J.D. Irving loses New Brunswick appeal over sourcing wood from private woodlot owners, must work with province's marketing boards

LOS ANGELES , July 4, 2014 () – J.D. Irving Ltd. has lost its appeal over how it sources wood from private woodlot owners in New Brunswick and must work with the province’s seven forest marketing boards, CBC News reported on July 3.

The marketing boards oversee 1.7 million hectares of private forestland, and effectively represent all the province's private woodlot owners, according to the New Brunswick Federation of Woodlot owners.

However, Irving had been buying wood through direct contracts, bypassing the marketing boards.

In May 2012, Irving had entered into an agreement with a woodlot owner whose land was within the administrative boundaries of the Southern New Brunswick Forest Products Marketing Board. The board refused to approve the agreement, CBC News reported.

Irving appealed, first to the New Brunswick Forest Products Commission, which backed the marketing boards in October 2013, and then to the Court of Appeal.

On June 26, the New Brunswick Court of Appeal ruled against Irving and dismissed Irving’s allegation that the boards are biased against the company, CBC News reported on July 3. A 17-page decision stated the marketing boards have the authority to regulate contracts for the sale of wood from private land.

The marketing boards, meanwhile, must update their regulations to create clear rules for companies to follow when signing contracts for private wood, according to CBC News.

As previously reported, on April 24 Irving announced its intention to purchase 9% more wood from private woodlot owners and producers in 2014 than last year, to support major mill investments the company is making in New Brunswick. In the 2013-14 operating year, Irving bought 682,000m3 of private wood in the province, the most since 1989, the company said in a press release.

A spokesperson for Irving said in an email to CBC News after the appeals court ruling: "We hope the current decision will provide for fair and efficient transactions between willing buyers and sellers of wood," noting that purchasing wood from private woodlot owners “has and continues to [sustain] thousands of forest products jobs in New Brunswick."

The primary source of this article is CBC News, Toronto, Canada, July 3, 2014. To view the original article, click here.

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