MONTREAL – The annual general meeting of the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) Canada was held in Montreal June 28-29 to finalize the organization’s new forest management standard.

“Our annual general meeting brings together representatives from our four chambers – economic, social, environmental and Aboriginal – who together reach consensus on the standard and actions needed to ensure both the sustainability of our forests and their ability to meet our different needs as a society,” said François Dufresne, president of FSC Canada. “This approach ensures our standard is achievable and meaningful for all concerned, ultimately helping us preserve our forests for future generations.”

According to FSC, its certification provides solutions for those involved in forest management in Canada by validating the social licence of certificate holders with various groups, including indigenous peoples, environmental groups, unions and consumers.

FSC Canada initiated the standard revision process in 2012 to merge all four regional standards into a single National Forest Management Standard “that properly reflects the realities of forestry in Canada in 2017.” FSC Canada plans to have the final version of the standard approved by the end of 2017, for implementation in early 2018.

The new standard has several key elements that differentiate it from its predecessor. Indicators that deal with free, prior and informed consent (FPIC), as well as indicators for small and low-intensity forests will be included. There are also new normative requirements for managing species at risk, such as woodland caribou, that recognize and encourage the implementation of the federal government’s Recovery Strategy for woodland caribou. Furthermore, indicators for intact forest landscapes and Indigenous cultural landscapes will be developed following a stepwise approach, in the near future.

“This effort marks a new and important stage in FSC Canada having a more uniform standard across Canada as well as meeting key needs of indigenous people and protecting species at risk,” said Andrew Tremblay, chairman of the Board of Directors of FSC Canada. “It is very encouraging to see the constructive discussions we have had and continue to have in developing our new standard.”

In addition to its focus on the new forest management standard, FSC Canada, its board of directors and its members also addressed a number of key issues, ranging from the implementation of FSC Canada’s strategic plan to preparations for the FSC International General Assembly which will be held in Vancouver in early October.