We use cookies on this site to enhance your online experience. By continuing to use this site, you agree to accept cookies.


The Provincial Government offers two resources that loggers should be aware of. I use them all of the time.

The first of them is the Harvest Billing System. This is an online resource, and users should simply type ‘Harvest Billing System’ into their search engine. The resource is free and instantaneous. Anyone can use it.

The Harvest Billing System can provide much in the way of information.

I’m often wanting to know the volume of timber harvested under any license or timber mark over a particular period of time. This could be under a major forest license, or under a BC timber sale, or even under a private timber mark. Sometimes I want that broken down between various grades, or various species, or both. The system will even tell you where timber was scaled, and that can sometimes assist in determining what volume was saw logs, what was peelers, and what was pulp.

If a logger thinks that he isn’t being properly paid for his work, because his licensee isn’t accurately reporting volumes, this tool is useful. I have been told that the HBS can be used to verify weight-to-volume conversion rates.

If a Bill 13 Logger has an amount of work described as “X% of the volume harvested under licence A123456”, then the HBS can be used to assess compliance.

If one wants to follow timber in order to seize it under the Forestry Service Providers Protection Act, or to attach a licensee’s receivable, the scale site tools can be helpful.

Be aware, though, that the system is not infallible. It is of little use when dealing with cruise-based BC Timber sales, because the Government does not keep track of volumes delivered in those cases. I have also been told that under the Cut Control Regulation, it is possible for licensees to re-assign volume amongst their various licenses, which makes the HBS reported volumes unreliable. One of George Abbott’s recommendations responds to that problem.

The second source of information is the Freedom of Information Act. The Provincial Government has a website that allows one to request information from various ministries. I have used this, for example, to obtain a government file concerning a wildfire, including photos. I have used it to obtain historical AAC values for a particular forest license, to assess whether an AAC reduction proposal is appropriate.

I have used it to determine what a licensee might owe the government in stumpage or for a waste assessment. In a Forestry Service Providers Protection Act lawsuit, the provincial Government’s claim for unpaid stumpage takes priority over the contractor’s claim. It can be a frustrating experience to learn that the seizing and sale of timber will only benefit government, not the unpaid logger.

The FOI process is usually free (but not always), and it often takes about 6 to 10 weeks before the requested information is received, usually by email.

I encourage loggers to utilize these effective tools if they need information that the government is able to supply. When negotiating with a licensee, or dealing with government, being informed is half the battle.

John Drayton is a Kamloops Lawyer practicing in the areas of Forestry and Motor Transport Law.