VANCOUVER, BC, Nov. 2, 2021 /PRNewswire/ - Western Forest Products Inc. (TSX: WEF) ("Western" or the "Company") today provides an initial response to the British Columbia provincial government's (the "Province") update on its review of old growth forest management.
The Province has announced its intention to work in partnership with First Nations on the proposed deferral of harvesting in 2.6 million hectares of BC forests. The proposed deferrals, if implemented, have been identified as temporary, and are subject to First Nations engagement. The Province continues to state that final decisions on deferral areas will be based on discussions between the Province and First Nations governments.
Western requires more specific information on the Province's proposed measures to meaningfully assess any potential impacts on the Company's business. Determination of potential impacts will be subject to further dialogue with the First Nations on whose territories the Company operates and their government-to-government discussions. Should the proposed measures impact Western's business, the Company will seek support from the Province for its workers and full compensation for investments.
The Province's Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act affirms the application of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, including the right to free, prior and informed consent. Western respects government-to-government engagement and the critical role First Nations have in decisions that may affect them.
Western has been working with First Nations for many years to foster positive working relationships built on respect for Aboriginal rights and title, including the right of First Nations to economically benefit from the lands within their territories. Western appreciates and welcomes the opportunity we have been given by many of our Indigenous partners to support and participate in these important processes.
Western has achieved a series of milestone agreements with Indigenous partners in 2021 that advance our mutually beneficial relationships and exemplify the Company's ongoing actions to support reconciliation. These actions include the collaboration on and co-development of:
We appreciate the opportunity to work together with these and other First Nations in advancing sustainable forest management.
About Western Forest Products Inc.
Western is an integrated forest products company building a margin-focused log and lumber business to compete successfully in global softwood markets. With operations and employees located primarily on the coast of British Columbia and Washington State, Western is a premier supplier of high-value, specialty forest products to worldwide markets. Western has a lumber capacity in excess of 1.0 billion board feet from seven sawmills and four remanufacturing facilities. The Company sources timber from its private lands, long-term licenses, First Nations arrangements, and market purchases. Western supplements its production through a wholesale program providing customers with a comprehensive range of specialty products.
This press release contains statements that may constitute forward-looking statements under the applicable securities laws. Readers are cautioned against placing undue reliance on forward-looking statements. All statements herein, other than statements of historical fact, may be forward-looking statements and can be identified by the use of words such as "will", "may" and similar references to future periods. Although such statements reflect management's current reasonable beliefs, expectations and assumptions, there can be no assurance that forward-looking statements are accurate, and actual results or performance may materially vary. Many factors could cause our actual results or performance to be materially different, including a change in the Company's financial situation, general economic conditions, development and changes in laws and regulations affecting the forest industry, including as related to old growth timber management, and other factors referenced under the "Risks and Uncertainties" section of our MD&A in our 2020 Annual Report dated February 18, 2021.
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SOURCE Western Forest Products Inc.