Independent Review of forestry in Nova Scotia finally announced

The Liberal government’s choice of William Lahey to head up the review is evidence they want it to be credible.

In its pre-election budget address on April 27, 2017, the Liberal government announced that it would “appoint an independent expert to review our forestry practices to ensure we strike the right balance for our forests. This review will get underway as soon as possible, starting first in the western region. No future long-term timber harvesting licences will be awarded on crown land until the work is complete”. That promise became part of their election platform.

The Liberals regained a majority in the ensuing election (May 30) and on June 30, Deputy Minister Julie Towers said she expected the review would get underway within weeks.

Yesterday (Aug 30) the government announced the review is beginning, that it would be headed up by University of King’s College President William Lahey and that it would take place in three phases with a final report on February 28, 2018.

The review will examine current practices, including strengths and weaknesses, and provide recommendations for improvement regarding how Nova Scotia balances long-term environmental, social and economic interests in managing the province’s forests. In particular, the review has the mandate to examine the following components:

Evaluate the effectiveness and identify opportunities to improve the legislation, regulations, policies and guidelines, as well as the science-based tools that determine whether and where harvesting occurs, as well as the harvesting methods (e.g: clear cut, partial harvest) that can or should be used. Evaluate market access for private forest owners, particularly in the western region, and provide recommendations to address any identified issues. Source: NSDNR>Independent Review of Forest Practices

View NSDNR Press Release
View Terms of Reference

A Contact Address is given for people wishing to provide comments:

You may contact the forest practices review by sending an email to Please note that you will receive an automatic response thanking you for your email. Your correspondence will be forwarded to Professor William Lahey for his consideration.

Lahey, a Rhodes Scholar, was appointed President of Kings College on July 1, 2016, on leave from his position as Associate Professor in Dalhousie University’s Schulich School of Law. He had previously served as Deputy Minister of Nova Scotia’s Department of Environment and Labour, and head of the Dalhousie Health Law Institute. He has “frequently [been] called upon to help sort out some of this region’s most difficult and interesting public policy challenges.” (Source: He was one of two co-chairs/authors for Nova Scotia’s Independent Aquaculture Regulatory Review commissioned by the NDP government in 2013 and submitted to the new Liberal government in 2014; the review was well received by environmentalists.

More links

A New Regulatory Framework for Low-Impact/High-Value Aquaculture in Nova Scotia
The Final Report of the Independent Aquaculture Regulatory Review for Nova Scotia [The Doelle-Lahey Panel] 2014

Dalhousie University webpage

Province taps law professor for forestry review
LighthouseNow article

UPDATE (sep 1, 2017): EDITORIAL: Forestry review subject of skepticism
Chronicle Herald Sep 1, 2017


The Liberal government’s choice of William Lehey to head up the review is evidence they want it to be credible. Thanks to Prof. Lehey for agreeing to do it.

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