BC GOVERNMENT NEWS — The provincial government is keeping its commitment to protect B.C. jobs and support companies investing in British Columbia that are creating more high-value products from its natural resources and want to employ local workers.

Changes to the Manufactured Forest Products Regulation (MFPR) around export requirements for sawn-wood products and lumber made from western red cedar or cypress go into effect Sept. 30, 2020. These changes are intended to increase the amount of processing of wood products done within British Columbia, leading to more B.C. jobs, rather than having that processing done after export.

Under the amended MFPR, the maximum dimension of lumber to be considered a sawn-wood product will be 0.1 square metres (approximately 12 inches by 12 inches). This will require further domestic processing of lumber prior to being eligible for export. Additionally, the regulation amendments will require that in the Coast area, lumber that is made from western red cedar or cypress must be fully manufactured. Products that do not meet these new criteria will require a provincial export permit and payment of a fee in lieu of manufacture to be eligible for export.

MFPR, introduced in 2003, defines the criteria that products must meet to be considered manufactured under the Forest Act. Under the current regulation, logs that are squared off up to a maximum dimension of 0.2 square metres (approximately 17 inches by 17 inches) are categorized as a sawn-wood product and may be exported without further manufacture.

These changes were initially set to come into effect July 1 but were postponed due to the ongoing COVID-19 crisis. This additional time allowed the forest industry to recover from the challenges associated with the pandemic and to better prepare for the resulting market impacts.

Reinvigorating B.C.’s forest sector to improve both environmental standards and jobs for local communities is a shared priority between government, the BC Green Party caucus, and Andrew Weaver, MLA for Oak Bay-Gordon Head, and is part of the Confidence and Supply Agreement.