VICTORIA — British Columbia 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. 

A statement from the Forests Ministry says changes to B.C. lumber regulations will require mills to “fully manufacture” lumber from cedar and cypress trees, producing items such as wood veneer, mouldings, shingles, siding, flooring and fencing.

Existing regulations allow “minimally processed” cedar and cypress to be exported from the Interior without further manufacturing, and the government says the amendment set to cut that practice will take effect in February.

It says an exemption must be obtained to export wood products that do not meet the specifications, such as logs, and a fee-in-lieu of manufacturing paid to the province.

The Independent Wood Processors Association of B.C. welcomed the changes, saying in a statement that restricting raw lumber exports will create opportunities for higher-value manufacturing and keep more forestry jobs in the province.

In his mandate letter to Forests Minister Bruce Ralston, Premier David Eby said the “unchecked export of raw logs” was among issues requiring change to ensure B.C.’s forest industry is sustainable.

The government statement released Monday says the change in the Interior builds on previous amendments that require western red cedar and cypress, also known as yellow cedar, to be fully manufactured before export from coastal areas.

“The regulation updates support work already underway to get more value from every tree harvested by strengthening the wood manufacturing industry,” it says.

“In the coastal region, these export requirements have reduced the volume of minimally processed cedar leaving the province.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 5, 2023.

The Canadian Press

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