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Forestry Law Conference Offers Pratical Advice

Copyright 1998. Contact publisher for permission to use.

The Continuing Legal Education Society of British Columbia, the non-profit educational arm of BC's legal profession, is holding an information-packed Forestry Law Conference in January 1999, and attendance is a must for anyone involved in the forest industry.

Whether you are a logging contractor looking for solutions on how to ensure payment for the timber you've harvested, or whether you work for a forest company with aboriginal land claims impacting on cutting rights, this one-day conference will offer solid, practical advice on how to deal with forestry legal issues. Logging and Sawmilling Journal is a sponsor of the conference, which is being held January 18 at the Westin Bayshore Hotel in Vancouver.

"We focused on the Forest Practices Code at our last conference, but we will have a far broader scope than just the Code for the January conference," says Billy Garton, chair of the conference and a lawyer specializing in forestry law at Bull Housser & Tupper in Vancouver.

"For example, we'll be discussing the Delgamuukw case and the recent Nisga'a land claims treaty," says Garton. "Both of these are of interest to virtually everyone involved in the forest industry in BC, whether they are in the Interior or on the Coast. Pending aboriginal land claims cover most of the forest land in BC and treaty negotiations will have wide implications for the entire industry."

Taking into account the current industry downturn, there will be a strong focus on related business issues, such as dealing with insolvencies workout case studies, forest liens, Job Protection Act assistance and on how logging contractors and companies can ensure they get paid.

"We will have a special panel session on how companies can get through the downturn, what constructive measures they can take for survival, and how they can best prepare for the future. We know the industry in BC is in a serious situation right now and we will be discussing solutions and the best ways to work through this very tough period."

The focus of the entire conference will be on providing those attending with information they can use, with a broad fine-up of speakers and panelists. 'We want to provide practical how-to-information to the people who are dealing with forestry issues directly and their lawyers," says Garton.

An example is the session on Forest Practices Board audits. The board carries out both spot audits and investigations, which are the result of complaints filed with the board. "In both of these situations, companies and logging contractors need to co-operate fully with the investigation process," says Garton. "But there is also the issue of disclosure of sensitive business information and finding the best strategy to get through this process and still maintain the integrity of your company. A negative audit result could have a very serious impact on a company's business." CLE's most recent Forestry Law conference was held in 1997 and was well attended by industry people, from both major forest companies and the contractor side, along with members of the legal community, government and association representatives. "Besides the information we will be presenting, the conference provides the opportunity to meet with others involved in the industry, such as lawyers who specialize in forestry law and government representatives," says Garton.

A registration form for the Forestry Law Conference is on page 62 of this issue of Logging and Sawmilling Journal. Registration is also available via the Continuing Legal Education Web site - www.cle.bc.ca - on the Internet. Further information on the course, and phone registration are available toll-free at 1-800-663-4037.

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