MONTREAL – With public consultations and testing completed, FSC Canada expects the final version of the organization’s new national forest management standard to be ready for 2018.
Following the field testing of the national standard in the spring of 2017, the Standards Development Group has been working diligently to reach consensus on a final version of the standard.
Upon approval by the Standards Development Group, the Standard will be sent to the FSC Canada Board of Directors in December 2017 and then will be submitted to FSC International for final approval in January 2018. FSC Canada anticipates approval from FSC international by spring 2018.
As of the effective date, certificate holders will have one year to transition to the new standard. Within the transition period, certificate holders can choose to be audited to the current forest management standards or the revised National Forest Management Standard. But all certificate holders will be evaluated against the revised National Forest Management Standard within one year.
FSC Canada will support certificate holders and certification bodies with the transition and implementation of the revised standard with training beginning in 2018.
The new standard has several key elements that differentiate it from its predecessor, such as, indicators that deal with free, prior and informed consent (FPIC) and managing species at risk. FSC Canada will be releasing a public summary of significant changes from Draft 2 to the pre-approved draft once the standard is finalized.
Indicators for intact forest landscapes and Indigenous cultural landscapes will continue to be developed until 2019. These requirements will be developed to be aligned with species at risk indicators; other landscape requirements; and Intact Forest Landscape approaches.
Scale, intensity and risk indicators specific to smallholders and community forests will not be included in the final draft of the standard. With FSC International’s ‘New Approaches’ program aiming to enable smallholders to design a certification system that works for them, FSC Canada will work with FSC International to develop a smallholder and community standard and will adapt requirements in the next revision of FSC’s forest management standard. Until the new scale, intensity and risk related standard is ready, smallholder and community forests in Canada will be able to continue using existing regional forest management standards (B.C., Maritimes and draft Great Lakes St-Lawrence Standard).
FSC Canada initiated the standard revision process in 2012 to align to the new international generic indicators and merge all four regional standards into a single national forest management standard that properly reflects the realities of forestry in Canada in 2017. Draft 1 of the standard was released for public consultation in 2015 and a second draft was released in 2016 for a 60-day public consultation. The draft standard was then field/desk tested in spring 2017.