Oakes says new legislation will burden struggling forest industry

VICTORIA (May 30, 2019) With the passage of provincial legislation that will radically alter B.C.’s forest industry, Cariboo North MLA Coralee Oakes is raising alarm bells that Bill 22 will negatively impact jobs and forest-dependent communities at a time when the industry is suffering most.

“Premier Horgan should be focused on making the forest industry more cost-competitive. Instead he is drowning the industry under new red tape and reporting requirements,” said Oakes. “We have seen the curtailment of several shift operations in the month of May alone, leaving hundreds without work. This is a clear indication of an industry in trouble, yet this government just wants to burden mill operators with more and more regulations.”

Oakes, as Opposition Critic for Small Business, points to the burdensome new reporting requirements included in Bill 22, which casts a massive net over job providers including silviculture contractors, logging contractors, subcontractors and manufacturers that don’t hold timber rights.

“In the 1990s the NDP brought in the Forest Practices Code, which strangled the forestry industry with red tape and made the industry one of the highest cost producers of timber in the world,” Oakes continued. “It added $1.8 billion a year to the forestry sector’s production costs and now we are seeing the whole thing all over again. Mills are already cancelling shifts because of high production costs. ”

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