B.C. law to protect forestry contractors is silent on silviculture providers

The B.C. government has introduced the Forestry Service Provider Protection Act as part of its promise to rewrite the antique Woodworkers Lien Act. But the proposed law does not specifically mention silviculture contractors or nurseries as forestry services providers.

The Act creates lien rights over forest products as well as a compensation fund for logging, hauling and road building operators affected by insolvent forest companies. It allows for the recognition of logging services “and any other prescribed activity.”Nevertheless, since the Act is actually silent on naming silviculture contracting or seedling nurseries, normal legislative practices indicate that to be included silviculture firms and nurseries would have to be prescribed in subsequent regulation as service providers. Access to the compensation fund would also require similar regulation. At this point the WSCA has made enquiries and is waiting for a reply from the minister’s office as how to interpret the new legislation. In the WSCA’s opinion silviculture service providers have a strong case for compensation when their work goes unpaid by insolvent forest companies: a case the organization has been making to government for the last three years after three tree planting firms suffered losses having completed contracts for clients who later went bankrupt. The WSCA is seeking the cooperation of Cabinet in recognizing silviculture sector contractors, nurseries and consulting foresters who contract to forest companies as prescribed forestry service providers under the new Act and pending regulation.