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 B.C. amends lumber regulations to boost local manufacturing
[Dec 13,  2023]

B.C. is moving to reduce the export of raw logs harvested in the province by requiring that certain types of lumber from the Interior undergo manufacturing first.

The British Columbia Ministry of Forests has announced amendments to the province¡¯s lumber regulations, aiming to boost local manufacturing and job growth in the forestry sector.

These changes, effective Feb. 1, 2024, will particularly impact the manufacturing of cedar and cypress lumber in the Interior region of B.C.

Under the revised Manufactured Forest Products Regulation, mills in the Interior will be required to fully manufacture cedar and cypress wood that has been harvested. This shift means wood products like veneer, panel products, decking, flooring, moldings, shingles and siding will be produced within the province, rather than exporting minimally processed wood, a release reads. For products that do not meet the regulation¡¯s specifications, such as logs, mills must obtain an exemption and pay a fee-in-lieu of manufacture to the province.

These amendments build on previous 2020 regulation updates for mills in the coastal region of B.C., which have already shown success in reducing the volume of minimally processed cedar leaving the province.

Additionally, recent changes to the Forest Act have enhanced the Ministry of Finance¡¯s auditing capabilities concerning the fee-in-lieu of manufacture for export logs and lumber. Companies involved in log and lumber export may be subject to audits to ensure compliance with the Manufactured Forest Products Regulation¡¯s requirements for permitting and annual reporting.

The Manufactured Forest Products Regulation, initially introduced in 2003, sets out criteria for products to be considered manufactured under the Forest Act. Prior to these new amendments, minimally processed cedar and cypress lumber from the Interior could be exported without further manufacturing.

This initiative aligns with the 2021-introduced Modernizing Forest Policy in British Columbia, which aims to increase fibre access for value-added domestic manufacturers.