Thursday 3 November 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


*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)

*Hope, Randy R. (Chatham-Kent ND)

Johnson, David (Don Mills PC)

Mammoliti, George (Yorkview ND)

*Morrow, Mark (Wentworth East/-Est ND)

Sorbara, Gregory S. (York Centre L)

*Wessenger, Paul (Simcoe Centre ND)

White, Drummond (Durham Centre ND)

*In attendance / présents

Substitutions present / Membres remplaçants présents:

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

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

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

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

Also taking part / Autres participants et participantes:

Wood, Len, parliamentary assistant to Minister of Natural Resources

Clerk / Greffier: Carrozza, Franco

Staff / Personnel: Filion, Sibylle, legislative counsel

The committee met at 1015 in room 151.


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): This committee is now in session. I hope you all had a good remaining summer and are keen and eager to continue the clause-by-clause on Bill 171.

I understand from the clerk that when the committee last sat, we had an amendment moved already, to section 29, by Mr Hodgson. There is now debate on the amendment to section 29. Is there any further debate?

Mr Gary Carr (Oakville South): Just on a point of order, Mr Chair: Did he speak to that already? I can't remember.

The Vice-Chair: I'm informed that Mr Hodgson did speak to the amendment at the time, but you can still speak to it, if you want.

Mr Carr: Maybe you could refresh my memory whether there was a reply from the government, whether they looked like they would accept it. Do you remember? The parliamentary assistant can maybe tell us.

Mr Len Wood (Cochrane North): Our response was that it would not be acceptable.

Mr Carr: Okay. I won't spend so much time trying to convince you then. Thank you. I've learned my lesson.

The Vice-Chair: Are you ready for the vote then? All those in favour of Mr Hodgson's --

Mr Michael A. Brown (Algoma-Manitoulin): Could you just give us one second while we try to figure out where --

The Vice-Chair: Okay. We'll give you a couple of seconds. Amendment to section 29. It's in your bundle and it's, I think, number 38. Are we ready?

Mr Brown: This amendment is the one -- just so I can be clear about what we're voting on here, Mr Chair -- the Tory amendment and it says:


"(4) The annual charge shall be restricted to productive forest area...."

That's the one?

The Vice-Chair: That's correct.

Mr Brown: I will just indicate briefly that the Liberal Party favours this amendment.

The Vice-Chair: All those in favour of Mr Hodgson's amendment? Opposed? The amendment is lost.

Are there any further amendments to section 29? All those in favour of section 29?

Mr Randy R. Hope (Chatham-Kent): As amended.

The Vice-Chair: As amended.

Clerk of the Committee (Mr Franco Carrozza): No, there's no amendment.

The Vice-Chair: No. I'm sorry. They're getting me confused here.

All those in favour of section 29? All those opposed? Carried.

Before we move on to the next section, I just would like to draw your attention to the additional amendments that have been placed before you. These amendments come from the government. I understand that there are amendments to two sections that the committee has already voted on, and moving these amendments would require unanimous consent. There's one in particular to section 23 we'd have to go back to.

Also, I understand that in my absence you went ahead to section 66 and took that in advance of approving all the other sections, so on that as well we'd have to have unanimous consent. Do you want to deal with these two items now or do you want to go on to section 30?

Mr Carr: My feeling is that we should probably deal with them now and get them done with and go back and get the unanimous consent.

The Vice-Chair: Is this agreeable to the committee? Agreed.

Is there unanimous consent to reopen section 23? Agreed.

Mr Wood: I move that section 23 of the bill be amended by adding the following subsections:


"(1.1) A licence under this section may be granted for a term of up to 20 years and the term shall be extended in accordance with subsection (1.3).

"Five-year review

"(1.2) During the term of the licence, the minister shall conduct a review every five years to ensure that the licensee has complied with the terms and conditions of the licence.

"Extension of term

"(1.3) If a review conducted under subsection (1.2) satisfies the minister that the licensee has complied with the terms and conditions of a licence, the minister shall, with the approval of the Lieutenant Governor in Council, extend the term of the licence for five years."

The industry has raised some concern about security of raw material during the last few weeks, and we feel that the amendment to section 23 will address the concerns out there. Basically, the motion carries the evergreen clause over from the FMAs into the legislation itself and provides the opportunity of a sustainable forest licence being extended indefinitely, based on satisfactory performance. We feel that we've listened to the concerns out there and we're addressing them by this amendment.

Mr Carr: During the hearings, I know on this section there was some concern about the broad powers given to the ministry. It's my understanding, as the parliamentary assistant mentioned, that the forest industry and the various companies agreed to this amendment, and so on. So that is the understanding, that this has been the agreement that they agree on and you worked it out together?

Mr Wood: Yes. The information we have is that this basically is going to have investor confidence out there and this is one of their concerns as well.

Mr Carr: Okay. So if I were to ask all those people, they would say yes, this is one we should agree with? That's your understanding?

Mr Wood: They are quite satisfied that we are moving the amendments that are coming forward, yes.

Mr Carr: Okay. I'll take your word for it. Thank you.

Mr Brown: I won't take the parliamentary assistant's word for it because I have been in discussions with some industry groups. Maybe I could quote what they are saying about this particular amendment. "In our view, the proposed amendments do not change the fundamental proposition here."

They are not satisfied. That is what I've been told; that's what we've heard in writing. So to present this as something the industry is in favour of may reflect certain portions of the industry -- I have no idea who the ministry talked to, but certainly at least one major player doesn't believe it addresses the issue, and it doesn't address the issue, because while it puts a maximum on, the minister still has huge discretion. The minister still has the ability to cancel a licence at any point that the minister sees fit, and that is a major concern that is not being addressed whatever in this amendment. It puts on a maximum, but it doesn't provide a minimum, and that's problematic. The minister still has huge discretion.

To help out Mr Carr, I think that if he went back and got on the phone, he would find that the industry is not exactly wild about this proposed amendment and doesn't really believe that it enhances tenure in any tangible way. I think Mr Wood should know that tenure is one of the most contentious parts of this bill.

If you have a look at this bill, it's called "forest sustainability." It's a bill that doesn't define "forest sustainability" in its purpose clause, so we're not sure why we need it from that perspective. We're not sure all the good things the parliamentary assistant says are happening wouldn't be just happening if the terms and conditions of the forest EA, the class EA, were followed under the present Crown Timber Act. We don't need this legislation to establish the forest trust he's so proud of; the Legislature passed that some months ago.

One of the basic parts of this bill is the tenure section. We have people who are in favour of more flexibility. We have people who are in favour of more security of tenure. We have people who believe that this may not achieve either; that we may not get more flexibility and we also lose the aspect of security under this change to the way tenure is looked at in the province of Ontario.

It is a significant problem, as all members would know. The problem of wood supply to mills is critical. You cannot make an investment or convince a bank or talk to the investment community in general to invest funds if security of wood supply is not there and guaranteed. The parliamentary assistant would know full well, as every government in the province's history has known, that you are always having difficulties with certain mills saying, "We don't have enough supply" and others not willing to give up some of theirs for those kinds of reasons.

We think the government should really be taking a step back on this particular issue, because it's one of the fundamental sections of this bill, and going out and talking to the people involved again and trying to come up with a consensus on how to deal with tenure so it achieves what the government is, I suspect, hoping to achieve here; and that is, to provide communities, companies, workers with a reliable source of fibre for their enterprise, whether that be softwood lumber, whether that be pulp and paper, whether that be newsprint, whether that be veneers -- whatever it happens to be. We don't think this particular approach is very helpful and we don't understand why the ministry cannot go back and come up with a consensus of people to come to some agreement on how this works.

What we are essentially doing here is granting the minister huge discretion over decisions on wood supply. I asked the parliamentary assistant some months ago now if he would provide us with the criteria upon which ministers of Natural Resources would make the decision about who gets what wood when, when there is a surplus declared. He undertook to provide me a copy of the call for proposals in each and every one of the situations that has arisen over the last year or two. I have yet to see those. I don't know whether the third party has received copies of those proposals so that we could at least glean from those proposals what criteria the government was looking for. We're quite disappointed that the government hasn't provided us with the information it told the committee would be provided to us.

We don't think this is very helpful. We don't think this really changes very much at all. Businesses we've talked to indicate that they don't really believe this is much of an improvement over the way the bill is presently written, and many businesses are quite concerned about the investment climate in this province for people in pulp and paper, for people in softwood lumber, for people in all sectors. The tenure's going to be diminished; therefore they are going to have more difficulty in providing financing, providing jobs and providing for a responsible harvest of Ontario's forests.

I would like the parliamentary assistant to provide us first with the information which he indicated he would provide us with probably two months ago now, and I would ask him if he would explain to us how this is much of an improvement over what's presently in the bill.


Mr Wood: Briefly, industry has indicated to us, contrary to what you claim they have told you, that they are in favour of the amendment being brought forward here. They also would like to have control over all of the crown forests, but they realize that in today's climate there is a need out there to secure the jobs in the communities, to create new jobs. There has been $400 million or $500 million of investment that has come into the province to start up new operations, and they understand that this is going to have to happen. They've basically told us that they're in favour of the amendment that is brought forward here. It's something they can live with. They weren't happy if there wouldn't have been this amendment brought forward, but they are in favour of it.

As far as the other information that you're looking for, I was under the impression that the information had been given to you. I'll check into it to see why it hasn't been delivered.

Mr Carr: In light of what Mr Brown said, I wondered if I could get a little bit more specific with the parliamentary assistant. He talked about the industry agreeing to it. I think what happens in cases like this, there tends to be a compromise. Different groups might not get everything they want, so it wouldn't be their first choice.

I was looking back on some of the presentations and what people said about section 23. I hate to sound almost like a criminal lawyer asking these questions, but in light of what Mr Brown said, I wanted to be specific. Could I ask the parliamentary assistant about a couple of groups in particular? Does the Ontario Forest Industries Association, for example, agree with the compromise amendment that you have put forward? If I asked Marie, would she say we should support it, do you think?

Mr Wood: I don't know if Marie would, but I know some of the chief financial officers of the industry would tell us yes.

Mr Carr: So the OFIA as a group hasn't agreed to this then?

Mr Wood: They've been involved in the dialogue that has taken place.

Mr Carr: The dialogue, but they haven't agreed to it. Okay. I hate to be specific, but I know we got into this problem last time when we said we did negotiate and so on. What about, and I'll use the one in your own home town, Spruce Falls Power and Paper? Mr Virgo up there, would he agree to this?

Mr Wood: Mr LeBlanc has talked to me, Marcel LeBlanc. I guess he's the vice-president. He reports directly to Frank Dottori. He has indicated that they were looking for the amendment. He realizes that Kent Virgo and Dave Goss would probably like other things, but they're depending on the Ontario Forest Industries Association to do the lobbying instead of them doing it directly. I had a meeting with him last week.

Mr Carr: What happens is it puts us in a difficult position, because you've got some groups -- it makes it very difficult. I know Mr Hodgson has spoken to various groups. He's unable to be here today and he tried to fill me in, but it makes it very confusing on the amendment, because you've got some companies that may benefit as a result of certain circumstances, that may want it, and others that do not. It makes it very difficult in terms of talking about the support of the amendment.

I guess what we're looking for and how I would sum up what has happened is that not everybody agrees entirely the way it would be, but there was an attempt at some type of compromise. If I was to ask a lot of the industry people, they would say: "This is better than it was before. It isn't perfect, we would like more, but it's better than what we have now, so you probably should support it," although other ones would say, "If we don't get what we want, you shouldn't support it at all."

I just wanted some clarification, which I don't think I got too much of. Basically, we're into a situation where people still don't agree entirely 100%, but some of them feel it's better than not having the amendment. That's basically the way to sum it up?

Mr Wood: One of the words that the industry was really concerned about was the word "may", to change it to "shall," which we have done. This has gone a long way in allowing everybody out there to say that this is a win-win situation for everybody and that they can live with this. As I said before, the OFIA has been part of the discussion on the amendments that have been brought forward by the government.

The Vice-Chair: Mr Bisson.

Mr Gilles Bisson (Cochrane South): Actually, the points have been raised by Mr Carr. It's quite fine.

The Vice-Chair: Any further debate? Mr Brown.

Mr Brown: This is the OFIA's, dated November 1. The OFIA says, "The proposed amendment to subsection 23(1) merely adds a maximum duration to the length of the licence but in no way prevents the invocation of other provisions referred to above authorizing the amendment, suspension or cancellation of the licence."

Clearly, and I have spoken with the organization this morning, they would probably see this as a minor improvement. But this is such a critical issue to this legislation, and I don't think we have found a compromise yet that works for everybody, and I think it's there. I think it could be found if there was some effort put forward by the government in good faith to make certain that on the tenure question, those who need it to operate the facilities they have, the province has an obligation to make sure that surplus wood is used to create investment in jobs in northern Ontario and across the province. It just has to be done. There are so many issues around tenure, and it's critical to these organizations.

You have the OFIA -- and perhaps member companies have some different views; that would be probably normal -- the umbrella group for these companies, clearly saying, "This doesn't help very much; it might help a little bit, but it doesn't help very much." What it jeopardizes is their ability to get financing. It jeopardizes the jobs of their workers. It jeopardizes the forest, because you have to remember that these companies now are becoming primarily responsible for reforestation on their land. They have to spend all the money to draw up the plans. They have to do all the reforestation. They have to do all the work.

If you're doing all the work, what you would hope to have is some knowledge that tomorrow you're going to have the ability to harvest on that land. Without it, you are not going to find the kind of reforestation practices that you probably would want. Companies will do the minimum, not the maximum, because they cannot be assured that tomorrow the land will be theirs.

While this amendment may help slightly, it is surely not in the interests of northern Ontario and the people working there to create uncertainty over tenure, to create uncertainty over the investment climate. I'm just a little confused as to why the government would present this as a motion that is supported widely by industry, because I'm not sure that it is.

There are obvious problems. I think many people don't understand what the problems are. There are surplus wood supplies out there that have been somewhat difficult to get at because of some tenure agreements, and that's a problem. I think that's one of the problems the government's trying to address, to kind of force some of that surplus wood out into production. But I'm not sure, and neither are some of the companies that are said to have the surplus wood, that the wood is actually surplus and that the wood cannot be used or needs to be used in the future for the viability of operations already in place.

In the absence of criteria to establish that, which we have not seen forthcoming from the government, I can understand that industry is a little concerned that a government, a Minister of Natural Resources, has such broad powers to take away something that a company has worked so hard to maintain and spent so much money on to maintain.


The parliamentary assistant has to understand, and I'm sure he does, that on any given limit in any given year probably only about 1% of the land or probably less than 1% of the land is actually being harvested. You might say that tending and reforestation, those sorts of practices, may go on on that land for over a period of 20 years, but most intensively in the first three or four years after the harvest. So at best there's only about 10% of the land mass on a company's limits that they're doing much with at any given time.

I'm just guessing at those numbers, but it's a relatively small percentage of the total land that they're paying area fees for every year, that they are required to provide planning for every year for the five-year plans. They're asked to do all that kind of work. To have no assurance that the money you're spending will be productive to your particular enterprise seven years down the road when it's time to reharvest that particular area is of some concern. Certainly, if you're talking jobs, you've got to have security of fibre supply.

We certainly have the problem that there are companies out there, and we all know of them now, that are running short of wood supply, existing companies. I'm sure the parliamentary assistant could list them for us if he wished.

We have to find a way to allocate surplus wood supplies that may be in other areas without this kind of draconian and huge ministerial discretion. There's no kind of criteria set forth in this bill other than to say it's a competitive process for allocating that surplus. The competitive process, how is that defined? Well, we don't know. So essentially what you've got is a political decision by the minister of the day on who gets what.

I don't think that assures anyone in this province that there will be a wood supply and jobs available to them when it is solely a political decision of where or who gets what and when. I just don't understand why the government is pushing forward when you have one of the major organizations representing forest companies objecting to the way you've approached tenure. The parliamentary assistant shakes his head, but I can tell you, because I talked to them this morning, that they are; they are very upset with this.

So perhaps we should stand it down while the parliamentary assistant goes out and gives the Ontario Forest Industries Association a call. Their phone number is right here. I can give it to you, and you can ask them: "What is your stand? Do you like what's going on here with tenure?" Then he could report back to us, because I think his view and their view are opposite, not in agreement.

Mr Wood: Reversing that, I think that Mr Brown should go out and check, because since the wording has been changed from "may" to "shall," the indication that we're getting is that it strengthens the long-term nature of the licence and that it is a big improvement over what it was a couple of days ago and a big improvement over what it probably was when the November 1 letter was drafted to you. This is the indication that we're getting over the last 48 hours.

Mr Brown: What I'm indicating to you is what I know over the last hour. I have spoken to them in the last hour, and they may see this at best as a slight improvement to the situation, but they clearly believe that tenure's a real problem.

I'm sure that you get the letters I get. We have major municipalities from all across northern Ontario objecting to this provision, objecting to the way tenure's being defined. I believe even Thunder Bay next week will probably pass a resolution to that effect. We have Espanola and a number of others that have all indicated that this is a bad section of the bill.

They don't like it. They think you should rethink it. They think you should come up with a policy that provides flexibility and yet enough certainty that the investment bankers and the people who have to put their dollars on the line to provide the jobs will do so, and I cannot understand why the parliamentary assistant might not want to just go make that call; take, oh, a couple of minutes.

The Vice-Chair: Are you ready to vote on the amendment? All those in favour of the amendment to section 23, as moved by Mr Wood? Opposed? Carried.

Shall section 23, as amended, carry? All those in favour? Opposed? Carried.

We'll move forward again to section 30. Are there any amendments?

Mr Wood: Sixty-six.

The Vice-Chair: We could either take 66 or just simply continue until we get to 66. What is the preference?

Mr Hope: My understanding was that by the motion we opened both of those sections and were meant to deal with both of those sections. That was the agreement.

The Vice-Chair: One has to open one at a time. One cannot move both at a time. But in any case --

Mr Hope: No, you had asked --

The Vice-Chair: I'm sorry, Mr Hope --

Mr Hope: Excuse me, Mr Chair, you --

The Vice-Chair: -- but I'm the Chairman here, okay?

Mr Hope: Yes, but I also --

The Vice-Chair: I'm sorry. You do not have the floor. If you want the floor, please indicate so.

Mr Hope: If you would check the Hansard, you will see it was clearly indicated that we asked for both sections to be opened and to be dealt with, and that's what I think we ought to deal with. We were asking for two sections of the bill to be reopened, which was given unanimous consent. Once we deal with those issues that we had unanimous consent to reopen, then we go back to section 31, which is then part of the regular process because we haven't dealt with those sections yet. But my understanding, when we dealt with the consent, was that the consent was to give both of those sections the opening and then to allow and deal with those amendments being now placed forward.

The Vice-Chair: Mr Hope, the consent has to be recorded as having been given on each section at a time.

Mr Hope: Did you ask for consent?

The Vice-Chair: I had asked for consent on section 23. There was an indication that --

Mr Hope: Was consent given to open both sections?

The Vice-Chair: Mr Hope, if you would permit the Chairman to speak.

Mr Hope: I guess we should check Hansard.

The Vice-Chair: Mr Hope, could you show some respect to the Chair, please?

Mr Hope: As soon as the Chair shows respect to individuals.

The Vice-Chair: Mr Hope, I call you to order.

What is the wish of the committee? Do you want to move on until we hit section 66 or do you wish to reopen 66 at this time?

Mr Wood: The feeling is that we should be opening 66 at this time, the same as the procedure we had done when we were going through clause-by-clause.

Mr Carr: Can I ask why? The reason I wanted to go back originally was just to clear it up and then proceed. Is there any particular reason that 66 should be opened at this time?

Mr Wood: Because of the manner in which we had dealt with 66 as a section, and we had two sections we wanted to open up with unanimous consent and deal with them on the same procedure that we dealt with them when we were going through clause-by-clause, this is the reason why we were asking to finish off section 29 and then deal with section 23 and then go on to section 66 and then revert back to section 31. This is the understanding I thought we were going to follow.


Mr Carr: Actually, I think I was in the chair last time we did it, but I can't remember the reason we wanted to do 66 and go ahead last time. What was that, do you remember? Why did we do it last time?

Mr Wood: I guess it was the request of the government and the PC caucus at that time to proceed.

The Vice-Chair: In any case, is it agreed that we move to section 66 at this point?

Mr Brown: No.

The Vice-Chair: No. Okay. We will then continue with section 30. Are there any amendments to section 30? Any debate on section 30?

Mr Brown: Briefly, just so that we all understand it, this really is just a requirement that the crown gets paid its share before it becomes the property of anybody else. Am I reading that correctly? In other words, the wood remains the property of the crown until the dues or fees or taxes or whatever have been paid on them. I think that's what it says. Is that a correct phrasing?

Mr Wood: Yes. Ownership of forest resources shall remain with the crown until such time as everything is paid.

Mr Brown: That indicates that for non-payment, the crown could seize those resources on crown land at any time it so wishes. It doesn't say that there, but that is the reason for having that? You would presume that the crown could do that? I think later on it does speak to it.

Mr Wood: It spells it out pretty clearly there, I think, the ownership of the forest resources.

The Vice-Chair: Are we ready to vote, then? All those in favour of section 30? Opposed? Carried.

Section 31: There's an amendment, I understand, by Mr Brown.

Mr Brown: I move that section 31 of the bill be amended by adding the following subsection:

"Protected areas

"(1.1) The amendments authorized by subsection (1) include amendments that provide for the establishment of areas where timber harvesting is not permitted in order to provide for the fulfilment of other societal values."

The Vice-Chair: Do you want to speak to your amendment?

Mr Brown: You can almost tell that it's been two months, can't you, since we last chatted about this bill?

The reason we wish to put this is that if you read this section, before amending a licence, what we're attempting to do here is just make sure there is a little bit more discretion so that other values may be protected. I think that is, in a nutshell, what we're attempting to do.

Mr Wood: On that motion, I would just indicate that the amendment is not acceptable to us. The regulations will describe the manner in which licences can be amended.

Mr Brown: Maybe the parliamentary assistant can help us. As we last were in this continuing saga, we were told that there would be meetings with stakeholders regarding the manuals and regulations, and they were to take place I think about a month ago now. I'm wondering, did they take place, and are there significant changes or any changes to the manuals or to the regulations, as proposed, that the members have in front of us?

Just so people understand, we have over 1,000 pages of manuals and regulations to deal with here and we're at present under the assumption, as an opposition, that this is what we're dealing with. Could you indicate to us whether those regulations and manuals have been changed?

Mr Wood: Yes, the meetings have taken place, the workshops were being held and I believe the third draft of the manuals is being worked on. The cleaning up of any technical language, spelling mistakes and things of this kind is being worked on. We're talking about the third draft.

In answer to your question, yes, the meetings have taken place, the workshops have taken place and I believe they're in the third draft now.

Mr Brown: I guess the question, though -- is there substantive change? I'm not talking about spelling mistakes or things like that. Is there some substantive change to those regulations and manuals that we as the opposition should know about that have come about because of those workshops that took place?

Mr Wood: I think it's probably closer to refining, rather than any major drastic changes that are taking place; more refining and getting down to what the final volume will look like.

Mr Brown: So basically what we have in front of us is really pretty close to the final product. There are not any substantive differences.

Mr Wood: My understanding is that they're not being changed like night and day, but they are refining them and all of the stakeholders are involved in giving us feedback.

Mr Brown: Of course, our job in opposition is to represent not just stakeholders but the public at large, and one of the things we have to do is to assess the changes because, as the government well knows, this bill is a shell, really. It is really defined by the regulations and by the manuals. It is a very permissive bill, with very broad powers to any Minister of Natural Resources and to cabinet. The nuts and bolts of the bill are almost totally defined in the regulations and manuals and that's precisely the reason the ministry did circulate them back around August 1 to the members and, eventually, to stakeholders for comments.

My question I think is quite legitimate and I can understand that you would not know off the top of your head what substantive changes there are. But perhaps, by the time we meet next -- it is two weeks from now when the next meeting of this committee will be held -- you could perhaps ask staff if they could indicate -- just substantive. We don't want to know about the change that we finally got a word spelled correctly or that the grammar was a little bit bad or whatever, but if there's a substantive change being contemplated, that we're aware of it so we can make reasonable comments and perhaps check with some other people about those changes to see if that's accommodated their particular points of view so we might be able to validate it independently of the government.

I think our experience this morning seems to indicate that the news we're getting from some interest groups is being characterized differently by Mr Wood and by Mr Brown.

Mr Wood: I think, in all fairness, I don't see any reason why we can't comply with your request.

On your comments that the Liberal opposition party has to represent everybody in Ontario, I think the NDP government also has a responsibility to represent everybody in Ontario and this is what we're trying to achieve in addressing a bill that is being brought forward that hasn't had any major changes in 42 years.

We're saying yes, we're willing to move forward and address some of the concerns that have been out there for the last 15 years. In doing that, we know we cannot satisfy 100% of the people, the same as the Liberal opposition cannot satisfy 100% of the people, but our goal is to achieve as close to that as possible.


Mr Brown: I didn't mean to give the impression, Mr Wood -- it wasn't very confrontational; it is just one of the roles of being in opposition. It has been a traditional role in the parliamentary system that our job is to ask the questions, to bring other points of view to light and to make sure that every point of view possible gets at least its day in the sun so that people can evaluate whether the choices being made by the government -- and by the opposition, for that matter -- are reasonable ones under the circumstance. I'm just pointing out that given the volume of material that accompanies this particular piece of legislation, it would be very difficult for the opposition to understand this without the assistance of the bureaucracy that provides particular information on how the manuals substantively may have been changed to accommodate some views out there.

Mr Wood: Mr Chair, I think I indicated that this is a fair request and we'll work on it.

Mr Brown: Could you ask the bureaucracy if they would also send us the calls for proposals so that we can evaluate the criteria out there?

Mr Wood: Yes.

Mr Brown: It's making our life a little more difficult by just not having that information and we're maybe wasting some time we don't need to waste if we had that and we could understand that.

Mr Wood: Yes.

The Vice-Chair: Are we ready to vote now? All those in favour of Mr Brown's amendment to subsection 31(1.1)? All those opposed? The amendment is lost.

There's a further Liberal amendment to section 31?

Mr Brown: As I came out with all of my glorious paper, I came out without my explanation of amendments this morning.

Mr Bisson: You should have that right at the top of your head.

Mr Brown: I know I should, Mr Bisson.

I move that subsection 31(2) of the bill be struck out and the following substituted:


"(2) Subsection (1) does not apply to a licence under section 23."

Now you're looking for an explanation, I'm sure.

The Vice-Chair: If you want to give one, but Mr Wood might like to indicate what his position is.

Mr Wood: Yes, I can be helpful in the fact that we're not going to be accepting that amendment, if that helps you.

Mr Brown: Regardless of how convincing I am? I'm not shy.

The Vice-Chair: Are we ready to vote? All those in favour of Mr Brown's amendment? Opposed? The amendment is lost.

There's a further amendment to section 31 by the government.

Mr Wood: I move that section 31 of the bill be amended by adding the following subsection:


"(1.1) In determining whether to amend a licence under this section, the minister shall take into consideration,

"(a) any reasonable business requirement of the licensee;

"(b) any collective agreement to which the licensee is a party and which affects the harvesting of the forest resources in a management unit to which the licence relates;

"(c) values identified in the forest management plan for the management unit to which the licence relates, including values relating to plant life, animal life, water, soil and air and social and economic values including recreational values and heritage values; and

"(d) Any other matter the minister sees fit to consider."

Industry and labour had some concerns out there that a similar provision was not carried forward from the Crown Timber Act and that their business requirements would not be considered. Labour was concerned that appropriate consideration be given to collective agreements out there. The minister wanted to ensure that the amendment procedures did not exclude proper consideration of other values that were being derived from the crown forest. So it's the result of both the industry, labour and other concerns that have asked us to move in this direction, and this is the reason for the motion.

Mr Brown: I think it's a positive step that this particular amendment is being put forward. I can understand that business is very concerned, as are labour groups; they want to make sure that business considerations are taken into account by the minister.

We are still a little bit -- more than a little bit -- upset that the criteria remain so loose. If you look at (d), "any other matter the minister sees fit to consider," that has to be the largest global statement I have ever seen in terms of giving a minister discretion. I'm wondering, if the parliamentary assistant could indicate to us, why the criteria would have to be so broad as to include a statement that would be that all-encompassing.

Mr Wood: It's enabling legislation. There are situations out there that might have to be addressed by the minister, and this is the reason clause (d) is there. We're in changing times, we have been over the last thousand years, and we know that over the next number of years we're still going to be in changing times. So this will help to address into the future.

Mr Brown: This is really a question of tenure again, as the minister has a huge discretion here to change tenure. This section that you're asking to be placed in the bill says the minister will take into consideration the first three elements, but if I'm someone who needs more wood supply, if I'm someone who would like to start a new venture, if I'm someone who has identified surplus wood on my own limits and we need an amendment, if you're in any of those cases, we come back to some kind of criteria, because Mr Carr may also be looking at using that particular wood and he may have a proposal that would cause an amendment to be made to limits, to licences.

Both Mr Carr and I would want to know in a straightforward way what the criteria are for the decision the Minister of Natural Resources is going to make so we could be assured that the proposal will be evaluated fairly and that Mr Carr and I would both be treated equally before the minister.

This kind of vague, all-encompassing "any other matter the minister sees fit to consider" may come from left field for somebody making a proposal. It will certainly cause great consternation, I would think, among people who already have licences and are going to have them amended to take something away arbitrarily.


I'm going to vote for this amendment. I'm just wondering why on earth we would want to provide that kind of huge discretion to a minister. It takes all opportunity for public review away because he can say, "I considered" whatever. It would seem to me that some criteria for how this is going to happen should be spelled out. Maybe staff could help. In the regulations, are you contemplating spelling out "any other matter the minister sees fit to consider"?

Mr Wood: We have (a), (b) and (c) that spell out specific reasons, and there might be another reason. I could probably name off 50 or 60 of them, but I don't think it would be helpful in convincing you or other people that that reason would apply to that licence. I'm sure there are other reasons that the minister might want to consider in terms of whether to amend the licence under this section, and use that reason as a consideration in the dialogue that's taking place. I don't think it should be restricted, and you're saying it should be restricted. I disagree with that.

Mr Brown: I don't see why it shouldn't be. One of the things that makes everybody in the investment community and in business very unsettled about this whole bill is the tenure aspect. They are concerned that tenure is more up for grabs than it's ever been, and if you're investing the millions of dollars it often takes to be in this business to create those jobs, you've got to know you've got fibre supply. It seems to me that when you're talking about amendments to licences, the more certainty you can put out there, the better off you are.

I would point out to the parliamentary assistant that his amendment just says you have to take it into consideration; these are the factors you must take into consideration. It doesn't mean the minister's got to decide only on the business requirement or only on what labour's collective agreement might be; they're just factors that have to be taken into consideration. I think people are very uncomfortable with the breadth of the statement, given the fact that we have not been provided with the information we asked for some two months ago. I'm just registering my concern on behalf of those people who work in the industry that this maybe creates more uncertainty. He or she might consider anything.

Mr Wood: I don't know how I'm going to be able to convince you.

Mr Brown: You're not.

Mr Wood: One of the reasons for this is to make sure it doesn't exclude proper consideration for something else that might come out without having to spell out a long list of reasons. We don't want to necessarily exclude anything the minister may see fit to consider when he or she is involved in amending it.

Mr Brown: I'm certain the government takes that view, but for the people either hoping to get tenure or holding tenure now and apparently going to lose some of it through a change in their licence, this creates some uncertainty. But it's an improvement so, as I said, I'm not going to oppose it other than to raise the question of tenure again.

The Vice-Chair: That probably leads us to the vote. All those in favour of the amendment to section 31 moved by Mr Wood? Opposed? Carried.

Are there any further amendments to section 31? Seeing none, shall section 31 carry, as amended? Opposed? Carried.

Section 32: Mr Wood, you have an amendment.

Mr Wood: I move that subsection 32(3) of the bill be struck out and the following substituted:

"Applications of subsection (2)

"(3) Subsection (2) does not apply in the following circumstances:

"1. A transfer of shares by a corporation that is a licensee if the name of the corporation does not change and the control of the corporation is not transferred to another person.

"2. An amendment to the articles of incorporation of a corporation that is a licensee to change the name of the corporation.

"3. Any other prescribed circumstances."

This motion brings into the act two conditions where a transfer was not to apply that had previously been noted in the draft regulations. The rationale is that the industry wanted assurance for investors that specific changes to ownership that were deemed not to be cause for transfer of a licence were firm commitments.

The government had already agreed that these two situations would not invoke the requirements for transfer provisions. This is the reason for bringing forward the motion. The government agreed that placing them in the act did not present any issues, and it would further bolster investor confidence in the security of raw material supply for the licensee. We're talking about sending a strong message out to the investment community that these conditions for the transfer of shares by corporations out there -- we feel satisfied that transfer of a resource licence application will be addressed by this motion.

Mr Carr: I'm wondering, as I guess some of the other members are, about number 3, when you talk about "any other prescribed circumstances." There must have been some reason for that. What would be an example of some of the circumstances that we would need to have that in there? Can you think of any? Why is that in there? What circumstances are we talking about?

Mr Wood: I don't have precise examples at my fingertips right at this moment, but we have spelled out two reasons in numbers 1 and 2 and there could be other circumstances that the minister would have to address.

Mr Carr: Not being a lawyer, why wouldn't we even just take out 1 and 2 and just say "Any other prescribed circumstances"? Why do we name some and not others and then make it all-inclusive? Not being a lawyer, I look at this stuff and I say: "No wonder these guys get all this money for doing this stuff. They create all these things" -- no offence to the lawyers in the room, who I'm sure won't take offence at it, but to me it looks like a pretty silly thing to put some circumstances in and then say, "Oh, it doesn't matter, it's everything anyway." I just wondered what some of the circumstances were. Somebody, somewhere, one of the great legal minds, must have said, "Here's a circumstance, but we can't put it in because we maybe can't write it that way." I just wonder what any prescribed circumstance may be. You don't have any idea?


Mr Wood: My understanding is that the two would cover probably 90% or more of the circumstances and then the rest would be covered under regulations. So under, "Any other prescribed circumstances," you're talking about a very small percentage of situations and they would be done in the regs.

The Vice-Chair: Any further debate? All those in favour of Mr Wood's amendment to subsection 32(3)? Opposed? Carried.

Mr Wood: I move that subsection 32(4) of the bill be struck out.

There's no reason for that section to be in there. That is the reason. The intention was to give the minister an avenue to free up forest resources, but it's not needed and it's being withdrawn.

Mr Carr: Not that it matters much, but can I ask why this was included originally? Now that we're taking it out, it doesn't matter, but what was the rationale originally for putting something like that in?

The Vice-Chair: Ask the lawyer.

Mr Wood: You're asking why it was put in there in the first place?

Mr Carr: Yes. You said, "There's no reason, so that's why we're taking it out." How do these things get in when there's no reason?

Mr Wood: We're saying it's not needed. It doesn't necessarily have to be in there, based on the legal interpretation we're getting. During the original drafting of the legislation, the feeling was that it should be there, but it's been requested by industry and a number of other groups that it be removed and we've agreed to eliminate it from the legislation.

Mr Brown: We have a similar amendment.

The Vice-Chair: Very similar.

Mr Brown: Exactly the same, and they're actually both out of order, aren't they, Mr Chair?

The Vice-Chair: No.

Mr Brown: They're not out of order? Perfect; that's great.

Just to help Mr Carr, I presume it was placed in the legislation originally to provide some flexibility as licences turned over, to provide additional allocations to perhaps another licensee. What they were doing was restricting it to a downsizing of 5% of a licence. I don't think it's necessary. If a licence is being transferred or assigned or charged or whatever, I suspect that could happen anyway. The plus side to industry would be that it is restricted to 5%, the way it's printed, and the downside is that it could be 5%. To make Mr Wood's argument, I guess nobody really knows why it's here.

The Vice-Chair: As we all seem to be in favour of striking this out --

Mr Brown: Sometimes the discussion changes our minds.

The Vice-Chair: Are we ready to formalize this? All those in favour of Mr Wood's amendment? Opposed? Carried.

Seeing that Mr Brown's amendment is exactly the same, we have already voted on it.

Any further amendments to section 32? Seeing none, shall section 32 carry, as amended? Opposed? Carried.

Section 33: a Conservative amendment.

Mr Carr: I move that section 33 of the bill be struck out and the following substituted:

"No interest in land

"33. A forest resource licence does not confer on the licensee any interest in land or any right to exclusive possession of land, except as in the opinion of the minister necessary for the cutting and removal of the timber thereon and the management of the licensed area and operations incidental thereto."

Mr Hodgson had wanted to speak at length on this, but in the interest of time, maybe the parliamentary assistant could just cut through and let us know what his thoughts are on this particular amendment and whether the government will be supporting it.

Mr Wood: First of all, no, we will not be supporting it. All the proposed motion does is add "except as in the opinion of the minister necessary for the cutting and removal of the timber thereon and the management of the licensed area and operations incidental thereto." Our argument is that we don't need that in there and we're not accepting your motion as an acceptable amendment to the legislation.

Mr Brown: I'm trying to think, Mr Carr, of an example where this would be helpful to the holder of the licence.

Mr Carr: I think Mr Hodgson had some examples. It was his motion that was put forward, but unfortunately I didn't get a chance to speak to him about some of the examples.

The Vice-Chair: It has to remain a secret.

Mr Brown: Mr Carr, we might be wise to ask the government if we could stand this down until Mr Hodgson, who I know is occupied elsewhere, can come and put his case.

Mr Carr: Mr PA?

The Vice-Chair: Are you doing that, Mr Carr?

Mr Carr: I see him shaking his head, so I think it's pointless. Either that or he's got an itch.

The Vice-Chair: Any further debate? If there's no further debate, shall Mr Carr's amendment carry? All those in favour? Mr Carr, are you in favour?

Mr Carr: I was sleeping. I was looking at the next one; I think the next one's mine too.

The Vice-Chair: Opposed? The amendment is lost.

Mr Carr: In the last minutes of a hockey game, when you know you're going to lose, you just leave the arena.

The Vice-Chair: Shall section 33 carry?

Mr Brown: I just have a --

The Vice-Chair: Sorry. Further comments on section 33?

Mr Brown: I understand what the section says, but I'm not really sure why we need it, why the section's there in the first place. The licence the company has would obviously tell you it's managing an area, that it's responsible in an area, but it would be a giant leap to believe it had any actual interest in the land, in the legal sense.

Mr Wood: I think this section is very similar to a tenant and landlord. The tenant is operating on the land and using the resources on the land, but doesn't necessarily have the land itself.

Mr Brown: I understand that, but I'm wondering why we even have to say it.

Mr Wood: Our experts in drafting the legislation are saying it should be in there, and the legal opinion is that it should be in there. As a result, it's there for that purpose.


Mr Brown: I don't like us putting any more sections in than we need to. Maybe legal counsel could help me with this. Would the legislation be any different if this section weren't in the bill?

Ms Sibylle Filion: I think that question would be better put to legal counsel of the ministry.

Mr Brown: Why have a section if we don't need it?

Mr Wood: In our opinion, we need it. That's why it's in there.

The Vice-Chair: Mr Wood tried to respond. Is there any further debate? All those in favour of section 33? Opposed? Carried.

Section 34: Any amendments to section 34? Any debate on section 34?

Mr Brown: I might just ask the parliamentary assistant about this section. In the event of a sale of land within a licensee's area, in some cases that may take productive timber out of the licensee's area. Is there any compensation whatever to the licence holder for that taking place?

Mr Wood: It refers back to section 23: "sell, lease, grant or otherwise dispose of land that is subject to a forest resource licence."

The Vice-Chair: Are you reading, or is that your comment?

Mr Wood: I'm just reading to myself.

The Vice-Chair: I just want to make sure Hansard can follow.

Mr Wood: There were no amendments brought in to section 34.

Mr Brown: No, but just because there were no amendments brought in doesn't mean we don't have a concern or that people aren't interested. I think it's a legitimate question. Does this section permit the ministry to reimburse a licence holder for some land that is now taken out of that person's licence?

Mr Wood: I'm waiting for further clarification, but the way I see it, it doesn't spell that out, and unless it were spelled out, I don't believe it would be the case.

Mr Brown: It's possible under this section for the ministry to sell land or lease land or otherwise grant land to an individual or corporation, which could conceivably have a dramatic effect on a harvesting operation in a license area. It sometimes doesn't take a very large piece of land to take a fairly large chunk of productive forest out of commission because of varying setbacks that might be required to stay away from whatever the use of private land now is.

Mr Wood: I think section 34 is to clarify the intent of the act in terms of the use of the land. I understand that in the FMAs, which will become renewable licences for 20 years, renewed every five years, there is a clause in the FMA agreement that applies when large areas are involved, but there is no compensation in general for small areas of land. Hopefully, that's clarified it.

Mr Brown: Could you help me with present government policy, then? Is present government policy encouraging the sale of cottage lots on crown lands or leases on crown lands? Is it the policy of the government to promote those? This impacts on this section. If it's the policy of the government to do that, obviously there will be more impact on the people who have the licences if you're actively either encouraging or discouraging the practice of selling crown land.

Mr Wood: To be honest with you, Mr Brown, there are requests from individual people out there to look at the regulations that were brought in in 1983 by one government and then further amendments brought in in 1987, I guess to control cottages and lots and that kind of -- there are always requests from people who would like to see some changes. But as far as the government policy is concerned, as far as I know, the decision hasn't been made to make any changes at this point in time.

Mr Brown: If there are no changes, what is the policy?

Mr Wood: It's the policy that was brought in by the Conservatives in 1983 and again the Liberals in 1987, I understand.

Mr Brown: Well, some of us don't remember all that. Could you just --

Mr Wood: They remind me of that when I'm out on the street.

Mr Brown: "And we've only been here for four and a half years and haven't had time to change it." That's what you tell them, is it?

Mr Carr: And people are going to vote you back in because of it, right? All the more reason to get you back in.

The Vice-Chair: Have we concluded debate?

Mr Brown: I was just wondering if I could get a clarification, but if I can't, that's fine.

The Vice-Chair: All those in favour of section 34? Opposed? Carried.

Section 35: Mr Carr, you have an amendment.

Mr Carr: I move that section 35 of the bill be amended by adding the following subsection:

"Existing licence

"(1.1) A licence shall not be granted in respect of land that is already subject to an existing licence without consultation with and the approval of the existing licensee."

I feel, as does our critic, very strongly about this motion. We've got debate within the industry itself about who's going to benefit or be hurt by that, because there will be some companies that will gain at the expense of others.

What I go back to is the principle of fairness. If I were one of the companies that was going to benefit by getting a licence, I guess I wouldn't feel this way, but as legislators we need to very clearly talk about the issue of fairness. I think this one is pretty self-explanatory. You should not make any changes without consultation with and the approval of the existing licence holder.

I recognize that if this doesn't pass, what it will mean is that the government will have complete control to make the changes necessary. I feel very strongly on this, and I hope the government will support it.

Mr Wood: I was getting further into it with our government motion. We won't be accepting the PC motion. What we're looking for is the reaching of an agreement, the settlement of a dispute, prior to issuing a second licence on it, that the two parties would come to an agreement before a second licence would be issued. The feeling is that we address that in the amendment we're bringing forward as we get to it in subsections 35(2) and (3).

Mr Carr: May I ask where you see the problem, maybe an example? What do you see that could occur that would create a problem so that you wouldn't want this to pass? Give me an example of what you fear may come up. Are there any examples you could give to explain why you wouldn't support this motion?

Mr Wood: Our fear in terms of the amendment that has been brought forward by the third party is that it would severely limit the minister's authority to ensure that third-party licensees are treated fairly. This is one of the concerns we have with the amendment you have brought forward. Third-party licensees could be seriously affected and not treated in a fair manner.


Mr Carr: We go back to the principle that the other two parties could get an agreement that's more fair. I believe negotiated agreements between two parties will be fairer in the end than a government-imposed one. I know you're talking on behalf of the government and saying, "We'll be fair." I think the way we've put it is a lot fairer in terms of consultation and approval, if all three of the groups that would be involved can come to some type of agreement. Then we would have fairness.

It's not dissimilar to what happens in any type of labour agreement. When it's imposed on them, both sides feel hard done by. When you negotiate something, both parties in the end give a little bit and take a little bit and you get an agreement that is fair. It's a principle that I think the NDP has stood for for many years in the labour movement. This is similar between companies, that a negotiated agreement would be much more fair than a government-imposed one. I may be wrong, but the principle is similar to what happens in labour negotiations. Any forced settlement would be very difficult.

Notwithstanding the fact that the government says it will be fair, I don't believe it would be. I believe any type of negotiated settlement is much better. That's what this motion attempts to do, but I take it we probably won't win this one. It comes down to the issue of fairness, and I get worried any time governments say, "We will be fair in what we're doing." I think the fairest way to do it is to allow the parties to negotiate a settlement, which they would do if this motion was passed, and they would get some type of agreement that both sides could live with.

Mr Brown: I see we have a somewhat similar amendment. I suppose there's not a whole lot of sense in us putting ours after Mr Carr's, so in the interest of time perhaps I could speak to this.

Mr Carr: And I want to speak to yours, but you can speak to this one, because yours is a little different.

Mr Brown: Yes, it is.

Mr Carr: I like yours too.

Mr Brown: Again we come back to the tenure. The interesting thing I think we should know here in 35 is that the licence has already been granted, from what I can gather. Is that correct? We're talking about a situation where perhaps I have the limits for softwood on this and somebody else has the limits for hardwood. We're talking about the same area but we're talking about different species. In that instance, what Mr Carr is suggesting here is that we've got to get those two parties together to negotiate about who pays for the roads, who pays for the area fees, whose share of the renewal is what, all those various issues.

The advantage of having the two parties together negotiating is that they can often come to an agreement outside of the legislative requirements. They can also find business ways of maximizing the use of equipment, maximizing the use of manpower, maximizing all those good things.

I'm speaking in favour of Mr Carr's amendment because I think he's hit the nail on the head. What you want is a negotiation process that gets both parties together to deal with the very real issues on a particular area of land that may be licensed to two or maybe three or more parties to harvest different species and then regenerate, I presume, different species.

Mr Wood: I don't know whether I can help to satisfy you. Two concerns: One of our concerns on the PC motion is that it says "without consultation with and the approval of the existing licensee." We've made clarification in the amendment we've brought forward on subsections 35(2) and (3), which puts a mechanism in place before the licence is issued. We feel it will deal with the situation better than this PC motion or the one the Liberals have brought forward. We're addressing it, but we're addressing it in a different manner, Mr Carr and Mr Brown.

Mr Carr: I'll give you an example of a negotiation and I'll show you exactly how it works. I have absolutely no power and authority because you have the votes and can win, but I would withdraw our motion if you agreed to support the Liberal motion, which is a bit of a compromise. It doesn't go as far with the approval but it does say there will be some type of consultation. Unless I'm very surprised, I have no power and I'm going to lose the vote anyway; you hold all the cards and you'll proceed with your own. This is just a typical example of where, if you don't have equal power, one party -- in this case I probably won't get what I want. Ours went a bit farther than the Liberals', but as a compromise, if the parliamentary assistant would agree to the Liberal motion, I would withdraw our motion. We'll just see how negotiations take place in the real world here.

Mr Wood: We'll probably have to exercise the democratic right given by the vote held back in 1990. We're continuing the vote through the amendments as we go through --

Mr Carr: We should have a recount, because I can't find anybody who voted NDP.

Mr Wood: The people of the province spoke and they expect us to continue --

The Vice-Chair: Before we go too far into the last election, any further comments on your amendment, Mr Carr?

Mr Carr: You see what happens when there is no power or authority. We give a little more power to the groups because this is a typical example that if you don't, things can be rammed through without any consultation. Ours went far enough to try to make the field level. The Liberals' at least makes it so that there's an appearance of it being level, so that there is time for consultation. You see what happens in negotiations if you don't have any power and the authority. The one party gets, if you'll pardon the expression -- well, I won't use that expression, but just like happened to me just now.

I will still proceed and vote for this, but I guess I know the outcome so there's no sense carrying on any further discussion.

Mr Brown: Mr Carr makes a good point. Mr Carr's motion may not restore the balance, and I'm not particularly sure that even the amendment I'm about to put does that very well. But the difficulty in all negotiations is achieving a balance, making sure that both parties come to the table more or less equally so we can get a fair and reasonable result that probably doesn't make either party totally happy but is acceptable to both parties and is negotiated out there on the ground. Mr Carr's and probably ours do not exactly do that, but they're attempts to bring some balance into the equation.

The Vice-Chair: We're ready to vote on Mr Carr's amendment. All those in favour of Mr Carr's amendment? Opposed? The amendment is lost.

Mr Brown, you have a further amendment.

Mr Brown: I do have an amendment that I'd be pleased to put, but just before I do that I'm wondering if we could have an adjournment, if that would be acceptable. I shortly have an appointment with officials of the ministry to discuss another piece of legislation.

The Vice-Chair: Is there unanimous consent?

Mr Bisson: Let's finish this section first. I think we can finish it.

The Vice-Chair: I don't see unanimous consent. We will have to adjourn very soon anyway, as we have to vote in the House. But with your permission, I will continue until the bells ring.

Mr Brown: I could make a motion, but I was hoping we could be happier than that.

Mr Bisson: We're almost finished the section.

The Vice-Chair: Are you just making your amendment now?

Mr Brown: I will place our amendment.

I move that section 35 of the bill be amended by adding the following subsection:

"Existing licence

"(1.1) A licence shall not be granted in respect of land that is already subject to an existing licence unless the minister has given the existing licensee an opportunity to discuss the proposed licence."


The Vice-Chair: We probably had a fair discussion earlier, but I think Mr Carr did want to speak to this.

Mr Carr: I did originally, and then I talked to my own. My point was made: If the balance of power isn't there, there's absolutely nothing you can do, no persuasion, and people will run through and proceed the way they want. In this case, with the backing of the ministry, all the things Mr Brown talked about will occur. I thought as a bit of a compromise we might be able to agree to this one but, having no power, we're going to see what's going to happen. I suspect we're going to lose this one as well. I think it's too bad, but I suspect I know what is going to happen with this motion as well.

The Vice-Chair: Further debate? All those in favour of Mr Brown's amendment? Opposed? The amendment is lost.

Mr Wood: I move that subsections 35(2) and (3) of the bill be struck out and the following substituted:

"Agreement between licensees

"(2) Before more than one forest resource licence is granted in respect of the same land, the affected licensees and prospective licensees shall endeavour to agree on the matters prescribed by the regulations and, in the event of a dispute, the minister may direct that the dispute be resolved in accordance with the procedure prescribed by the regulations.

"Forest management plan

"(3) An agreement entered into under subsection (2) or a determination made in accordance with the procedure prescribed by the regulations shall be consistent with the applicable forest management plan."

We have had a discussion in the two previous motions. The reason for not supporting the two previous motions was our feeling that eliminating subsections (2) and (3) in the act and substituting these new subsections (2) and (3) will address the concern we have about more than one licensee working on it, and the process for coming to an agreement will be a fair and good way of doing it.

Mr Carr: The only thing I will point out is that the ministry ultimately in the end can direct a settlement that will be fair, and I'm sure that probably will happen. I just hope it will in the occasions that arise. I hope the ministry will take this particular power it has, as I know it will, very, very seriously, because this will give it the power to intervene and settle the dispute. I hope at the end of the day, when we have some of these disputes that arise after years of having this in, that all the parties that are going to be affected will still, down the road, feel this issue has been addressed fairly. We won't know, but I'm certainly hoping they are, for the good of this province.

Mr Brown: I've been busily trying to speed-read the regulations this particular amendment --

Mr Carr: You couldn't have read them if you started in the summer. We didn't have them.

Mr Brown: Well, this particular section. You're right, Mr Carr.

The Vice-Chair: Mr Brown, address the Chair.

Mr Brown: I might ask just of the parliamentary assistant, is there any substantive change to the regulations which really spell out how this system works? Do we know?

Mr Wood: My information is that this is really just a housekeeping amendment to spell it out a little more clearly. As far as changes in it are concerned, it doesn't look like there are any major changes that have been made to the regulations.

Mr Brown: Thank you. So I can be relatively assured that this is more or less pretty close to the way the regulations will read.

Mr Wood: Pretty close.

Mr Brown: I would just bring to the attention of the committee that the minister has extraordinary power here to impose a settlement, and imposed settlements usually make no one happy, particularly. I wouldn't want to mention the social contract, but some of us have thought of it. Really, the settlements that work best are the settlements that are freely come to between two parties.

I am reluctant to use the word "fair." I think it is a four-letter word, actually. It means too many things to too many people, and it's probably the most overused word in the political lexicon. But I would just point out that if you read the regulations, the last one says:

"Where a holder of the existing licence refuses to sign an agreement as required under subsections (1) and (2) within the period of time indicated by the minister, or the executed agreement is not forwarded by either party to the minister or to an officer of the ministry, the minister shall amend the existing licence pursuant to subsection 35(4) of the act."

The minister can just say, "This is the way it is gonna be," bang. I guess all of us have some concerns, or should have some concerns, about that very broad-reaching power of a minister to impose very strict economic conditions on people. I would just note that.

Most of the regulations meet with my approval, as there seems to be a process in place to mediate a dispute. But all of us in a democracy get a little concerned about giving any minister of the crown the ability to just absolutely make a decision to invoke a certain settlement. It doesn't appear to have to go to cabinet; it's a decision of the minister only, I believe and doesn't require an order in council. That is an exceptional amount of authority to vest in any particular person.

Mr Wood: I think you've raised a concern that might affect maybe 0.25%, less than 1%. I mean, 99% of the participants, I'm sure, are going to want to enter into a process that leads towards some type of agreement.

In the event that they do refuse to enter into a process and refuse to participate in any discussions, sure, the minister would have some discretion to be able to bring those two parties to have discussions, but we have all kinds of agreements that are out there and working right now. As a matter of fact, over the last six months we have had over $400 million of investment that has come in basically on agreements that are being worked out between forest industry companies, creating probably up to 2,000 permanent jobs and a lot of construction jobs. There are agreements are being worked out as we speak.

But in the rare situation where the people have refused to get involved anywhere in the process, the minister would be able to try to bring them together.

Mr Brown: This is more than trying to bring them together. After he or she has tried to bring them together, the minister can absolutely dictate the settlement. I think you, particularly with your background, know how well anything that's dictated by one side or the other generally works, and you also know that often you have some difficulty getting parties to negotiate if one of the parties believes the eventual arbitrator of the dispute favours their position and they therefore have no reason to negotiate in good faith. It sometimes causes as many difficulties as it resolves. I think we've all seen people who, on one side of an issue or another, believe the decision-maker will favour them and that therefore coming to a negotiated settlement is not in their interest.

Mr Wood: Are you talking about baseball and hockey?

Mr Brown: I'm talking about baseball and hockey.

Mr Carr: They should be essential services.

The Vice-Chair: Can we get back to the motion?

Mr Brown: The parliamentary assistant did make a good point. I believe there are agreements being made out there right now, and that's the normal course of events. What my party is saying is that that's the way we think business should be done, in terms of free and open negotiations to decide these issues rather than the imposition of a settlement by the government.

Is the government considering in the regulations any kind of review of the minister's power in this case? Is there any kind of appeal, by an aggrieved party, of a minister's decision? Is that being considered?

Mr Wood: Anything can be appealed. We see all kinds of appeals going through on all different issues.

Mr Brown: Who would you appeal to? I'm not reading from your amendment; I'm reading from the regulation your amendment refers to.

Mr Wood: You're talking about a phantom situation out there that we don't know about.

Mr Brown: One of the problems in this job is that this is what we're expected to do: try to guess what the implications of any particular piece of legislation are going to mean to people. We have kind of a law of unintended consequences. Often the best-laid plans of mice and men come to naught as an unexpected consequence comes from what we as legislators thought was a really good idea. What we're required to do if we're doing our job correctly is to try to see into the future, try to understand what the implications of a particular policy might mean. We often don't do that very well. I'm just asking: Is there any appeal to this?

The Vice-Chair: If we've finished discussing it --

Mr Brown: I'm just wondering if somebody can tell me if there is an appeal mechanism of the minister's decision. Can you ask for judicial review of the minister's decision, for example?

Mr Wood: I'm sure there is appeal there, but I don't have all the answers at my fingertips of what the procedure would be.

The Vice-Chair: Are we ready to vote on the amendment?

Mr Brown: No, I don't think so.

The Vice-Chair: Then we'll have to continue the debate this afternoon. This committee stands adjourned until after routine proceedings this afternoon.

The committee recessed from 1203 to 1628.

The Vice-Chair: We are continuing clause-by-clause consideration of Bill 171. This morning we adjourned the debate on the amendment to section 35 and Mr Brown had the floor. Mr Brown, do you want to make further comments?

Mr Brown: No, I think we've said what needs to be said.

The Vice-Chair: Okay. Are we ready for the vote then on the amendment moved by Mr Wood? All those in favour of Mr Wood's amendment? Opposed? Carried.

Any further amendments to section 35? Seeing none, is there further debate? Shall section 35 carry, as amended? Opposed? Carried.

Section 36: Are there amendments?

Mr Wood: I would once again ask for unanimous consent to open up section 66, an amendment.

The Vice-Chair: At this point?

Mr Wood: Yes.

The Vice-Chair: So you want to move to section 66 at this point?

Mr Wood: Yes.

The Vice-Chair: Is there unanimous consent to move to --

Mr Brown: No.

The Vice-Chair: I'm sorry, there's not unanimous consent.

We're moving to section 36. Any comments? Any amendments? If not, shall section --

Mr Brown: One second, Mr Chair. You've got to give us an opportunity to read it.

The Vice-Chair: Shall section 36 carry? Carried.

Section 37: I see a Liberal motion.

Mr Brown: I move that section 37 of the bill be amended by striking out "or without" in the second-last line.

What we are attempting to do here is make sure that we have the licensee's consent, which is reasonably clear. This section says, "Crown charges in respect of forest resources authorized to be harvested or used for a designated purpose by a forest resource licence shall be paid by the licensee whether the resources are harvested or used by the licensee or by another person with or without the licensee's consent."

How can the licensee have to pay for charges where another person has done something without his consent? It just doesn't seem logical to us. Maybe there is a reason for this, and if so, the government could clarify that for us.

Mr Wood: The section we're referring to is a provision that was made in the Crown Timber Act, and we're saying that it should be carried forward into the Crown Forest Sustainability Act. As a result, we will not be supporting your particular amendment.

Mr Brown: You are asking the licensee to pay the crown charges even if another person, without any consent of the licensee, has removed the resource. I'm really having some difficulty understanding that. Certainly if the licensee has consented, that makes perfect sense, but if the licensee has not consented, I can't understand why that's there. I think maybe you could help me if you have a little bit better explanation than that it was there before.

Mr Wood: It was there before, and it's very difficult to prove if resources were removed with the licensee's consent after resources have been removed and sold. So what you'd end up with is a legal argument in all disputes of harvested resources, and this is the reason we're not supporting the Liberal motion.

Mr Brown: You would be in a situation, I think, where one person would be conceivably charged with theft, he has taken a resource that is not his to take, and yet the licensee, the person who's had the resource taken from him, is now required to pay crown dues. Isn't that the situation we're talking about? It seems to me a rather curious way to treat the victim.

Mr Wood: In our interpretation of the wording of your motion there, it would cause nothing but arguments and disputes where the resources had been removed and had been sold. We have an amendment to section 37 as well, which will be coming up a little bit later, that we think will clarify a lot better what our intention is.

The Vice-Chair: Are you ready to vote on this amendment?

Mr Chris Hodgson (Victoria-Haliburton): No, I'll speak to this. I'd just like to say that I'd support my colleague Mr Brown's motion. It's very simple and straightforward, just taking it out, for the reasons that he mentioned. The government's motion basically does the same thing, is that what I'm being told? It takes a two-paragraph addition. There's got to be a difference between the two. If the parliamentary assistant could help me here. The Liberal motion calls for taking the words "or without" out of it. The government motion, which will be made in a few minutes, goes on at some length. Am I being told that it's essentially the same thing, or is there a difference?

Mr Wood: I think when we get into the amendment that we brought forward under section 37 it'll clarify it a lot better than what the Liberal motion is trying to do, and that's one of the reasons why we're not supporting the Liberal motion as brought forward. I have some new wording in our amendment which will be coming up under 46-B, section 37 of the bill.

Mr Hodgson: I can see that the last part, "or by another person with the licensee's consent," if you take out the word "without," that's essentially what you've done.

Mr Brown: It seems to be straightforward.

Mr Hodgson: That's why I'll be supporting the motion.

The Vice-Chair: Okay, since we've clarified who supports what, are we ready for the vote? All those in favour of Mr Brown's amendment? Opposed?

Clerk of the Committee: Three to two.

The Vice-Chair: The amendment is lost; a close call, though.

I think, Mr Hodgson, you have an amendment.

Mr Hodgson: It's essentially the same motion that was just recommended. I think the government one's next, isn't it?

The Vice-Chair: No, yours is next.

Clerk of the Committee: Yours is number 46-A.

The Vice-Chair: If you feel it's the same, if you don't want to move it, that's fine.

Mr Hodgson: I'll move the motion. I move that the bill be amended by striking out section 37 and substituting the following:

"Crown charges

"37. Crown charges in respect of forest resources authorized to be harvested or used for designated purposes by a forest resource licence shall be paid by the licensee whether the resources are harvested or used for a designated purpose by the licensee or by another person with the licensee's consent."

I could reiterate the reasons for this motion. It just makes sense that if a person holds the licence and another person comes in and cuts it, they should have their consent; they have to pay the charge. If somebody comes in and steals the wood, you wouldn't expect them to pay the charge as well as having the loss of the wood off their licence. There should be some consent or some process where that's dealt with.

Mr Brown: I share my colleague's concern, and we're really reiterating the same point, I think. It just is unfathomable to me how you can charge the victim of a theft the price for the goods. That's essentially what the government is intending to do here.

I'm waiting with bated breath to have a look at the government amendment, but in a quick reading of it I don't see that it accomplishes what Mr Hodgson is attempting to do in this amendment or we were trying to do in a far simpler amendment, to just make sure that people had to pay crown dues on the wood they harvested or someone who had their consent to harvest the wood harvested; that makes perfect sense. But to ask somebody to pay crown dues on wood that has been stolen from them is probably, most people would say, a little much.

Mr Hodgson: Mr Chair, if I could have permission, I believe this was in the old Crown Timber Act, something similar to this provision.

Mr Wood: Yes.

Mr Hodgson: Okay.

The Vice-Chair: Ready to vote? All those in favour of Mr Hodgson's amendment? Opposed? The amendment is lost.


Mr Wood: I move that section 37 of the bill be amended by adding the following subsections:

"Property in resources

"(2) Upon payment of the charges referred to in subsection (1) by the holder of a forest resource licence, property in forest resources that have been harvested on the land to which the licence relates during the term of the licence vests in the licensee, whether the resources were harvested by the licensee or by another person with or without the licensee's consent.

"Seizure of resources

"(3) The holder of a forest resource licence who has paid the charges referred to in subsection (1) is entitled to seize all forest resources that have been harvested during the term of the licence and that are in the possession of a person not entitled to them.

"Right of action

"(4) The holder of a forest resource licence who has paid the charges referred to in subsection (1) is entitled to bring an action against any person who, during the term of the licence, harvested, damaged or took possession of forest resources without the permission of the licensee."

The explanation on that is that the forest industry expressed concern that if it was to be responsible for crown charges on the area of its licence, even if somebody acted without its permission, then it should have some rights to action against wrongdoers. The provision was made in the Crown Timber Act and the government supports carrying it forward into the Crown Forest Sustainability Act.

Mr Hodgson: In light of the fact that both the Liberal motion and the PC motion, which were reasonable and brief, were rejected, I'll be supporting the government's amendment because it achieves that. However, I wish I had our colleague Mr Bisson here, because I believe for the first day of the hearings we were repeatedly told that a bill such as this shouldn't be cluttered up with unnecessary words. At that time, if you recall, we spent a whole morning on how it was unnecessary to add an additional clause which would have clarified many issues, and that went on for two or three hours. So I'd be interested, and it's unfortunate that he's not here today, to hear his opinion on adding -- I haven't counted all the words, but it's certainly adding words, as opposed to Mr Brown's motion, which deleted two. I will be supporting the motion, though.

The Vice-Chair: It's always wise to leave out unnecessary words, that's true.

Mr Hodgson: That's right.

The Vice-Chair: Are we ready to vote then?

Mr Wood: Just briefly before we vote, I wouldn't want to comment on your statement that you just made without referring to Hansard to have some of the quotations, but I'm pleased that we have the support to move ahead and vote on it.

Mr Brown: I'm again a little perplexed, and maybe the parliamentary assistant can help me with my little analogy. If I rent an apartment and someone breaks into my apartment and takes my furniture, then I am responsible for finding the furniture myself and laying the charge and going to civil court to recover my dollars, but the rental company -- say I had rented the furniture -- expects me to pay. Is that what's going on here?

Furniture may not have been the best choice of examples, but you're in a rented premises -- that's what they're doing, they're renting the right to the timber on the land -- the timber is stolen by someone, and the onus is on the person it's stolen from to go find it and to go sue. Something's escaping me.

This is an improvement over what's in the bill. It certainly isn't an improvement over my motion or Mr Hodgson's motion. Why can't we be more straightforward about this?

Mr Wood: Comparing furniture, what would happen if somebody broke in and stole it? I guess the owner of it would still have to pay the rent on it --

Mr Brown: Well, that's the way I see it.

Mr Wood: -- and continue making the payments on it if it wasn't paid for. There's no doubt about it that if theft of wood is out there, the crown, having been made aware of it, would seize that and then make sure the ownership was determined before going too far.

We feel that this is going to address the concerns that were raised by the forest industry. They have been part of drafting this amendment that we're bringing forward today. They feel that they can live with it, so that's why we're --

Mr Brown: I certainly see it as an improvement over what's presently in the bill, but I'm not certain this would be their first choice. I'm really having some difficulty with this whole concept. You're talking about somebody stealing something and asking somebody else then to pay for it. If they can go out and get some money back for it, all well and good, but only if you can find it.

I appreciate this is a little bit of an improvement, but it isn't much of an improvement. I wonder why we have to do this in the first place. We're told by Dr Balsillie that there are going to be more regulations, more men, more dollars, more people devoted to enforcing regulations, enforcing everything out there. In other words, we're going to have the woods cops now, and they're not going to come back and enforce this section. You're relying on the licensee to do all the policing on his own unit. There's an additional cost to the licensee.

It could be huge areas we're talking about. The present FMAs are noted by their hundreds of square miles. The theft could occur a huge distance from where they're actually operating and they would be required to pay the dues, even if there was little or no chance of ever finding out who took it.

I just don't understand the rationale. In most of the world, that's not the way it works.

Mr Wood: This motion gives the licensees the right to be able to take action against the wrongdoers.

Mr Brown: If you can find them.

Mr Wood: This is what the industry is concerned about, that it wanted to have that right, and we brought forward the motion which makes an amendment to address that to the industry.

Mr Brown: I guess we're not coming right to the basic premise, and the basic premise seems to be wrong, period. In my view, this particular group of individuals who are involved in having forest resource licences are being treated far differently than any other Ontario business that I know of.

Can you give me some other examples where the crown would act in such a manner?

Mr Wood: You used the furniture a while ago.

Mr Brown: Well, the furniture I agree was --

Mr Wood: But if I have a car and it's stolen, and even though I don't know who stole it and I've got payments on it, I still have to keep making those payments. I'm responsible for that property.

Mr Brown: I apologize for my analogy because it wasn't very good. It might have been better to talk about a corn crop that somebody comes in and harvests. I don't know how you'd do it with a corn crop.

Mr Hope: It would be pretty interesting if somebody stole a corn crop.

Mr Brown: I know it would be, but I'm fishing here, Randy. If you can help me with a better analogy --

Mr Hope: It would be pretty fishy, all right. If you can log fields --

Mr Brown: It's so odd. I can't think of another instance where this happens. Maybe Mr Hodgson would be able to find one.

The Vice-Chair: I don't think we're on a fishing expedition. We're trying to move the amendment.

Mr Brown: Are there any other examples? Where does this happen, other than in this particular instance, where the victim has to pay? Is there any?

Mr Wood: There's been a lot of consultation on this amendment before it was brought forward, in the drafting of it. The information we have is that it addresses the concerns the forest industry raised over the last few months and as a result we've brought it forward, understanding that it might not give 100% of what everybody wants, but at least they've indicated that it addresses most of their concerns.

The Vice-Chair: Okay. We're now ready for the vote.

Mr Brown: I think maybe we'll have to consider this particular measure and we'll need 20 minutes.

The Vice-Chair: Are you --

Mr Brown: I'm requesting 20 minutes.

The Vice-Chair: This committee stands adjourned until 5:10.

The committee recessed from 1650 to 1711.

The Vice-Chair: We're continuing our clause-by-clause considerations.

Mr Brown: My colleague from the Conservative Party is not here.

The Vice-Chair: Your colleague from the Conservative Party I'm sure will be appearing very shortly. We can perhaps continue the exchange since we are on the debate on section 37.

Clerk of the Committee: We have to have the vote. Under the standing orders, we vote on this now.

The Vice-Chair: I'm informed that we have to call the vote now.

All those in favour of the amendment by Mr Wood to section 37? Opposed? The amendment is carried. Any further amendments to section 37? Further debate?

Shall section 37, as amended, carry? Opposed? Carried.

Section 38: Are there any amendments? Debate?

Mr Brown: This section, if we read it with 37, as amended, means that a person could conceivably lose their licence for not paying fees on wood they did not harvest. I would gather that that's what the crown's hammer is. This is the hammer section.

Mr Wood: It's pretty clear on the way unpaid crown charges are handled.

Mr Brown: So you are saying, "If you do not pay fees on wood somebody stole from you, we won't renew your licence." Thank you. That clarifies that.

The Vice-Chair: Ready to vote? All those in favour of section 38? Opposed? Carried.

Section 39: Mr Brown, you have an amendment.

Mr Brown: I move that clause 39(1)(b) of the bill be amended by striking out "work schedule" and substituting "annual work schedule."

The reason for putting this is that we have consistently asked that a work schedule be determined in terms of an annual event. People are very concerned that they may end up having to file numerous schedules during a year. It would seem clear that it should be an annual work schedule, not one that happens 20 times or one that happens only once over five years. Really, what we're just asking for is pretty straightforward: to provide the crown with a work schedule for each year.

Mr Wood: The word "annual" being put in there doesn't allow us flexibility. You might not want to have "annual." You might want to have something other than annual. If that is tied into the legislation, you're bound by that. There may be some term other than "annual" that you might want there. Leaving it out will give you the flexibility. You're talking about it being covered under the forest planning manual?

Mr Brown: Yes.

Mr Wood: The term-of-work schedule will be covered in the Forest Management Planning Manual. We won't be supporting the amendment with the wording you have, "annual work schedule."

Mr Brown: What might you contemplate rather than "annual"?

Mr Wood: There might be some situations where you don't necessarily want to have an annual work schedule. That can be covered under the forest planning manual. It might vary in different planning processes.

Mr Brown: I suspect as I read this that it almost has to be an annual work schedule anyway, in that it's substituted for -- on the second anniversary date of this section coming into force, you are going to repeal this clause and substitute the applicable forest management plan. Is that a correct reading of the bill?

Mr Wood: It's always possible that at some time in the future you may want to do things a little bit differently than being bound by an annual work schedule.

Mr Brown: Would you think there would be more or less than annual work schedules? I'm trying to understand here whether the ministry is expecting, in a five-year plan, that there would be one for five years, or would there be one very year, or would there be five every year? I'm wondering what's contemplated by the ministry. Our suggestion is a yearly one, but if that's problematic, I'm trying to understand what it is that the ministry believes is necessary.

Mr Wood: There may be different resources we want to regulate, there might be a longer period of time. Under the timber EA, timber is one year, but there are other resources that might want to be longer; they could possibly be shorter, but it would probably be longer work schedules we'd be looking at.

Mr Brown: So for the management of the blueberry patch, you might have a work schedule other than annual. Is that what we're being told, and that I'm looking at this too narrowly, just thinking we have to do it as --

Mr Wood: We're looking at the flexibility that might be needed in the future as things change. When you're dealing with resources, you're dealing with different resources, and they might want to be handled in way other than an annual work schedule.

The Vice-Chair: Are we ready to vote? All those in favour of Mr Brown's amendment? Opposed? The amendment is lost.


Mr Wood: I move that subsection 39(2) of the bill be amended by striking out "forest ecosystem" in the last line and substituting "crown forest."

The rationale is that "crown forest" in the bill is defined as "a forest ecosystem or part of a forest ecosystem." This change is being proposed throughout the bill. The proposed amendment will make the bill more consistent.

Mr Brown: This is one of the things we've been objecting to right from the very beginning. The government seems to believe a crown forest is almost equated to a forest ecosystem. I've got news for the government: The lines are not that straight out there. There is private land in the area. There are provincial parks in the area. They may be part of the same ecosystem we're talking about.

Either the management units have to encompass ecosystems, which is probably not practical, or you have crown forests that are but part of an ecosystem. If you're managing the forest and managing for the ecosystem and managing for all those good things you always tell us have to be managed for, it seems to me that you have to take into account what might be just over the line if it is part of the same ecosystem. By just having "crown forest" there, you're not doing that. You're defeating what this bill is supposed to be about.

I wish somebody could explain to me why you would not want to take the ecosystem into account. A crown forest is not an ecosystem on its own: It may be many ecosystems; it may be part of many ecosystems.

I don't think you're accomplishing here what the government wants to accomplish, or what I think all of us want to accomplish, that is, that we have regard for the entire ecosystem in the area.

Mr Wood: What we're trying to do with this amendment is be consistent --

Mr Brown: Consistently wrong, I would suggest.

Mr Wood: Under the definitions, crown forests are spelled out. It "means a forest ecosystem or part of a forest ecosystem that is on land vested in Her Majesty in right of Ontario and under the management of the minister." It is basically cleanup language to be more consistent with the definition spelled out there of what a crown forest is.

Mr Brown: You've just made my point. We're talking about parts of ecosystems. I think, in order to plan a forest correctly, you have to look at the forest ecosystem, which is what the bill says. If you change that to "crown forest," you're regarding, it seems to me, the area within the limits or within the management agreement or the management licence, whatever you want to call it. You're looking at it separately, and I don't think that's what we're trying to do here; at least that wasn't what I was led to believe this was about.

This is about managing for the ecosystem, of which this may only be part, and therefore you're better with the wording you've got. I think you want people to take what's just over that line into account. If there's a provincial park on the other side of the line, which very well could be, maybe you don't want to clear-cut right up to the edge of it. Maybe that would be bad, maybe it would be good, I don't know. But you would certainly want to take into account that there's a crown forest that happens to be in a provincial park right across that line. By talking about the ecosystem, rather than by talking about the crown forest, you can achieve that. I don't think I'm just splitting hairs; I think it's an important point to this bill.

Mr Wood: We are suggesting that striking out "forest ecosystem" and substituting "crown forest," as in the definition -- I've explained that we're being consistent throughout the bill by bringing forward this amendment.

Mr Brown: Doesn't it bother you that you may be being consistently wrong?

The Vice-Chair: If I can just be helpful, we are at section 39 and it's 5:20. We do have a substantive number of sections still left, so can we close this debate?

Mr Wood: This is spoken to in the forest management plan in the manual.

Mr Brown: So you're saying this issue is addressed. It can only be addressed within the manual if the regulations permit that, and the regulations can only do that if it's permitted by the act.

Are you telling me that "ecosystem" and "crown forest" are the same thing? I don't think they are, and I don't think many people would believe that. The crown forest is an arbitrary line that has been determined somewhere which relates to harvesting activities and who's got tenure on it and that sort of thing, but it doesn't necessarily represent, and probably doesn't represent, ecosystems.

Mr Wood: If you look at the definition on page 3, it spells it out quite clearly. We've dealt with that earlier.

Mr Brown: I'll surrender, Mr Chair.

The Vice-Chair: Thank you. Are we ready to vote on the government motion? All those in favour of Mr Wood's amendment to section 39? Opposed? Carried.

There is a Liberal motion to section 39.

Mr Brown: We will not put this amendment.

The Vice-Chair: Okay. All those in favour of section 39, as amended? Opposed? Carried.

Section 40: Any amendments, comments, debate?

Mr Brown: Maybe the ministry can help us, and I believe this would be the appropriate time to ask. I have heard some corridor chatter about a compliance manual and I'm wondering if the ministry believes that there should be a compliance manual. This is a compliance section. As members all know, these thousand pages or so of manuals are what probably define this act more than the bill. The bill is tremendously permissive; some would say unbelievably permissive. Is there any suggestion that there will be a compliance manual?

Mr Wood: The plan is not to have an additional manual. I think we're talking about the fact that it could be a policy that will assist, but not a compliance manual.

Mr Brown: So the corridor chatter I've heard is incorrect: There is no thought of a compliance manual that will be added to the four manuals we have already. Fine.

Mr Hodgson: Just for my information, just so we're all privy to the same corridor chatter -- I also have heard about this compliance manual. Can the parliamentary assistant explain to me and to the public the background behind this? If we're going to deal with it at this section, that's fine. Is there some contemplation that there will be compliance guidelines put into an existing manual, and if so, what form will they take and what proof do we have that it's going to happen?

Mr Wood: We've said we will abide by all the terms of the EA that was out there and the EA requires a policy or a handbook, but an additional manual is not the intention. The terms and conditions of the EA requires that a handbook of some type be there.


Mr Hodgson: Would that be part of the existing Forest Operations and Silviculture Manual? To make it simpler, have you gone through your second workshop with the manuals?

Mr Wood: Yes.

Mr Hodgson: And during those workshops was it contemplated that there would be additions to the first draft we saw? Is that where it came up? Was it discussed at the workshop?

Mr Wood: Not an additional manual, no.

Mr Hodgson: I realize that, but as part of an existing manual, the Forest Operations and Silviculture Manual. Would there be additions to that which would alleviate some of the concerns expressed, which I've heard in hallways and offices and lunchrooms?

The Vice-Chair: There's chatter in the corridor.

Mr Hodgson: There's chatter in this room for sure, Mr Chair, but let's put it on the record.

Mr Wood: I did not participate 100% of the time in any of the workshops, but my understanding is as in the comments I made earlier, that the EA requires some type of pretty simple handbook. That will be done, but not an additional manual.

Mr Hodgson: Will it be referenced, though, in the operations manual?

Mr Wood: Yes.

Mr Hodgson: That's what I'm getting at. When will we see that? When will the final draft of the manual be out?

The Vice-Chair: I'm sure all this is related to section 40.

Mr Hodgson: Extremely.

Mr Brown: Yes, Mr Chair, this is the compliance section.

Mr Wood: Yes, it will be within one year of the passing of the Crown Forest Sustainability Act.

Mr Hodgson: But one of the things we'll be debating when this comes out of committee and goes into the House -- this is enabling legislation. The manuals were provided to us in draft form so we would have a basis for approving or rejecting this legislation or trying to improve it, so we were given the draft copies. Will we be given second draft copies, including not the exact handbook but the points that will be included in this handbook? Instead of a separate compliance manual it will be involved in one of the other manuals, but will we have a chance to take a look at the issues that are going to be covered before it goes into the House, just a précis of it?

Mr Wood: The regulations, as they're being revised and updated, are out there now, the latest edition of them. After the last workshop, I believe we're talking about the third draft, and there's no reason why we shouldn't have them available.

Mr Hodgson: We have the first drafts, and the government's been very cooperative in sending them over.

Mr Wood: And they're working on the third draft now.

Mr Hodgson: So a précis of this compliance handbook will be included with this third draft, I would assume.

Mr Wood: It will be produced within a year after the act has been passed.

Mr Hodgson: And that will be referenced in the third draft of the manuals; that there will be a subsequent section in one of these manuals that will talk about compliance guidelines?

Mr Wood: The reference will be there that it will be worked on and produced.

Mr Hodgson: That confirms some of the corridor chatter. Now we're all dealing with the same information.

Mr Wood: But it is a handbook. The chatter was wrong in terms of a fifth manual being produced.

Mr Hodgson: But it was essentially correct in the substance of how it's going to affect the industry.

Mr Brown: This is an interesting discussion, and I'm having some difficulty following it in some ways. If there are to be compliance "guidelines" -- I guess that's the word we're using -- from what authority do they flow? Does there not have to be authority within the act for these guidelines to come into force, and would they not better be part of the manuals, which are subject to the regulations, subject to the act? I am having some difficulty in my own mind in putting this all together.

Where does the authority for the guidelines come from, and cannot the guidelines be changed rather easily from one moment to another, certainly as compared to regulations or manuals?

You then enter the second problem, and it's a problem we've encountered over and over again, where one district manager in one place interprets the guideline in a certain way and the next district manager sees it in a different way and we end up with seven or eight different standards for essentially the same problem or operation.

One of the problems we've had and expressed over a long period of time is the fact that later on it talks about loss or damage. There's no definition of loss or damage. I would presume that the compliance guidelines are going to attempt to define loss or damage so we can understand what it is that loss or damage means. I would prefer that we had loss or damage defined in the act so that people would have some idea of what they were dealing with as they went about their daily business.

How does the authority flow for the guideline? Doesn't it have to be in a manual? Therefore, wouldn't the manual have to be changed and therefore wouldn't the regulations have to be changed and therefore wouldn't the act have to permit all of the above?

Mr Hodgson: He just told me it's going to be in the manual.

Mr Brown: But that means there has to be permission in the act for the regulation, because the regulation changes the manual. One of the things people have always -- at least they've knocked on my door about it on a number of occasions over the seven years I've been here. They've been concerned about the way guidelines have been interpreted. Guidelines are not law, they're guidelines. There's an argument for flexibility, but there's also an argument for consistency.

Mr Wood: What we're trying to do is to eliminate some of your concerns, where you say a district manager would interpret one way in one area and in another way in another area, by bringing all of the stakeholders together, whether it be the pulp and paper industry representatives or the OLMA representatives, and making sure we have a standard handbook that will be applied right across the crown forests. That should clarify some of the concerns you said you've been addressed with over the last seven years. That is the intention.

Mr Brown: But my question really is, where does the authority to do that come from? Where is the authority to issue those specific guidelines? That necessarily would have to come from the manuals, I would think.

Mr Wood: There are EA requirements out there as well.

Mr Brown: There are quite a number of them, and that's also been a concern. Again it's this question of process. The EA requires a great number of things, and many people would say the EA requirement is stricter than this act in many places. I've been concerned that across the crown forests of Ontario we will not have the same regime. There are areas outside the mandate of the class timber EA, and those areas outside will be governed by the act solely, not by the timber EA, because that timber wasn't subject to it. That means you're going to automatically have two different regimes. I'm wondering where the authority comes to enforce the EA if it's not within this act. The EA says you've got to do it, but how do you do it, is my real question. What legislative authority does the minister have to police the EA terms and conditions?

Mr Wood: Every piece of legislation sets up guidelines to follow. As we said, this legislation was drafted along the lines of the EA and it will address all those concerns. I believe the authority for the guidelines is addressed in here.

Mr Brown: The opposition is just trying to be comfortable that you have the legislative authority to do what you say you want to do here. We're wondering where that is. It seems to us that the authority has to flow from the manual to the guidelines. Is that right?

Mr Wood: The EA ruling is basically saying there has to be a handbook. We're saying we abide by the rules of the timber EA, so that's another --

Mr Brown: How do you deal with that in the area that's not subject to the timber EA?

Mr Wood: Which areas are you talking about?

Mr Brown: We were told at committee that there were areas outside of the timber EA. When I was asking questions about that the last time we met, I was informed -- I don't have a map to know exactly where they are, but the ministry staff said that was the case.

Mr Wood: There are some really remote northern areas that were not covered. Yes, that's quite true.

The Vice-Chair: Are you ready to vote on section 40?

Mr Hodgson: No, Mr Chair. I need a bit of clarifica tion on this. We're dealing with section 40: "A person who conducts forest operations in a crown forest shall comply with the Forest Operations and Silviculture Manual." So it's not just about timber extraction, is that correct?

Mr Wood: Right.

Mr Hodgson: But the crown EA dealt basically with the timber environmental assessment. This act is enabling legislation for all who have a forest operation. That's not just timber extraction.

Mr Wood: No.

Mr Hodgson: In answer to my first question, I was told that there's not going to be a separate manual, but inside those manuals there will be a compliance guideline or how you will comply with it. It won't be a separate manual, but it will be included inside that manual. Is that correct? I realize it won't be done for a year.

Mr Wood: If you're talking about the handbook that is going to be referenced, yes.

Mr Hodgson: Okay. It's going to be referenced in there, so somebody who has an operation in the crown forest will look at the Forest Operations and Silviculture Manual and it'll reference this compliance guideline, so he'll look in the compliance guideline to make sure he's operating an environmentally sound operation.

Mr Wood: Yes, and the handbook will be ready within a year after the act is passed.

The Vice-Chair: I think we're ready now to vote on section 40.

Mr Hodgson: No, 20 minutes.

The Vice-Chair: Could we not just finish section 40? Do you not want to vote on section 40 at this point?

Mr Hodgson: I'm new at this, Mr Chair. What happens at 20 minutes to 6 on a Thursday night if 20 minutes is requested?

The Vice-Chair: If you are requesting a 20-minute recess, we won't have a vote on section 40 today.

Mr Hodgson: But we will when we resume on the following Thursday?

The Vice-Chair: We will go immediately to the vote, but I would prefer that we do a vote now.

Mr Hodgson: I still have to be clear on this issue of where it'll be. That's the only problem I have with voting on it right now.

The Vice-Chair: I'm in the hands of the committee. Can we vote?

Mr Hodgson: No, 20 minutes.

The Vice-Chair: You are requesting a 20-minute recess? Okay. This committee stands adjourned until November 17 at 10 o'clock, at which time we'll be voting on section 40.

The committee adjourned at 1745.