Elevated prices for finished lumber and panel products have led several Canadian provinces to raise the timber royalty rates they are charging to lumber manufacturing companies. New Brunswick is not, at least not as of yet. The province instead continues to standby a decision made to keep its royalty rates frozen at levels set 6-years ago by the former government.
On Tuesday, Alberta raised its fees on Crown softwood logs for large users to a record $166.63 per cubic meter, the sixth increase this year. The Alberta fees are five times more than the $31.09 New Brunswick is charging companies for a cubic meter of softwood saw logs. A rate numerous critics have challenged as a gift to industry given high prices the lumber the logs are made into are attracting.
Rick Doucett is president of the New Brunswick federation of woodlot owners and says it is not clear to him why the province is not making as much as it could from the wood it owns to fund services as other provinces are. “The very least the government could do is get in the game and say we should be making some money here,” said Doucett. While rising timber royalties are helping other provinces with additional budgeting funds, timber royalties earned by New Brunswick did not budge at all during the last year and are projected to remain flat this year.
Mike Holland, New Brunswick’s natural resources and energy development minister, has said his department is not yet convinced higher lumber prices warrant charging industry more for trees. Holland, however, has not ruled out raising royalty rates on Crown-owned trees if lumber prices remain high. Holland also warned that fluctuating stumpage rates would penalize private sellers of wood once lumber prices fall.
FEA compiles the Wood Markets News from various 3rd party sources to provide readers with the latest news impacting forest product markets. Opinions or views expressed in these articles do not necessarily represent those of FEA.
N.B. holds firm on royalty rates on Crown timber as Alberta, B.C. raise rates again