be modified or changed, and we'll talk about those this afternoon, but all in all, it certainly covers the matter very clearly, and I believe we can count on the people writing the regulations and the manuals and so on to fill in the gaps and make it a workable document.

There a few things we find to be a bit of a concern, and I'm sure they can be addressed.

There tends to be a lot of subjective interpretation, and that can of course be fixed by the regulations or the manuals.

We were looking in the act for some requirement that there would be an ongoing consultative approach and, unless we're missing something, we didn't find that. We think that could be added to the act in some way.

It does not appear on the surface to encourage partnerships and. Again, that's an area that needs to be looked at, in our opinion.

It does give pretty wide discretionary power to the minister and his or her designees. I wanted to point out in saying that that within the Ministry of Natural Resources and the general contraction of government services and staffing and the programs being provided to people to take early retirement, what we're seeing -- I've been told, and I'm aware of it -- that a lot of people who can use discretionary power properly because they have experience and background and knowledge of the industry and the forest and the resource in the communities are disappearing from the ministry. We think that's unfortunate. We don't know how you address that, but that's something the ministry at least has to address in some shape. Maybe that comes back more to the partnership role, but we believe there's some need there.

One of the questions that has come up is definitions. "Sustainability" is a word we have wrestled with. I've wrestled with it with the federal government in some of its work, I've wrestled with it in some of the other provinces, and I guess we're going to wrestle with it in this particular piece of legislation. This is a definition we use in our group, very similar to the new CSA definition that is being promoted for the sustainable forest management standard: "Planning and implementation of activities to provide for the continuing harvesting of resources to meet specified objectives and provide ongoing economic, social and community benefits to society." We did not include the word "environmental" because if we provide ongoing economic, social and community values, the environmental side will look after itself. We really believe that.

Another area we wanted to comment on is the forest resource licences. First off, we're very pleased that this has been included in the act. The OSB industry, by its very nature, is going to be using species that haven't in the past been used. All the work that has been done, the various studies and so on and so forth, see the OSB or the poplar and birch resource being promoted as the resource for the future for Ontario's forests. Yet we're not going to have, as I see it, very many FMAs that will be strictly limited to poplar and under our control as an industry, so we are pleased with the changes in the act that allow for this type of licence.


We have some concerns, however, and we're already hearing about these, that some of the major FMA holders are saying: "How can we possibly cut the poplar volume that new mill requires? We're not going to be cutting in that area, or we don't have that need for the softwood." There's going to have to be a mechanism -- and perhaps it will be in the regulations or in the manuals, but there has to be a mechanism -- to guide those FMA holders in fulfilling their obligations to the new mills that are coming into their area. That's not going to be an easy situation. We know that. We already know that from what's happening with some existing mills. So that one has to be dealt with with some discretion.

We support the silvicultural trust fund. I have been involved on the advisory committee with Bob Carman. I think it's a very, very positive move, and it'll certainly help to guarantee the sustainability of the forest. What we do not like, though, is the residual value approach for the costing of the resource. We recognize that the cost of the resource should be tied to the market, but we're not happy with the approach of the residual value because we think it would be very difficult and rather unfair in how it can be implemented. We've got mills of different ages, different log yields per hectare, different wood recovery, and we've got marketing changes. We as an association are prepared to talk about that, but we're not prepared to accept it in its current format.

The last thing I wanted to raise was the part that covers forest resource processing facilities. We believe there needs to be a little more flexibility in that area. Mills are going to be changing on a continual basis. They're going to be upgrading, they're going to try new tricks in the mill, and we need to be able to allow them to do that without having a bureaucratic or an authoritative approach to making those changes.

Ladies and gentlemen, that's what I wanted to say this afternoon. Thank you very much.

Mr Runciman: I'd like to ask you about the ministerial discretion and your concerns specifically about that. You made reference to the fact that people who have significant knowledge of the industry are leaving the ministry and there doesn't seem to be, I gather, an effort to replace these individuals, which would perhaps give you more confidence in ministerial discretion and some of the decisions that are taken. What is really happening there, from your perspective, in terms of these people leaving the ministry and not being replaced by people of similar qualifications?

Mr Lowood: We're finding that because of the early retirement package, people who have worked in an area and are very familiar with the area and have taken a senior management role in the management of the forest are leaving. We're concerned that with the people who will move up to replace them and move into the field -- I guess everybody will eventually move up to fill the available positions -- we'll find a lot of younger people who have not had the background and the experience in the industry who will be required to make decisions or have dealings with the industry people on a day-to-day basis, and that could lead to conflict. And the word "may" in those sections of the legislation does give them the opportunity for a fairly wide discretionary power.

Mr Runciman: That may happen, but it's increasingly likely, with this government and its use of consultants, that they will simply rehire them as consultants at three times the salary. That may assuage your concern. Have you conveyed those kinds of concerns to the ministry officials?

Mr Lowood: We have talked to the ministry about that. We in fact are going to be making a joint presentation to the ministry, along with the other two associations, on that. I've talked to the minister and we've talked to Bob Carman and his people about it.

Mr Runciman: What's spurring this rapid growth in the industry, just the turnaround in the economy?

Mr Lowood: There's actually a couple of things, primarily the west coast restriction on logging in the US, and the upcoming restriction on logging of the old-growth forest in British Columbia is closing the plywood mills now. The plywood industry has lost 4 million cubic metres in the last eight years. On top of that, we're seeing that there's a much wider acceptance of the product in non-traditional uses. Now we've got engineering design values, so engineers can start -- there's an increase in market plus an increase in the shortage of plywood.

Mr Runciman: You mentioned your organization being incorporated in 1976, but you haven't been consulted by governments, I gather, plural. You haven't been involved in consultative processes. Or is that simply with this one piece of legislation?

Mr Lowood: It's been primarily in Ontario's situation. It really didn't get going until Bud Wildman spoke to all of us in December 1992. That was the start of the process, as far as we were concerned.

Mr Bisson: Thank you for your presentation and giving us some very helpful information with regard to the OSB industry. You make a point in your presentation that one of the things you support in the legislation is the ability of the government to be able to direct wood toward OSB mills. As you said in your presentation, that's very problematic in some ways, that if you happen to be the FMA holder and you're not in the OSB business, you may not like that.

Let me put to you how I see it, and tell me if you'd agree. Would it be better to do that, rather than just in the legislation and saying, "You shall do A, B, C, D," by trying to leave it to market conditions and negotiations within the private sector, rather than having government impose?

Mr Lowood: I think there needs to be some method or arbitration raised in the legislation and then expanded somewhat in the regulations or manuals that will accompany this.

Mr Bisson: So enable the negotiations to happen through the legislation, but if negotiations fail, have some sort of mechanism like arbitration at the end, is what you'd say.

Mr Lowood: Right.

Mr Wood: Thank you for the presentation. It's nice to see that there's no doubt in your mind of what the definition of "sustainability" should be, and I see you've put it up on the screen.

I just want to comment a little on the discussion Mr Runciman and you had. Back in the early 1960s the retirement age was 70. They brought it down to 68 and then down to 65, then down to 62, 60, and when we reorganized the Spruce Falls situation we had people going out of there at 50 years old in order to make room for younger people who had a family and were trying to survive. Other people were saying, "Our family's grown up, my house is paid for," and they'd make room. So this has happened in the private sector, it's happened in government, and it's a process that has taken place over the last 30 years. We see a bigger effect of it during a recession as jobs are scarce. The process is there. Hopefully, these people you consider to be inexperienced have gained the experience and are going to be able to do the job they're expected to do.


When you're talking about the market, you're saying you don't mind, as the price of the product increases, paying a fair share to the government. It's very similar to what we have in income tax now: The more you make, the more you pay to the government, either at the provincial level or the federal level. The same thing would apply to industry. As the price of the product goes up, a certain portion of that would come back to the crown because the government is the landlord of the forests.

Mr Lowood: We have that system now, to some extent. It could be tidied up and perhaps made to operate better for both sides. But when we involve the residual value, which involves into it the factor of the cost of production, that's when we become very nervous.

Mr Wood: You're saying we should have further discussion on that?

Mr Lowood: Yes. Hopefully, the Carman process will resolve that. And just a point on that: I don't think we're all getting the same information, because I understand some of the new mills have been provided with some additional documentation we were not provided with. That's something I have to talk to Carman about when he gets back.

Mr Wood: I understand Carman hasn't gone anywhere. He's very close to getting ink on paper, which will be announced in a press conference very shortly. He's around.

Mr Lowood: Good. I look forward to it.

Mr Brown: Thank you for coming. You have raised an issue regarding residual value. Frankly, I'm surprised somebody else hasn't raised it before you came and did it, but I'm really happy you did. We've had some problems trying to determine whether residual value was a good idea or whether it wasn't a good idea, but most people are saying it isn't a good idea. But you're bringing a new spin to this, that it's really based on somebody else's decision about what your costs might be -- in other words, what the baseline is -- before we start to graduate this tax. Just so we don't confuse the parliamentary assistant, I suspect your members pay corporate tax.

Mr Lowood: Yes, we do.

Mr Brown: At least that's the plan, in most years: They hope to be able to pay.

Mr Lowood: They haven't on a regular basis, but certainly when they're able to, they do.

Mr Brown: Could you suggest to us an approach that would be more appropriate? I think we all believe that somehow the people who own the forests have some right, in a good market, to receive a little more money than they might in a bad market. What approach would you favour?

Mr Lowood: I think we feel reasonably comfortable with the existing system. It needs to be modified to reflect the various markets a little, because OSB is lumped in with pulp, and one's on one cycle and one's on the other cycle; that sort of thing needs to be separated. We would say, and my members have said this to Bob Carman, "What's wrong with the existing system?" There are a few things that are wrong, but nothing serious, so why don't we just fix the existing system?

Mr Brown: So if we go back and have a look at the market mechanisms that presently exist within that system, we may be able to come up with an answer that's happier than this kind of cost-plus system the government is doing. In my experience, cost-plus just means it costs everybody more.

Mr Lowood: Alberta has this system, and Alberta is having a lot of difficulty with it.

Mr Brown: Could you provide us with some documentation on that, seeing as you represent those people in Alberta?

Mr Lowood: We can do that, yes.

The Vice-Chair: If you'd do that and send it to the clerk, he will distribute it to all the members of the committee.

Mr Lowood: Certainly. I'd be pleased to.

The Vice-Chair: Thank you very much for appearing before the committee and sharing your views with us.


The Vice-Chair: We invite Professor Nautiyal from the faculty of forestry at the University of Toronto to appear now. You've been allocated 30 minutes. Members of the committee always like to ask questions and receive answers at the end, so if you'd like to leave some time, we'd appreciate that.

Mr Jagdish Nautiyal: Thank you very much, Mr Chair. I don't think I will be taking all the 30 minutes; maybe a small fraction of it.

The point I want to make is that it's a wonderful thing to be wanting to manage the forests as a whole on a sustainable basis. Foresters really have been doing it, as far as timber is concerned, for years and years. But right now, when we are making a change that instead of looking at timber alone, we are wanting to look at the forest as a whole, it is necessary that first of all we have an act such as this which permits that change, but there is more than this that is necessary in order that we will be able to actually practise sustainable forestry. Some of this is the knowledge gap that exists, about which I want to bring the matter to your attention.

If the forest as a whole is to be managed in a sustainable manner, we ought to know what kind of outputs will be available from it over the years -- because the forest takes long years for producing things -- by putting certain amounts of inputs, and that kind of information is generally lacking. Good foresters, good resource managers, have some idea about what those things are, but only in patches and mostly about timber alone. What we need to know is a comprehensive idea and general knowledge about different species, different types of forest ecosystems, as to how much input will produce how much output in different years.

If this basic information is not known, it is very difficult to actually bring into practice sustainable management of any resource. My submission is that the act provide for this very clearly. In fact, the bill should direct the provincial government to take action which will initiate appropriate research to fill this information gap, and this kind of research perhaps will be done at research institutes or universities throughout the province.

This is only a part of the knowledge gap that exists, but unless we start on this now, right in the beginning, I do not think we can actually practise it. Thank you very much.

Mr Bisson: You are saying that if we don't start this in the beginning, we're not going to be able to practise it?

Mr Nautiyal: We're not going to be able to practise it soon. It will take time before this information is available. We'll be groping in the dark. We'll be doing the best we can, but it will not be the right or the appropriate thing. Trying to do something, with the best of intentions, in the dark, when we don't know what begets what is one thing; the other is knowing that if I turn this switch on, that light will go on. That's a different thing. I'm saying we don't have the information, so we should start that now.

Mr Bisson: You see, one of the things the committee has been hearing from some presenters -- there's a group of presenters who would prefer that the ministry spell out very clearly in the legislation exactly what's prescribed it comes to sustainable forestry practices. To do so, some would argue, is that it would fix us in time and wouldn't allow us to move with the sciences. You say it's better to make it enabling legislation and leave that to the manuals and regulations? Is that what you're telling me?

Mr Nautiyal: If I understand you right, I am not suggesting that we first have all problems sorted out and then go into it. It is impossible, it is impractical. We have to move with whatever information we have right now. But we must be very clear about the kind of information gap that exists and we should take steps now to fill that information gap, so that as the years go by we become more and more enlightened and we are able to take better decisions.

Mr Bisson: Just to finish the point, you're saying that the approach we've taken by not trying to enshrine everything in the legislation but making it enabling is the right way to go.

Mr Nautiyal: I would say so.


Mr Wood: We had a presentation made by one of the people from IWA saying that at one point in time, as you're saying, nature would look after things to a certain point, that you'd cut a tree and God would plant another one. But he went on to make the statement that He's falling a little bit behind and He needs some help.

Mr Nautiyal: Who, God?

Mr Wood: The forests, the trees, need some help from man.

I just want to get a comment from you. The timber act that is there right now was written 42 years ago, in 1952. What would your feeling be, that we leave that the way it is? Or should we proceed on the basis we are right now, trying to deal with it as a forest and protecting some of the jobs out there and creating new jobs and trying to sustain into the future?

Mr Nautiyal: I think we should go ahead. We cannot go back in time, first of all. Also, we cannot hold the clock. We cannot freeze anything in time. We have to keep on moving. As to these problems of maintaining the jobs and maintaining the environment, obviously there are conflicts in them; sometimes they don't go in the same direction. But hard decisions have to be taken all the time because we have to balance between these two. Overall sustainability means a balance. It cannot be just in one direction. We cannot either just, let's say, produce maximum timber and that's it and we don't care about anything else, or that we protect everything and we don't want any timber or any pulp. That's also impossible. We've got to find a balance, so we must keep on moving.

Mr Wood: If I understand, you're saying that by reworking the legislation, the amendments brought forward, the regulations, the manuals, we could put in something that's got some teeth in it for the future.

Mr Nautiyal: That's right. We already have something with us at the moment, as far as timber is concerned, and from whatever I have seen so far, that's the approach that's been taken by the government. Essentially, we have certain things, more developed in the case of timber than in the case of other products, and as we go, we go on improving them to the extent we can.

Mr Brown: Thank you for appearing. I think you're bringing something to this debate that we heard in Thunder Bay from Lakehead University. That was the requirement that there be more research, both pure and applied, to forests and the forest ecosystems, and to be spending more time really trying to understand what's happening out there. I don't suspect in human endeavour we will ever completely understand what's going on out there, but certainly the state of science needs to be improved and perhaps the province should be spending a little bit more money in that area in terms of research grants or whatever.

The particular suggestion that was made by Lakehead University to us was that a portion of the forestry futures fund included in this legislation should be set aside to assist universities and others to do research. Do you have some views on that?

Mr Nautiyal: Definitely. I would support that kind of action. In the case of research and education which the universities are involved in, usually a sustained effort is needed for a number of years before any meaningful results can be obtained. It is not something where you just say, okay, open the door and everything comes up. Answers are not all available on the shelf where you can just go and buy them. Sustained effort for long periods is necessary before we have a fairly large repertoire of different kinds of solutions, and then, as problems appear, we can pull them from the shelf, if we have been working in the past. Because of this long time period involved in producing research results, for one, and secondly, the uncertainty about what results we'll get, it is necessary that funds be set aside on a sustained basis so that things can be done. So I would support that, yes.

Mr Brown: You were here, I think, to hear the presentation that just came before us. I believe you mentioned in your brief that the forest, if you do nothing, given time will regenerate to something.

Mr Nautiyal: Yes, something will happen.

Mr Brown: What we're seeing here is a utilization of a wood species that perhaps foresters would have considered weeds not too long ago. They are taking an opportunity to make a product and there's demand in the market for this product, yet who could have predicted 40 years ago that we would have a business expanding on the basis of aspen species? I don't think there would be many who would have predicted that.

This whole question of sustainability comes back to that. How are we to predict 70 years from now what will be marketable, if we look at sustainability from the jobs and communities kind of view, and therefore what we should be doing in the forest today?

Mr Nautiyal: Let's face it. We'll never know what is going to happen in the future. Anybody who says they have an idea, "This is what is going to happen," I think is absolutely wrong. But that is nothing new to us, and by "us" I mean to human beings. We all have lived all these years with this total uncertainty and yet we have kept on going. The main thing is, with whatever information we have, the best information, make the best judgement we can at the time, and then face the thing as it comes. We never burn all of our bridges behind us, there are always some options left, and if we have taken the wrong action, hopefully we can reverse the course. We may not be able to get 100% back of whatever we have lost in some wrong decisions, but hopefully we can salvage much of it if we are all the time alert. That's the way I would go.

Mr Brown: When I get philosophical, I think of what the forester 70 years ago might be saying today. He'd maybe say, "I did produce a sustainable forest."

Mr Nautiyal: Actually, the good forester of that time would be quite happy to see the forests of today, I'm quite sure. In some way, yes, it is being sustained. It is never exactly the same. Sustainability, in my opinion, doesn't mean maintaining the status quo for ever. I don't think anybody wants it or that it is possible even if we wanted it.

The question is, within our overall goals, can we move in a direction where we don't put ourselves in such a situation where we feel sorry about it? That's all there is, I think, that has to be kept in mind.

Mr Gilles E. Morin (Carleton East): This morning we had a witness who talked about Sweden as an example we should follow. You are a professor of forestry. Sweden is approximately the same area as Ontario, 412,000 square miles, the same population, the diversity of the population is about the same. What do they do there that we don't do here and that we should do?

Mr Nautiyal: One of the things that happens in Sweden is that the government subsidizes many of the activities in the forests if it deems those are in the interests of maintaining the forests in the long run. That situation in some way is different and in some other ways is quite like here. There, the forests are not owned by the government to the extent they are owned here. In Ontario, almost all the forest, 90%, 95% is owned by the government. That is not the case in Sweden. So the action the government has to take there is such as will encourage the private entrepreneurs to do what the government thinks ought to be done, so subsidies form a major part of what it is.

Then, Sweden has a different way of looking at things. I think the attitude of Sweden towards life is a bit different from that of Canada. Canada is a young country; Sweden is not. Canada keeps on thinking in terms of growth, in terms of expansion, whereas Sweden, I believe, in a philosophical sense, is more attuned to what sustainability is all about. They are willing to accept that, yes, there may be things where the same sort of thing more or less remains for quite a long time, that we don't go on growing exponentially. You know, anybody living in Toronto for the last 25 years can't recognize this city, the way it has grown. That kind of thing doesn't happen in Sweden. It is not expected. They have a different way of looking at it.

So comparison between Sweden and Canada may not necessarily be very meaningful. It may not take us anywhere. We have to find solutions for our own problems, which are quite a bit different. They are unique.

Mr Morin: We've heard -- since Monday, when I've been on the committee, anyway -- all kinds of negative comments that we should scrap the bill and start all over again, go back to the drawing board. You've had a chance to read the legislation. Do you feel the same way?

Mr Nautiyal: No, I don't. All my life I've run into people who say, "First find out what is the best solution, then I'll take the first step." If I did that, I would never be out of my house. I do not know anything for certain. I've never known it, and I don't think I'll ever know. I make my best guess. I brought an umbrella this morning, not a raincoat, and yes, I got a little bit wet, but I'm still okay. It's that kind of attitude that we have to have towards life, and it's no different in individual personal life than it is in public life.

Mr Morin: Why is it that 95% of the witnesses who appeared before us all came out with negative comments? Are they wrong, or who is right?

Mr Nautiyal: I'm not sure if that is negative. They might have had their reservations, because everybody's afraid of moving in a new direction when we do not know. We all have fears. I've said I do this, but that doesn't mean I'm not cautious about the future. I do not want to take an action where I may really get into trouble. They just want to make sure, I believe, that we are taking the appropriate steps. That's my reading of it.

The Vice-Chair: Thank you very much. We certainly appreciated your presence before the committee, Professor, and you obviously encouraged quite a bit of a debate.

Mr Nautiyal: Thank you very much.

Mr George Mammoliti (Yorkview): Mr Chair, on a point of order: I'd just like to know where the statistic 95% came from.

The Vice-Chair: That's clearly not a point of order. I'm not quite sure what you're referring to. That was a thing mentioned by Mr Morin. You might get that clarification outside the meeting of the committee.

I'm not sure whether the next presenter is here. Mr Hilsinger, of Algoma Country Adventures? Mr Quinney? No? Nobody here yet? Then we'll have to take an adjournment until 3:30, as Mr Hilsinger was scheduled for 3:30 and we owe it to him as a matter of courtesy to at least convene for 3:30. This committee stands adjourned until 3:30.

The committee recessed from 1453 to 1505.


The Vice-Chair: Sorry for the confusion. We were going to recess until 3:30, but apparently there was some confusion in terms of the scheduling. I'm sorry this happened. I am pleased to say that Terry Quinney, whom we had scheduled for 2 -- but I understand that according to your information you were only to come at 3:30 so you're actually early. Nevertheless, we do have that time slot available, and in order to use the time effectively, I'm glad you have agreed to make your presentation now on behalf of the Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters.

Mr Terry Quinney: Thank you, Mr Chairman. I hope the committee members have been provided with a copy of my remarks on behalf of the Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters this afternoon. I will be brief, in fact very brief, and I would invite you to follow along with me in the two pages of remarks I have.

Let me begin by thanking the committee for the opportunity for the Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters to appear before you in order to comment on Bill 171. My organization agrees with the intent of this legislation but believes that certain changes are necessary before we would recommend final passage. If I may, I will divide my comments into two parts. First they will be of a general nature for a few moments, and then I will make specific comments on certain sections of the bill itself.

In the way of general comments, clearly Ontario's crown forests supply multiple benefits and products simultaneously. Some of these products include things like wood but also wildlife habitat, recreational activities such as hunting and fishing, tourism etc. The point here is that all of those benefits and products I just identified are forest-cover-dependent. Furthermore, these products, as you well know, are worth billions of dollars annually to the provincial economy. For example, direct expenditures for recreational fishing and hunting alone in this province exceed $3 billion annually -- that's according to provincial and federal economic surveys -- and a great deal of this recreational fishing and hunting is, of course, forest-based.

If the intent of Bill 171 is to assist in ensuring a sustainable, continuous and predictable supply of these simultaneous multiple benefits and products, we are certainly in agreement with the intent of the bill.

Let us not forget that the activities of forest management being addressed in this legislation include things like tree harvesting, renewal, tending and protection, and access. All of these activities alter forest cover, manipulate forest cover.

In our view, the single greatest element which is lacking in this legislation but which, if present, would ensure the sustainability of our crown forests and simultaneously supply multiple benefits and products -- that missing element would be a clear, explicit and unambiguous statement that other forest-cover-dependent values be integrated, along with wood supply values, in forest management decisions. That would be the single most important change we would recommend to the legislation in front of you.

"Having regard for" or "concern for" forest-cover-dependent values such as wildlife habitat and recreational values, having regard for those types of products and benefits, yet on the other hand having explicit quantifiable objectives and strategies for wood supply -- we believe that approach, currently reflected in the legislation, is not going to achieve sustainability, will not guarantee that continuous supply of multiple benefits and products from our forests. What we need is legislation that will entrench clear objectives not only for wood supply -- there should be clear objectives for wood supply -- but, alongside those wood supply objectives, clear objectives for other forest-cover-dependent values like wildlife habitat, like recreational activities.

If I may just conclude our general comments on the bill, we would request that the purpose of the act be rewritten to incorporate what I have just said and that, similarly, an explicit definition of sustainability be included.

By way of specific comments, and I will do this in the order they appear in the act, we would offer some specific comments beginning with clause 7(2)(b). We are requesting that clause 7(2)(b) be reworded, and our suggested wording would be to the effect that:

"Forest management objectives and strategies will include non-timber values which are forest-cover-dependent, such as wildlife habitat and recreational activities, for example, hunting and fishing."

Our rationale behind this is that the Forest Management Planning Manual that has been identified in the act is going to play an extremely important role, obviously, in accomplishing the goals of the bill. We believe it's crucial that there be both explicit objectives in each forest management plan throughout the province for non-timber values, alongside wood supply objectives, and that forest-based hunting and fishing be explicitly included as recreational values and activities.

I apologize for the typo that follows, in the next paragraph in my submission. My next comments deal with section 11, not section 2, as I have provided in our written submission.

You will know that section 11 of the proposed legislation begins by stating, "If authorized by the regulations, a person may appeal a decision by the minister...." The Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters is recommending a rewording of that section, rewording that would make an appeal mechanism obligatory. We're recommending wording to the effect: "As authorized by the regulations, a person may appeal a decision by the minister to approve a forest management plan or to amend a forest management plan that the minister previously approved."

Our rationale behind that suggested rewording is that the present wording of the act doesn't permit an automatic right of appeal or its equivalent, and we believe very strongly that there should be a right of appeal.

In addition, we also strongly recommend that there be explicit statements that this Bill 171 will be prescribed under the Environmental Bill of Rights and that all of the conditions handed down in the recent timber environmental assessment decision be met by Bill 171.

I would now draw your attention to section 20. Currently, section 20 states, "The minister may enter into agreements with first nations for the joint exercise of any authority of the minister under this part."

The Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters recommends that this section be omitted, and our rationale is as follows. We've got serious problems with this section. Clearly, there are significant powers which could be exercised jointly. We believe that the loosening or tightening of standards otherwise applied uniformly across the province under a joint agreement could have extremely negative ramifications. Such agreements could create a checkerboard application of standards in the province based on political or other boundaries which wildlife, for example, do not respect.

If our rationale for omitting this section is rejected and such a section must be included, we strongly believe that it must be broadened to include conservation organizations like the Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters and must not be restricted to just first nations.

I have briefly two more sections to offer comments on, and then my specific remarks will be concluded.

I would draw your attention to section 62. Similar to section 20, we have reservations with this section also, for similar reasons to those I've just given in my previous rationale. As with section 20, section 62 is clouding the lines of responsibilities for decisions, and that adds to our concerns that there will be a checkerboard of standards for forestry practices across the province. Different board practices could spring up across the province. In the absence of further details concerning the makeup and operation or operations of these boards, we recommend that this section be omitted, but should our recommendation here not be accepted, we would request that such boards include Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters representation.

Finally, section 66 refers, among other things, to the proposed Forest Management Planning Manual. We wish to make a comment specifically with reference to the August 1 draft of this year, more specifically section 4.3.1 in the Forest Management Planning Manual, titled "Forest Sustainability Determination." I would refer the committee to page 150 of that draft manual, specifically lines 3 to 5 where we believe there's quite a serious typographical error. As a result, we have taken the liberty of recommending some rewording. We believe lines 3 to 5 on page 150 of that manual should read:

"A forest management plan will contain both timber management related objectives and objectives for non-timber values that can be achieved through the manipulation of forest cover."


Our rationale is simply that this is not only an important manual in achieving the goals of the act, but this is an extremely important section of the manual. In our view, as I previously stated, clear objectives for non-timber values, such as habitat for the featured species we have in this province, like moose and pine marten in the boreal forest and white-tailed deer and the pileated woodpecker in the Great Lakes/St Lawrence forest, plus clear objectives for forest-based recreational activities like hunting and fishing, are essential towards ensuring forest sustainability and the continued supply of multiple benefits and products from our crown land forests.

That, ladies and gentlemen, is the extent of the remarks on the act by the Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters.

Mr Morin: You've asked that the legislation be a little more explicit in the definition of "sustainability." Would you give us a definition of what the federation thinks sustainability is?

Mr Quinney: I would be pleased to attempt to verbally give you some elements that would need to be captured in such a definition. At a slightly later date, we'd be happy to provide something in writing, if you so desire.

From our perspective, a definition of sustainability must ensure that certain elements that are now present in the forest landscape -- let's go north, let's go to the boreal forest -- will always be on that landscape, no matter what forest management activities occur. What might some of those elements be? They might be as simple as maintaining moose or pine marten for ever on the landscape, and there are ways that managers, whether it be forest managers or wildlife managers, can accomplish that.

In the same regard, another essential element of forest sustainability, as far as we're concerned, would be to ensure in perpetuity that the recreational opportunities of hunting and fishing are there for ever.

Mr Hodgson: Thank you very much for coming in from Peterborough today. I found your presentation interesting.

You've mentioned a couple of things in detail, section 20. Would that not be covered if the province had a uniform conservation policy in terms of wildlife? I envision that section to be in terms of timber arrangements with the crown to supply some of the native sawmills where they don't have tenure right now, or a crown unit or they're not the first licence holder on an FMA. You've interpreted that to mean management of the whole area, so you're worried about different conservation policies being enforced across the province where species don't relate to travel. Is that correct?

Mr Quinney: Yes, that's correct. It's our understanding that the intent of this act, and we agree with that, is that the time has arrived in this province for all of us to move from simply managing the forest for timber and wood-related values to other values as well. We agree with that intent, but given that intent, we interpreted section 20 as including joint exercise of authority for all forest-management-related activities. In other words, they would not be restricted to just timber activities, they could in fact involve fish and wildlife, and we've got real concerns there.

Mr Hodgson: You've probably been following the hearings. We were up in northern Ontario for two weeks and it was suggested by some people that other users of the forest and the timber would have to pay for it outside of what's in the provincial interest, of a buffer zone around lakes to protect the Ontario water quality and the fish habitat, and that if you wanted more buffer areas or tree cover areas, the lumber interests or the pulp and paper wouldn't have to pay for that in their area charges but it would be picked up in other charges similar to the management area charges that we're presently paying, docking licences. Do you have any comments on that? Have you ever heard that before?

Mr Quinney: If the comment is that only crown land recreationists should be paying a fee for use of a land base that is jointly owned by all of us, we would vociferously disagree. What we are trying to attempt to convey at this point in time, and have for several years now, is that multiple interests can share the land base. There are not only technical methods to accomplish that sharing of the land base and producing multiple benefits, but there are socially acceptable ways of accomplishing that as well.

Mr Wood: Thank you for the comments. You're saying you support Bill 171, with some amendments. In our opinion, the drafting of Bill 171 covers the conditions of the timber EA that was handed down, and we're bound by it; that local committees, the community forest groups as they're named right now, would be involved in this. We feel that particular area is covered.

Mr Quinney: We appreciate that reassurance.

Mr Wood: Your membership covers a large area, and I know some of them are involved in local committees in the Kapuskasing and Timmins area and have been quite active in advising, as we're proceeding right now, on community forest and one thing or another.

Another area I want to cover is that you're saying section 20 should be eliminated. In the area of northeastern Ontario which I represent, there are a number of agreements in place right now; Lecours sawmill, for example, with the union, that 50% of the workforce in the sawmill will be of native population. This is to try to eliminate the massive unemployment, because in some of the areas 90% or 95% are unemployed. These agreements are there. In New Post there are agreements worked out for tree planting and harvesting. The intention is that, if possible, the resources should be used to create employment and allow the native population to be involved, and it has been done over the years. I'm a little concerned when you're saying it should be omitted, although you clarified a little further, with Chris, what you meant. But in terms of timber and the forest, they have been involved for a number of years with agreements and have been very satisfactory. It's continued in Bill 171, saying there are partnerships that can be worked out.

Mr Quinney: I think that would help with our understanding of the intent of that section. We had some concerns about -- how shall I say it? -- ultimate accountability. If the minister should transfer ultimate authority to an agency other than the crown, we of course would ask who is accountable. But I think you have helped clarify that.

The Vice-Chair: Thank you very much for appearing before the committee. Please accept our apologies again for the confusion in terms of the timing, but we are glad we could accommodate you anyway.



The Vice-Chair: The next presenter on the agenda, Mr Hilsinger, has agreed to make his presentation a little later, because we had another mixup. Professor Bull, of the University of Toronto, was originally scheduled to appear; he actually has come and would like to speak to the committee, and I'm sure the committee would like to hear from him. Please introduce yourself and your function within the university, and if possible perhaps we can keep it to a bit less than 30 minutes altogether with questions and answers so we can get to Mr Hilsinger as well and stay somewhat within the time lines of the committee.

Mr Gary Bull: Thank you. I'm happy to appear before you. I am not a professor at the University of Toronto. I am affiliated with the University of Toronto. I act as an independent consultant particularly doing a lot of socioeconomic studies in Ontario at the moment and other parts of Canada as well. My background, though, is in forestry and economics primarily.

I will start, unlike Terry Quinney before me, and look at specifics within the legislation, two pieces, section 7 and section 12, and then I will go through some more general comments. In order to stay within the time line I will keep my comments brief and eliminate portions of my prepared text, which I can hand on to one of your assistants.

The first section I'd like to comment on is clauses 7(2)(a) and (b). I am in agreement with Dr Quinney that this section of the act should be rewritten. The way it currently reads sounds suspiciously like another timber management planning process, since only due regard will be paid to anything other than timber, in my opinion. As a consultant who is actively involved in preparation of plans in the social, cultural and economic field, I am convinced that much more information could be included in the forest management plan than the current timber management planning process allows or the current draft document of the Forest Management Planning Manual permits; I'm referring to the August draft.

My suggestion is that it should be changed to read something like this, starting at subsection (2), to: "describe the forest management objectives and strategies for forest, water, soil and air applicable to each management unit. This will include a consideration and assessment of the social, economic and cultural values attached with each objective and strategy." I see no reason, as a consultant, why this can't be done. Even though it sounds ambitious, I still think it can be accomplished within a limited time frame.

The second section of the act I would like to refer to is section 12, and my concern with this section is twofold. This is to do with the local citizens' committees. First, it does not clarify who will choose the local citizens' committee if indeed it is even created, and it does not give sufficient decision-making authority to the committee itself. In my experience with two Ontario communities this year, I have seen them reject the OMNR's citizens' committees and in their place create their own. The reasons for doing so were straightforward.

First of all, in many cases the MNR, due to increasing budgetary cutbacks, no longer has staff residing in those communities. This has meant a significant loss in contact with important community leaders.

Second, the communities want to define their own futures without provincial or federal government interference. Recognizing that the debt crisis in this country means less moneys available for creating employment and economic development, they want more control of the natural resource planning process that will determine their future.

Third, decentralized decision-making is here to stay, and this section of the bill should reflect the willingness of the minister to accept, even embrace, this change. This means the OMNR does not get to necessarily choose the committee or dictate the process by which the decisions are made. Instead, they sit at the table giving advice and direction where necessary. The attitude of the OMNR official should be, "How can I be of help in solving your problems?"

I suggest there are already models available in Canada that the OMNR could follow. The first is with the federal government program under industry adjustment services of Human Resources Development Canada. I have worked with these people and I am very impressed with how they have worked with communities already in Ontario. Second, there are models within Parks Canada with how they go about setting and designing national parks within Canada, and they have a very different process than the one I see coming out of this legislation.

I could take you to many other parts of the world, from the Philippines to New Zealand to India to Germany, and illustrate fundamental changes that are taking place in forest-based communities. All of them are following a similar citizen committee approach to planning. My concern is that the way section 12 is written at the moment does not capture that change we've seen in other jurisdictions.

I would like to make, finally, some brief comments on the definition question. I will ignore what I've written on forest ecosystems and forest resource. Unlike Dr Quinney, I want to congratulate the drafters of the bill for not defining sustainability. I think, after doing research in this area for a number of years, that it is a concept which defies definition. I want to just briefly illustrate. I'll give you three reasons why I say so.

The Americans in 1966 drafted a bill called the Multiple-Use Sustained-Yield Act, and in that act they attempted to define "multiple use." Now, "sustainability" as a term is very similar to "multiple use" in that it's a conceptual space-time definition that's very hard to get a handle on. Even though they did go ahead and put a definition into legislation, it did not, 30 years after the act, help in any way whatsoever. Defining concepts sometimes is not helpful at all, so I would recommend that sustainability not be defined.

Second, and I say this even talking with my European colleagues, sustainability will have to be regionally, if not locally, defined, in most cases because the application of the concept requires the people most affected to convert the concept into a workable process for forest planning. That's where I think the ideas have to be articulated.

Finally, I wanted to comment on the Forest Management Planning Manual. In the explanatory notes it says, "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." My translation of that explanatory note is as follows: "The failure or success of the proposed Crown Forest Sustainability Act will largely be determined by the Forest Management Planning Manual. Furthermore, the Ministry of Natural Resources will continue to have effective control over the future of many communities in Ontario, since they control the framework, ie, the planning manual, and the process for resource decision-making."

I would suggest that this explanatory note, along with section 12 just discussed, are essential ingredients to what in the political science literature is termed top-down approaches to planning. I suggest that surely the act can provide some guarantee to prevent this from happening, as it is completely contrary to planning in most other democratic jurisdictions worldwide.

There are important lessons from history on what constitutes good legislation on forest areas. I suggest that MNR examine the absolute disaster in the United States Forest Service planning system as a result of bad planning, and that was based on the act I referred to from 1966. I wouldn't want to see Ontario follow in the path of our southern neighbours, a path we have too often taken in the past.

Therefore, I recommend that the legislation be far more explicit about the contents of the manual, particularly in section 7, and that the initial draft of the manual be subjected to rigorous examination by representatives of groups of industry, communities, labour, environmentalists and academics to ensure that the manual is designed to accommodate the knowledge and interests of all concerned. This does not have to be a prolonged consultation process; in fact, it could be done in less than a week, as far as I am concerned, and then the MNR could be better assured of using a framework with which everyone generally agrees.

Finally, I just wanted to mention that I am equally concerned that the act does not cover private forest land. I realize it's the Crown Forest Sustainability Act, but the concept of sustainability is not limited to crown land, and I think we are creating a problem for ourselves, particularly in central and southern Ontario, by not having its inclusion. Thank you.


Mr Hodgson: Thank you very much, Gary; I enjoyed your presentation. I'd like to thank you for the work you've been doing in Haliburton county, and I look forward to seeing your report on that.

Do you want to elaborate on what you were just talking about, sustainability of private lands and crown lands, in terms of whether you're talking about volumes of timber?

Mr Bull: In the area I am currently doing a research study in, for example, 80% of the land base is private land and 20% is public land. Obviously, the MNR has a mandate to manage timber on crown forests, but its control over private land is not very well defined; in fact, I would suggest there is very little control. So we find that wood-processing industries are without information, cannot make planning decisions, cannot make investment decisions of any kind. And the MNR is short-staffed so it cannot go out and serve in the role it used to serve. I think they used to take on this role in the past, sort of to be good citizens, but no longer can fulfill that role. So we have a fundamental problem in central Ontario in particular, and southern Ontario as well, because there is now clearly a gap. I have seen evidence in Haliburton county of what I would call unsustainable forestry practices as a result of this gap in the legislation and policy.

Mr Wood: There are two areas I want to cover briefly. If I'm hearing you right, you're saying that sustainability, provincially, regionally, locally -- locally is the area we should be emphasizing and cover under the manuals?

Mr Bull: Yes.

Mr Wood: You've also said we should be very rigorously going through the manuals and regulations. This is the intent at the end of September, beginning of October, to bring everybody together who has been involved -- some of them maybe had vacation during the summer, whatever -- and go through everything with a fine-tooth comb and make sure the third draft of the manuals and regulations are exactly what you're saying, that they're what they should be.

Mr Bull: The reason I made that comment was because the creation of these manuals often is more important than the legislation itself. In fact, that was the US experience, that we handed to government or bureaucracy the right to write the manuals. In fact, it did not encompass many ideas that people wanted encompassed, so it led, after 25 years and millions of dollars of work, to a disaster. I am trying to warn you of how important that manual is to the whole process, to the legislative process as well.

Mr Wood: We heed your warning, sir. Thank you for coming forward.

Mr Brown: Thank you for coming, because you've brought some new information to us, which we appreciate.

Again I'm perplexed. You prefer not to have a definition of sustainability. Over the past two or three weeks, we've had several different definitions of sustainability put forward, probably more than several. But the bigger question is, is this an act about the sustainability of forests to start with?

We've had people say: "This is a fraud. It has nothing to do with sustainability. It has everything to do with sales. We've got a buzzword here and we're going to go with it."

Also, at least two groups have told us that they believe this act will trigger a forest environmental assessment, not a timber environmental assessment -- you no doubt know the history of that -- and it looks to those groups as if all that has happened with this act is that someone has gone through and everywhere it used to say "timber," now we're going to say "forest."

This is the kind of conflicting information the committee has been getting over the past three weeks, and I wonder if you could help us. Do you really believe this significantly changes the approach to forest management from timber management? Does it significantly move us down that road?

Mr Bull: I think there is enough there that one could say it's moving you towards forest management, but I think section 7 is deeply flawed. What we end up with continuously is this emphasis on things we can measure, and the things we may find difficult to measure we will call "due regard," that we will give due regard to it.

As someone who trained in biology for a long time, I think there are ways to measure recreation use. I go out and do it all the time as a consultant. I say to the community: "Look, I can give you the first rough cut. I can tell you what I think is the best estimate by talking with the people who know the most about this particular subject and I can put all this together in a package for you." Now, we know there are ways to refine this information and improve it, but I think we need to approach planning a forest with a much broader perspective.

To me, the critical thing actually is the planning manual more than the actual legislation. I don't think the legislation prevents you from doing that, except for section 7. The contents of the planning manual needs to be strengthened by section 7 of the act.

Mr Brown: But the responsibilities here are all for timber, all for timber; we're managing for timber. That's what this act is about. There are not equal responsibilities or equal opportunity for input from the other users. You go out and essentially you come up with a timber plan, and I think that's what you're telling me when you're talking about section 7 and how that may work in the planning process.


Mr Bull: Again, I'm not sure what the politics of all this is. I'm an independent.

Mr Brown: You're not sure.

The Vice-Chair: I can't advise you either. I'm not sure what the politics are.

Mr Bull: I can't say that when I read this bill I felt, wow, this is a really progressive piece of legislation in terms of recognizing all the non-timber values. I have to say that, after having looked at legislation right across the country and the United States and elsewhere. At the same time, I think there is still sufficient room within the bill to make accommodation for the non-timber concerns that many of us have. I don't think it takes a lot of reworking to do that, but I do think it's important for it to appear in the legislation so that the MNR, when it writes the manuals, has sufficient meat, a framework on which to design that manual. That's my major concern.

The Vice-Chair: Thank you for coming. We're glad we were able to adjust the schedule to accommodate you.



The Vice-Chair: Our last presenter will be Mr Hilsinger, representing Algoma Country Adventures. Welcome, this time in Toronto. I think last time we saw you up in the Sault. I think you want to make use of the audio-visuals.

Mr J.J. Hilsinger: I'm going to address a few remarks and then I have my video ready to plug in.

The Vice-Chair: Go right ahead.

Mr Hilsinger: Thank you for this opportunity. I thought I would take a different tack and, hopefully, it will be productive. Rather than give you specific comments on the proposed Bill 171, like most presenters, I will give you timely firsthand experience from the field. You will therefore see from another viewpoint that the legislation still needs greater dimension and energy.

I make this presentation on behalf of Algoma Country Adventures, a group of tourist operators located northeast of Sault Ste Marie, including Searchmont, a year-round resort destination.

We believe that under sustainable conditions, not yet specified, timber should be harvested. We also believe, according to our recent experience, that most forestry practices are destructive and not supportive of other users; that brokering tourist interests is difficult, if not next to impossible.

Beyond the basics of a doughnut or a simple AOC, there is little patience for tourism and other user values. This happens despite global recognition that forestry is a diminishing industry, while ecotourism is on a worldwide growth trend into the 21st century. We note that when the land and its features are gone, there is no opportunity for present or emerging products.

The face of tourism is multifaceted, multidirectional. Foresters talk like it's a fixed commodity, and their sensitivities, decisions and tolerance reflect this. They believe their job "is a messy business." They describe the fact that "Nature will repair itself, in time." These are comments of a cross-section of forestry people in MNR. They say, "Nature will repair itself, in time," while they continue to desecrate trails, views and forest access for hunters and anglers in the pursuit of the almighty two by fours. They fail to realize that a tourism product, be it a mountain biking trail or a remote tourism establishment, has values that, once violated, make the main product unsaleable -- for ever.

Marketing of tourism products takes years and much investment. Foresters think you can change the specifications at whim and the travelling public will simply accept the changes from the advertised product, and they think their endless intrusion of superhighways and roads into the hinterland can magically not influence the biodiversity of our forests and the future of our harvest. Forest-cutting companies and the MNR regularly apologize for the shortsightedness of the past, at hearing after hearing, saying, "Trust us for the future." Our experience tells us this is impossible.

Four years ago, we believe we had a typical state-of-the-system experience when a group I represent accepted an invitation to participate in a joint user group overseeing a two-township cut. We celebrated the joy of inclusion and diligently presented ideas about sustainable harvesting, use of equipment, seasonal harvesting method and respect for tourism values. "Let's do such a good job we can create a tourism opportunity," we said, "a showcase for state-of-the-art forestry practices that we can direct visitors to see."

However, we found that current logging practices meant huge equipment, mangled landscape, wide roads, cheap, uneducated cutting labour, no communication between planners and field, inaccessible land after harvesting, rutted landscape from skidders and erosion and, most of all, lipservice to the other people around the table.

This is the current state of the system. The Ministry of Natural Resources and forest cutters say, "Trust us."

If the general public of Ontario saw on a firsthand basis the way the forests are mangled, they would be appalled. Unfortunately, the ecotourism industry has no economic clout to change the policy that users will be consulted but ultimately trees will be cut.

Our experience shows us that the Ministry of Natural Resources is really the department of forestry and that a forest industry business will get the cheap and expedient to do the cutting job in the field. The Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Recreation is a minor ministry compared to MNR and has no influence in negotiating forest uses. Tourism does not have powerful supporters like forestry. Few people in MNR and the collective forest industry tolerate long-term economic arguments in support of tourism, which is hard-pressed to overcome the obvious economic buzz of a pile of two by fours on a 30-year cycle.

What is ecotourism? Better-known activities include hiking, skiing, hunting, fishing, sight-seeing, kayaking, canoeing, snow-machining. What is the tourism industry? It is the angler who wants to hike through the forest to go fishing, the gas station, the restaurant, the souvenir shop, the grocery store, the resort. It is the muffler shop operator, the Hudson Bay blanket store, the small motor shop, the local recreation committee. It is all of these and more. But did you know that rock-climbing, telemark tree skiing, mountain biking, birding, photography and art are also important activities and products that ecotourism businesses are built around that are very popular exploits?

How do you measure the growth or the potential for tourism? Programs exist and are rapidly expanding in the outdoor environment to deal with natural sciences, personal outdoor skills, business and communication skills, health and recreation.

Ecotourism as an industry is just now emerging. Companies and bureaucrats think in a two-by-four fashion and are intent on rationalizing the last stand for harvest rather than understanding the sweeping changes occurring in forest uses and users and the need to leave remaining habitat so we can compete on the world tourism stage.

There were arguments presented by foresters to this committee stating that tourism should pay its way. We submit that tourism is in fact in the public interest and that forestry should realize that paying your way without a set of principles, values and long-term goals is deficit planning not beneficial to the public interest or to tourism.

Which forest cutters do you know that relish the berry bushes by the side of the road to attract $150-a-day spenders riding bicycles; the lone white pine on the top of the mountain remaining in its place for ever; forests to hike and bike through, not around; absence of traffic, especially heavy equipment and trucks; focus on natural sounds, not engines; unmolested land-form features such as creeks, waterfalls and variations in the natural terrain?

No one wants to understand enough to rewrite the economic equations to face hard realities of evidence, especially that active tourism and forestry do not mix. Joint use in many cases is a total myth. This is our experience.

Our group submits:

-- That land use principles need to be better established. Some areas are more supportive of forestry, others of tourism, but in any case, once the values are assigned, forestry should become a gentler, kinder industry with greater brains and intelligence, not bigger machines that wipe out years of new growth and 25% of the forest to get one tree.

-- That tourism needs are deep in cultural, historical, social interface and spiritual land relationships, all totally opposite to objectives of forestry.

-- That the tourism industry needs the integrity of very long-term planning for its sustenance and viability.

-- That there are not enough guidelines in the sustainable forestry plan to protect tourism values, including trails, and when forestry pays for trees and cutting rights, it is borrowing from the public and does not have the right to alter the biodiversity or the face of the land.

Finally, the MNR has no control over private lands, whose owners are some of the worst desecrators of land. They too must be held morally responsible for new sustainable land practices. I present a video to you of this experience this last spring.

Video presentation.


Mr Hilsinger: That is our experience. Thank you.

The Vice-Chair: Thank you for this rather unique presentation.

Mr Gordon Mills (Durham East): Thank you for coming this afternoon. I see "Algoma Country Adventures" and presume you're in the tourism business and conduct some sort of adventure up there. What is your business?

Mr Hilsinger: I'm the proprietor of the resort and of a place called Algoma's Water Tower Inn.

Mr Mills: I see. So folks come up there and ride bicycles and things like that?

Mr Hilsinger: The resort is primarily a ski area. It's a major northern Ontario resort ski destination. About a third of its business comes from the US and the balance locally and northern Ontario.

Mr Mills: From your presentation, I didn't exactly get the feeling that you were a proponent of this legislation, but I want to be specific and ask you a couple of questions. Have you read the bill? Having assumed that you read the bill, is there anything you see in there that will be of benefit to you in your area in the future?

Mr Hilsinger: We're aware of some sensitivities towards a more balanced approach between tourism and the traditional forestry, tree-harvesting, tree-cutting scenarios. However, there are many more specifics needed in Bill 171. I won't be specific about all the different parts of it, but in general it has to understand and take into account that ecotourism and the public values it represents will be in much greater demand than cutting trees out of a forest in the future.

We need wood. I have 50 loads of wood in my hotel. It's a key part of the decor of that hotel. We support wood harvesting, but not under the conditions it is now allowed to do.

The bill should be somehow re-educating the people who have responsibility for harvesting, because what happens is that the activity is going out in these remote places, and the place in the video is just down the street from where we are, and it still becomes an appalling mess. Foresters don't talk similar words compared to what the public in general and ecotourism needs to be able to use the land mass in the future. It's a different mentality, totally different intellect.

Mr Mills: In all honesty, could you say this bill is a step in the right direction?

Mr Hilsinger: I think it's a step in the right direction, but we need to leapfrog in the right direction.

Mr Mills: Thank you for coming. It's a long trip.

Mr Wood: With all the users of the resources, the forest, and the sustainability of it, local committees getting all the stakeholders involved, do you believe this is the right way of ironing out differences and conflicts: getting them all around the same table and maybe dancing in the middle of the same table, using the local committees?

Mr Hilsinger: It didn't work in the States. It didn't work. Tuppershields advisory group was the local region's attempt to bring people together and talk about joint use and more sensitive ways of logging that Tuppershields cut. As it turned out, it was of no benefit because they did what they wanted anyway. There were a few small concessions, but there were three major violations, this being the last.

I guess we surrendered at one point, because you can't tell them they can't cut because they've got the rights to cut. But the bottom line is that they agreed they were going to be more sensitive in protecting certain areas and did step in that direction and in fact built a different road so they would stay off that Crew Lake trail, but they desecrated the trail anyway. They didn't follow through on their intentions. They promised intensively that they would not touch that special trail for bicycles, and you saw what happened. This is a deep violation of trust and it's a deep violation of people's intelligence, that you want to work with them and then do such awful things.

Mr Wood: This is unfortunate.

Mr Hilsinger: But it's happening all over. I think the public has to see, go into the places we didn't even talk about. There is not much that's nice about forestry. Forestry says: "Ours is a messy business. Nature will take it back." I'm sorry, those are no longer current attitudes that you can have if you're going to talk about sustainable forestry. The bill should address these kinds of things.

Mr Brown: Mr Hilsinger, that's the second time I've seen that. A number of the members of the committee watched it as we went from Sault Ste Marie to Espanola. There was a community advisory committee in place, so that in and of itself probably isn't the answer; it didn't work. We heard a presenter in Thunder Bay make a rather unique analogy, saying that the French Revolution also had community advisory committees and they didn't necessarily have the right result either.

After the fact, did the community advisory committee then view what happened to it? Did you get everybody together again in an ongoing committee and say: "Gee, this isn't what we were told was going to happen. MNR, what are you going to do about it?"

Mr Hilsinger: We have been prompting the MNR to have a joint meeting and they have not done so. However, in the meantime I met with the people from the forestry company and the MNR -- this was not the official Tuppershields committee -- to show this video and discuss it openly around the table. Some of the comments I gave you are those kind of comments we heard.

The person who is responsible in the forest company now is a different person than was responsible during this activity. He was also a presenter at this hearing in Sault Ste Marie, and I have since been with him on a mountain bike, believe it or not. This is my mission, to get forest cutters and people who participate in the woods and harvesting to get on a bike and see it from a general tourist, other-users level. Anyway, we've been out and we've talked about some of these things. By the way, the yellow pails did not come from them.

Mr Brown: I'm not clear about who formed the committee. Was it the ministry? Was it the company?

Mr Hilsinger: The ministry formed a joint user group to supervise the Tuppershields cut, the two-township cut.

Mr Brown: And supervision didn't include a follow-up inspection, from the committee's standpoint?

Mr Hilsinger: Basically, these kinds of initiatives are perhaps well intentioned, but the mentality that's coming forward in any case is: "The forest will be cut. You are only being consulted as a courtesy." Always, when you push for certain ideas and ideals, the bottom line is that you don't matter. I'm talking about users such as trappers etc. They'll make minor variations, but the bottom line is that it's going to get cut and you're going to be affected.

Mr Brown: The very same company at the Sault Ste Marie hearings suggested that perhaps for other commercial ventures, ie, tourism, it may be fair to set aside lands specifically for them, not for multi-use but for single-purpose use or tourism use, but they could not, in their minds, decide how it was fair that they had to pay the area charge on an area that was set aside for someone else. Do you think the tourism community would be prepared to pay the area charges and the other charges that the crown may forgo to set aside the area for tourism?

He made the point. I'm just asking for your response.

Mr Hilsinger: I don't know what forestry companies pay for area charges. We'll put out 3,000 mountain bikers there this summer; I'd be glad to pay you $2 out of the trail fee, something like this. I don't know. Many ski areas in the States pay leases for land. This is not unheard of, and these are things that are possible.

But as I was alluding to and pointing out in my report, how do you measure whether the resort or the public interest is being met, and the broader face of tourism? There's a strong public value in being more sensitive and having stronger regulations on joint use of the forest, or single use, if it may be, and how you assign the values is very difficult.


Mr Hodgson: Thank you, Mr Hilsinger. That's the second time I've seen the video, and it's a powerful way to present a message. It's proved very successful.

Mr Hilsinger: That was basically home video. There was no huge production team behind that. That cost us $300.

Mr Hodgson: I did one the same for my campaign.

On the education, you mentioned ecotourism. I've had a bit of experience in that, that we're trying at our community college. That was the focus we're going on.

Mr Hilsinger: Sioux college?

Mr Hodgson: It's in Haliburton. I think it's the first course on ecotourism. We're trying to run it this fall, and I was part of the steering on that.

I'd like to go back to Mr Mills's question. He asked, is there anything in this bill that helps you get there? It's our intent that eventually, through education, we will have multi-use of our crown resource, and it is public lands we're talking about. I think everybody agrees on the intent. But do you see anything in this bill that will stop us from going in that direction?

Mr Hilsinger: In the bill itself, I can't think for the moment, but the main problem with going in that direction is that they continue to make a mess in the woods as we sit here and talk, and they continue to desecrate the outdoors irresponsibly and take other users for granted. This "Trust us" attitude and the continual apology you hear when you go to different hearings, for different reasons, the apologetic attitude -- at some point you've got to say: "We don't trust. Stop apologizing and stop cutting." If this bill can somehow create more stringent conditions under which a company has to stop cutting until they educate people on how to harvest and use more sensitive methods of harvesting, perhaps that should be in the bill.

Mr Hodgson: One person suggested to us that the only way you're really going to get to where you want to go is if you have multi-use allowed on the crown land, but allow for compensation to be given to a tourist outfitter or to a person like yourself if one person's use destroys, goes outside the agreement, is a major violation of the other person's use. Have you thought about that at all? When you looked at your trail that was ruined, did you think of suing for compensation?

Mr Hilsinger: That was proposed, but I don't think it's going to be of any benefit for us to divert our time to do so. I'm trying to do my best to work with the forest industry. We need a lot of help out of a 171, an expanded 171. As I say, I believe it needs a lot more dimension and energy. You have to understand how powerless you are out there in the face of traditional thinking that's gone on for 50 or 75 years, when they believe they have the right to do exactly what they want. Other users are just like dust in the wind.

Mr Hodgson: I'm suggesting that might be changing with courses like ours. It was a lumbering industry and now we're going towards some kind of shared multi-use, and ecotourism is going to be taught in the college.

Mr Hilsinger: Talk about your Huntsville and that area. They've already blown it. The trees are gone. There's the prime Muskoka area, but there are huge tracts where you've lost the character of the land. The same thing is going to happen up north, and you don't have anything to use for a product and ecotourism when all of that's gone.

The Vice-Chair: Mr Hilsinger, you've certainly, at the conclusion of these hearings, brought some rather dramatic visual images and also some dramatic comments to our attention. I'm sure the committee will consider it carefully. Thank you very much for coming down here.

This will conclude the public hearings on Bill 171. Before we adjourn, I would like to remind all parties, particularly the critics, if at all possible to put forward the amendments they may be suggesting to the clerk by September 8 so the clerk can distribute them. Mr Brown, you had a question?

Mr Brown: Not really a question; just a comment. We, the Liberal Party, will certainly endeavour to have as many as possible of our amendments to the clerk by September 8, but people should understand that logistically there is at least some problem. We need to wait for the final legislative research summary. To do our job properly, we have to wait to review the Hansards of this week, and there's still a little of that to come. We may then take it to legal counsel. We will commit to do our best to have them all to the committee, and I hope the government and the other party do also, but logistically, with the holiday weekend, this may be a problem. We'll have as many as we can, is what I'm saying.

The Vice-Chair: I think that's understood. It's appreciated.

Are there any further questions or comments? This committee stands adjourned until September 12, 2 o'clock in the afternoon, here in this room.

The committee adjourned at 1626.