NOMA OUTLINES CONCERNS WITH FOREST TENURE LEGISLATION
For immediate release: Wednesday, April 13, 2011
THUNDER BAY – Today, the Northwestern Ontario Municipal Association made a presentation by video conference to the Standing Committee on General Government as part of its review of the Ontario Forest Tenure Modernization Act, 2011 (Bill 151). NOMA is asking for amendments to the Bill that would: limit to two the number of Local Forest Management Corporation pilot models; provide recognition and support for enhanced Shareholder Forest Licenses; and, remove the unacceptable expansion of Government authority to cancel licenses, commitments and supply agreements for any reason without legal recourse or remedy.
In his presentation, President Ron Nelson commented, “NOMA believes that a minimum 5 year trial period that includes the creation of only two Local Forest Management Corporation (LFMC) pilot models, as well as support for enhanced Shareholder Sustainable Forest Licenses (SFLs) would provide an appropriate opportunity for comparison and evaluation and would reduce further uncertainty for producers. We trust that the committee will see the value in what the Minister originally promised and amend Bill 151 before it is sent back to the Legislature for Report Stage and 3rd reading.”
Nelson continued, “We are distressed with the expansion of Government authority for the Minister or the Lieutenant Governor in Council to cancel licenses, commitments and supply agreements for any reason. The changes go even further by removing existing rights of notice and appeal and any legal recourse or remedy if wood is unfairly taken away. These proposals are tantamount to my mortgage holder being provided the authority to take back my house without just cause and without any opportunity for me to appeal that decision. Clearly, such a change to the Mortgages Act would be met with outrage and public demonstrations....yet somehow the Government has decided that applying those practices to our forest producers is tolerable. These changes are absolutely unacceptable and must be removed from Bill 151 immediately.”
NOMA represents the interests of municipalities from Kenora and Rainy River in the west to Hornepayne and Wawa in the east. It provides leadership in advocating regional interests to all orders of government and other organizations.