Edmonton, April 7, 2020 – Today, the Alberta Forest Products Association (AFPA) expressed its appreciation for the Government of Alberta’s decision to defer timber dues payments for up to six months.
The decision comes in light of the intense hardship that COVID-19 has placed on forestry companies. Those who produce building products like lumber, plywood, oriented strand board (OSB), laminated veneer lumber (LVL), and medium density fibreboard (MDF) have experienced rapidly deteriorating markets. Producers of newsprint and certain grades of pulp are also negatively impacted.
“We applaud Minister Dreeshen for taking the initiative to make Alberta the first jurisdiction in Canada to defer timber dues,” said AFPA President and CEO Paul Whittaker. “Like many segments of Alberta’s economy, the forest industry is experiencing an acute liquidity crisis from COVID-19. This decision will help forest companies have the resources on hand to pay bills and retain employees during the crisis.”
Whittaker also emphasized that the deferral is temporary and that forest companies fully intend to make payment. “This is not free money for the forest sector. It is temporary help during a time of crisis. We do expect markets to recover and companies will pay their dues.”
Forest companies pay approximately $125 million annually in timber dues to the Government of Alberta. Additionally, Alberta’s forest companies pay $500 million per year in taxes to federal, provincial, and municipal governments and $1.6 billion in wages and other compensation to employees.