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Expertise / Sectors / Forestry

Forests are a main feature of Canada’s topography and an important part of its economy. With the third-largest forested area in the world, Canada is a leader in forestry and sustainable forest management. While forestry businesses have great opportunities in Canada, they are also subject to operational, environmental and a variety of other regulatory restrictions.

Each Canadian province and territory has its own rules governing forestry practices on public lands. These regulations and laws are among the strictest in the world. In addition to rules requiring regeneration of harvested lands and accommodation of wildlife habitat needs, companies must strive to devise sustainable forest management strategies, respect aboriginal and treaty rights, and comply with environmental laws.

Large and developing public and private forest companies across Canada and abroad as well as the businesses that serve them retain the Blakes Forestry group to advise on virtually every issue impacting the industry. Team members assure regulatory compliance as well as meet the transactional and operational needs of our clients.

Applying our depth of forestry expertise and drawing upon the knowledge of our lawyers in the fields of corporate, securities, mergers and acquisitions, environmental, forest tenure, litigation, labour, aboriginal, and tax law, we provide comprehensive representation and advice. Blakes lawyers negotiate and prepare the many specialized agreements required for forestry activities, including logging agreements, credit facility agreements and cogeneration agreements, as well as advise on sustainable forest management, cogeneration operations, and employment and labour issues. Additionally, we advise on the acquisition, disposition and operation of forest products companies, including pulp and paper companies, and counsel issuers, lenders and investors on the financing of forestry properties.

Clients also engage us to advise on forestry practices, environmental concerns, tax, operations matters, timber rights, land use issues, resource ownership and development, as well as the many opportunities opened up by Plan Nord.

Our forestry specialists deal extensively with government agencies and regulatory authorities on forestry matters and have played a leading role in the development of laws and regulations governing the forest sector across Canada. These experiences have provided us with deep insight into the regulatory schemes and enhanced our working relationships with regulators. With offices throughout Canada, we are strategically positioned to offer accurate and efficient regulatory compliance advice.

When disputes arise, our pre-eminent Litigation & Dispute Resolution team represents clients before regulatory bodies and in courts at all levels throughout Canada.

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Recent Experience
  • Sappi Canada Enterprises Inc. on its acquisition of Rayonier A.M. Canada Enterprises Inc.’s pulp mill and related assets in Matane, Quebec.

  • Catalyst Paper Corporation on its US$161-million cash acquisition of the Snowflake Arizona recycled-newsprint mill and related assets from a subsidiary of Abitibi Bowater Inc.

  • West Fraser Mills, Canada's largest lumber producer, for the past 16 years on environmental compliance issues related to harvesting operations, road building and sawmill matters affecting air, water and soil.

  • Ainsworth Lumber, a major Canadian oriented strand board producer, in contaminated sites management and environmental permit compliance matters.

  • Catalyst Paper Ltd., Western Canada's largest paper producer, (and predecessor company for 20 years) on all environmental issues, such as environmental permit negotiation, appeals before the B.C. Environmental Appeal Board, environmental enforcement matters, and environmental aspects of transactions and financings.

  • Fibreco Export Ltd., a major Canadian woodchip handling and processing company, for the past 11 years with regard to contaminated site management, environmental enforcement matters and environmental permit negotiations.

  • Negotiating one of the first forest agreements allocating timber to a First Nation under the B.C. government's forestry revitalization program.

  • Grant Forest Products Limited, Canada's largest oriented strand board company, for over 22 years with regard to all environmental issues relating to oriented strand board production, including permit negotiations, several enforcement matters and environmental aspects of financings, acquisitions and insolvency.

  • Forest Products Association of Canada with respect to policy advice regarding forestry legislation and regulation in Canada.