The Ministry of the Economy has introduced changes to The Forest Resources Management Regulations creating a dues system that is more market-based and consistent across the industry.
“The proposed dues system builds on several important commitments of this government,” Energy and Resources Minister Tim McMillan said. “We are committed to steady economic growth, to providing a competitive business environment for the forestry sector, and to sustainable management and long-term health of Saskatchewan’s provincial forests.”
Effective July 1, 2014, the dues system will be universally applied, which will level the playing field for all forestry companies operating in Saskatchewan.
Dues are paid to the government for each cubic metre of timber harvested from Saskatchewan’s Crown forests. Currently, five separate timber dues systems exist and dues rates are not consistent between companies producing the same forest products.
“The Saskatchewan forest industry welcomes the timber dues changes,” Sakaw Askiy Management Inc. General Manager Dave Knight said. “The changes will help to further anchor the build out and continued growth of a green and sustainable industry by providing necessary certainty and predictability.”
A government-forest industry working group was formed in 2011 to establish timber dues review principles, identify issues with the status quo, and review timber dues systems in other provinces. The Ministry of the Economy led the review working in collaboration with the ministries of Environment, Justice, and Executive Council - Intergovernmental Affairs, in consultation with the forest industry.
Objectives of the review included: one standardized dues system for Saskatchewan; responsiveness to forest product markets; remaining competitive with other provinces; providing a fair return to Saskatchewan; and, honoring related commitments in the Canada-United States Softwood Lumber Agreement.
“The forest industry has come through a very difficult period, and is gaining strength with seven mills now back in operation,” McMillan said. “These changes will add consistency to the dues process and will enable the industry to continue its steady growth.”