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Arbitration on Ontario and Québec Programs

London Court of International Arbitration ruling on softwood lumber

January 21, 2011

Today, the London Court of International Arbitration issued a softwood lumber ruling on provincial programs administered by the provinces of Ontario and Quebec.

The tribunal ruled against US government claims for damages on many of the programs and found these programs to be consistent with the Softwood Lumber Agreement.

The tribunal found elements of certain Ontario and Quebec programs to be inconsistent with Canada’s obligations under the Softwood Lumber Agreement. The tribunal ruled that additional export charges of 0.1% and 2.6% for Ontario and Quebec, respectively, would bring Canada into compliance.

The tribunal found that 97% of the United States’ $1.86 billion claim had no basis.

The following were found by the tribunal to be consistent with the Agreement:

  • Ontario Forest Access Road Construction and Maintenance Program
  • Quebec Silviculture Credits
  • Quebec Silviculture Investment Measure
  • Quebec SOPFEU (fire prevention) program fees
  • Quebec SOPFIM (pest control) program fees
  • Quebec Forestry Fund

Elements of the following programs were found by the tribunal to be inconsistent with the Softwood Lumber Agreement:

  • Ontario’s Forest Sector Prosperity Fund (FSPF) and Loan Guarantee (FSLGP) Programs
  • Quebec’s Capital Tax Credit
  • Quebec’s Road Tax Credit (only in part)
  • Quebec’s Forestry Industry Support Program

For more information on each of these programs please contact the respective provincial governments.