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For Immediate Release
May 6, 2008

 

Board reviews province’s compliance inspection system for forestry operations

VICTORIA – On-site inspection reporting – critical to documenting industry compliance with forest practices legislation – varies greatly around the province, according to a Forest Practices Board Report released today.

The board examined the number of compliance and enforcement (C&E) inspections conducted by the Ministry of Forests and Range in 2005 and 2006, and the range of alleged (not formally identified) non-compliances, in six forest districts: North Coast and Campbell River in the Coast Region; Skeena-Stikine and Fort Nelson in the Northern Interior Region; and Kamloops and Chilcotin in the Southern Interior Region.

“The investigation couldn’t determine precise reasons for the variations, but found that policy issues, workforce issues and variable application of assessment tools seem to be factors in this lack of consistency,” said board chair, Bruce Fraser.

“While the board generally finds high levels of compliance in our own audits and investigations,” added Fraser, “if the ministry is going to rely on C&E inspections as the measure of industry compliance with forestry legislation, then it must improve its policies and ensure better inspection consistency across the province.”

Variations between the examined districts included:

  • One district with over 12 times more harvesting and road inspections than another district.
  • Alleged non compliance levels ranging from two per cent to 35 per cent between districts.
  • Alleged non compliance levels ranging from zero to 61 per cent between inspectors within the same district.

The main assessment tool used in the districts is the ministry’s compliance information management system (CIMS). The investigation found that the CIMS system is applied and utilized inconsistently.

Board recommendations to standardize inspection performance are:

  • To strengthen policy guidance for C&E inspection coverage.
  • To ensure CIMS provides information in a form more useful to local C&E management to achieve good inspection coverage and consistency in identifying and addressing non-compliances.

The Forest Practices Board is B.C.’s independent watchdog for sound forest and range practices, reporting its findings and recommendations directly to the public and government. The board:

  • audits forest and range practices on public lands;
  • audits appropriateness of government enforcement;
  • investigates public complaints;
  • undertakes special investigations of current forestry issues;
  • participates in administrative appeals; and
  • makes recommendations for improvement to practices and legislation.

 

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Helen Davies
Communications
Forest Practices Board
Phone: 250-356-1586 or 1-800-994-5899

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