Unpaid Silviculture Contractors Out Thousands

At least one silviculture contractor and a rumoured second have gone unpaid by forest harvest license holders after completing silviculture work this spring. In the certain case a non-renewable forest license (NRFL) holder went bankrupt leaving the contractor short his payroll and costs.

At this stage there doesn’t appear to be any straightforward remedy implicit in the NRFL agreements to ensure proper compensation to other parties for obligatory silviculture work performed on Crown Land as part of the license. The Crown does not seem to attract any liability for issuing licenses to unreliable applicants.

This possibly growing problem is reminiscent of the ’90s when a number of foundering forest companies left many contractors in the lurch. At the time Forest Renewal BC was in a position to intervene and mitigate the damages to many small forestry firms. Those incidents renewed interest in updating the Woodworker Lien Act. But that enthusiasm died when the NDP lost the election and its legislative champions lost their seats.

Now may be the time for the WSCA and other forest contracting associations to revisit the outdated Woodworker Lien Act. In the meantime the WSCA intends to recommend that any Forest For Tomorrow projects protect silviculture contractors from failing FFT recipients.