Timber Cutting Rights on Crown Land

Timber cutting rights for Crown land may be allocated by the Crown under The Forest Act by:

  • Forest Management License Agreements (FMLA)
  • Timber Sale Agreements (TSA)
  • Timber Permits

There are currently two Forest Management License Agreements, 76 Timber Sale Agreement Holders and 2,928 Timber Permit Holders in Manitoba.

1. Forest Management License Agreements (FMLA)

The minister, with the approval of the Lieutenant Governor in Council may grant a Forest Management License (FML) to an industry where the investment in a wood-using industry established, or to be established in Manitoba, is sufficient to require the security of a continuous timber supply. The license is subject to Sections 11 and 12 of The Forest Act, to such terms and conditions as may be imposed by the minister, and to such terms and conditions as may be prescribed in the Forest Use and Management Regulations. The license is restricted to the species, size, quality and quantity of timber which, in the opinion of the minister, is required by the licensee.

FMLA are granted for a period of not more than 20 years. The license may be renewed with or without change or amendments to the terms and conditions under which it was originally granted, for additional periods of not more than 20 years each.

Forest Management Licenses are required to prepare a long-term Forest Management Plan (FMP) for the land area included in their FMLA that incorporates strategic and operational considerations. Operating Plans (OP) and Annual Reports are also required.

2. Timber Sale Agreements (TSA)

Timber Sale Agreements may be issued under a number of circumstances. The TSA is a legal document describing the softwood and/or hardwood volume to be harvested, the specific locations to be harvested, and any special conditions for that harvest. The responsibility for forest management planning for areas under TSAs is in most circumstances assumed by Manitoba Sustainable Development. TSAs may be issued in the following ways:

  • Auctions: Auctions are usually initiated by Manitoba Sustainable Development in order to promote economic development. Alternatively, if an individual or company expresses an interest in harvesting wood in a particular area that may be of interest to others, an auction may be held to ensure equal opportunity and fairness to all who may be interested in accessing that wood for harvest. Auctions are done by sealed tender, with the TSA being awarded to the highest bid.
  • Direct Awards: Direct awards are those which are awarded without a competition. Direct Awards generally result from single party interest in remote communities or areas with limited economic potential. If no bids or tenders are received in Timber Sale auctions, the Director of Forestry may directly award a Timber Sale to any person who applies within 12 months of the original auction competition date.
  • Community Allocation: A community allocation is a direct award that is granted to a community, in order to provide economic and other benefits to the community, rather than to an individual or an industry. Communities interested in this type of TSA submit a plan prior to receiving the TSA, indicating the desired allocation and how that allocation would benefit the community.
  • Special Allocations: This type of TSA is granted under special circumstances to individuals, industry or other groups. Interested parties must submit a proposal/business plan to Sustainable Development explaining how the TSA would benefit the province as a whole via creation of employment, benefits to the provincial economy, etc.
  • Quotas: Timber producers who operated a sale or permit in the three years previous to June 14, 1965 were granted a annual volume of wood based on their last three year’s average production. This right was called a quota. The original quota system ran from 1965 to 1980. The new quota system (1980 to present) is essentially an extension of the original quota system with a few modifications. The new quota system in Manitoba is governed by the Timber Quota Policy. Although each quota holder possesses an annual allocation of wood, either a TSA or a Timber Permit is still required as legal authority to harvest their quota.

3.  Timber Permits

Timber permits are provided for both commercial and personal harvests of less than 300 m3, often for purposes such as cutting for firewood, fence posts, or for small lumber/sawmill operations. These permits are only issued for a maximum of one-year and will not be extended. Forest Management Plans for areas harvested under Timber Permits are done by Sustainable Development.

In recognition of an Aboriginal right to harvest timber for domestic use, status Indian people may obtain a Timber Permit free of charge, which will allow them to harvest timber for their own use from the traditional use area of their First Nation.

Further details regarding specific regulations, policies and legislation which pertain to the various forms of timber cutting rights in Manitoba can be found in the following documents: