Dues for timber are being deferred for up to six months in an effort to help keep the forestry industry alive and prevent layoffs during the pandemic, the province announced Saturday.
Forestry is the third-largest resource sector in Alberta after energy and agriculture and employs more than 18,000 people. The province said the deferral aims to help rural economies that depend on the industry — which has seen lower demand for its products, as in many other sectors — and will support companies that have staff quarantined or working from home.
“Ensuring the economic viability for our responsible forest companies will help Alberta families and contribute to our economic recovery,” said Devin Dreeshen, Alberta’s forestry and agriculture minister, in a news release Saturday.
A letter to Alberta timber disposition holders on March 26 said companies that can’t submit production or timber dues payments by the due date can apply for a request for relief from penalty and interest charges for up to six months. The letter says holding and protection payments are still required for quotas, commercial timber permits and community commercial permits, but companies can defer payments for up to six months before being charged interest.