In the mid 2000s, harvest activity created by demand for Ground Hemlock (Taxus canadensis) became so intense that private land owners and public land managers expressed serious concerns about theft, trespass, and unsustainable harvest practices. Government asked the Public Forest Council to look into the issue and they issued a Report on Ground Hemlock Harvesting which recommended a course of action to address issues related to harvesting, sustainability and trespass.
The Province responded by enacting Ground Hemlock Regulations under the Wildlife Conservation Act. These regulations created:
- A closed Ground Hemlock Harvest Season running from May 1 - August 15 each year
- Standards for mandatory training and licensing of commercial harvesters and buyers
- Standards for sustainable harvest practices, and
- Mandatory record keeping and reporting requirements for Ground Hemlock Buyers.
Ground Hemlock Buyers' Licence Requirements
In order to obtain a Ground Hemlock Buyers Licence you must:
- Contact the Forests, Fish and Wildlife Division at (902) 368-6450
- Read and understand the Ground Hemlock Harvest Regulations, PFC Report on Ground Hemlock Harvesting and the Ground Hemlock Buyers Report Form
- Pass a written and practical exam based on the information in Section #2
Once you have passed the exam, you will receive a letter from the department stating that you are eligible to receive your Ground Hemlock Buyers Licence. Take the letter and a legal ID to an Access PEI office, pay the required license fee and they will process your licence for you.
Your GH Buyers' licence is good for a three year period at which time you must reapply to renew your license. A Buyers Licence renewal can be denied or delayed for charges laid under the regulations and/or if the required reports have not been submitted and received by the Department.
To renew an expired Ground Hemlock Buyers Licence, please contact the Information Officer, Forests, Fish and Wildlife Division at (902) 368 6450.
Are there other Requirements?
Yes. All licensed buyers are required to offer at least one Ground Hemlock Harvesters course each year to people who are interested in obtaining their harvesting license. The course must include the following elements:
- a classroom review of the various elements required by the regulations to legally harvest and transport Ground Hemlock on PEI
- a review of occupational health and safety requirements, and,
- a practical component to demonstrate and practice sustainable harvest techniques, shipping requirements, land owner agreements and other factors that harvester need to know when working in the field.
MOU on Ground Hemlock Harvesting on PEI
In 2008, the Department and the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) signed a Ground Hemlock Harvest MOU designed to improve cooperation between both levels of government in terms of the monitoring and enforcement of legislation and regulations related to the commercial ground hemlock industry. Under this agreement, Buyers reports may be shared with CRA.