If you have a question that is not dealt with in the following FAQs, please feel free to contact the Trustee by phone, fax, email or letter post.
When will the mitigation claims process commence?
The mitigation claims process for individual replaceable contractors can commence as soon as there is:
As of September 2007, approximately 78% of the replaceable contractor mitigation payments have been made, and approximately 96% of the employees that are expected to be affected by the FRA have received their severance payments.
How will mitigation forms be made available to eligible persons?
Contractor mitigation claim forms will not be used. The licensees have either identified replaceable contractors whose contracts will be terminated as a result of the 20% take back through an implemented Forestry Revitalization Proposal, or replaceable contracts will have been reduced by proportional reduction.
The Contractor Mitigation Guidelines provide a formula for the amount of mitigation available to the replaceable contractors whose contracts have been reduced or eliminated. Contractors should provide the Trustee with the information requested on the Contractor Information Requirement Checklist. Once the licensee confirms the volume and rate of the replaceable contract, confirms that some or all of the contract has been terminated, and confirms there are no outstanding issues between the contractor and licensee, the contractor will receive mitigation payments directly from the BCFRT.
In the case of redundant employees, the employer will likely be required to identify the employees that will be severed as a result of the 20% take back. A formula, which is included in the Employee Severance Template, will be used to determine the amount of mitigation the employee will be eligible to receive. The employer, either licensee or contractor, will generally be advanced the funds by the BCFRT, sever the employee, provide them with the mitigation approved by the BCFRT Advisory Board Guidelines, and then provide documentation to the BCFRT showing that the employee has received their severance. Individual employees will not likely be mitigated directly by the BCFRT, because that is not where the employer/employee relationship rests.
What is the anticipated time period between application for mitigation and actual receipt of funds?
The anticipated time period between application for mitigation and actual receipt of funds will depend on the complexity of the situation, and to some extent on the timing of the application. There should be no delay between the approval of a mitigation request and commencement of mitigation payments. In the case of a replaceable contractor, the contractor will first have to pay any appropriate employee severance, and authorize payment by the Trustee of mitigation to its replaceable sub-contractors. Only when those beneficiaries are dealt with will the contractor mitigation be paid.
Will an unemployed forest worker who meets the criteria of the BCFRT and is a member of the Steelworkers be eligible for both severance from the employer under the terms of the collective agreement and separate mitigation from the BCFRT?
In normal situations, a unionized forest worker would usually be laid off and not severed when there is a shortage of work. Only a permanent camp closure would generally trigger severance. The employee mitigation guidelines call for severance that mirrors Steelworker severance, as long as the employee is actually severed, whether or not there is a permanent camp closure. When there is a severance, the employer will pay it to the severed employee, and the BCFRT will reimburse the employer. There should be no double dipping.
In any event, the BCFRT will only be able to reimburse the employer for severance directly related to the 20% take-back. Severance related to other issues would have to be covered by the employer.
Will eligible employers who pay severance to their workers due to a plant or logging camp closure as a direct result of the current land use policies, i.e. tenure take –back and reallocation of timber to new entrants, qualify for reimbursement by the BCFRT, in a similar fashion as set out in the Coast Sustainability Trust?
Eligible employers who pay severance to their workers due to reduced harvesting as a direct result of the 20% tenure take back will qualify for reimbursement by the BCFRT in a similar fashion as set out in the Coast Sustainability Trust. However, severance related to other government land use decisions or policies, plant closures, markets, corporate restructuring's, sales, acquisitions or mergers will not be mitigated by the BCFRT.
Will the apparent contradiction in the wording of clauses 2.02 (1) (a) and 2.02 (2) (c) (i) in the BC Forestry Revitalization Trust Deed be addressed and clarified? And will qualifying subcontractors be able to apply for mitigation?
This apparent contradiction has been noted and has been dealt with by the Advisory Board. The outcome is that where a contractor uses a replaceable subcontractor, the contractor will have to allocate a portion of his overall mitigation amount to the subcontractor.
Will qualifying subcontractors have to be identified by their contractor(s) and, if so, mitigated from funds paid to the contractor in a process similar to that laid out in the Coast Sustainability Trust Guidelines?
The Contractor will have to identify any subcontractors, and the BCFRT Trustee will require that the subcontractor be mitigated in the same manner as if he were a prime phase contractor.
For example, a road builder working as a subcontractor to a full phase contractor will receive the same mitigation as if he had the same value contract directly with the major licensee. The full phase contractor would receive mitigation based only on the work he did directly. In order to protect the subcontractor, the subcontractor will be paid directly by the BCFRT, with agreement by the Contractor, and the Contractor will receive the net mitigation amount.
Will redundant heavy equipment be treated in a process similar to that laid out in the Coast Sustainability Trust guidelines?
In the case of the Coast Sustainability Trust, there was a significant reduction in available fibre because of AAC reductions, and the creation of First Nations lead areas, protected areas and option areas. This reduction of available fibre as a result of provincial government land use decisions created a reduction in equipment value. Therefore, contractors who lost some or all of their contract volume were automatically paid 25% of the appraised value of their harvesting equipment.
In the case of the 20% timber reallocation, it is not clear that there will be any reduction in logging effort. In some areas road building has been dramatically reduced because of the loss of license volume. However, it appears that in many areas of the province, especially where the mountain pine beetle is a problem, forest workers and their equipment are fully employed.
The Advisory Board decided that if a replaceable contractor sells equipment that was made redundant by the 20% timber reallocation, they will receive 25% of the arms length sales price of that equipment. Equipment that is retained will not receive this premium.