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VICTORIA, B.C. – The Forest Practices Board has released a new report on the compliance and enforcement program in the Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development.

Forest Practices Board chair, Kevin Kriese, says the public cannot be confident that the Government’s compliance and enforcement framework is achieving the intended result of promoting license compliance with legislation.

“Sufficient oversight of forestry and range activities is critical to support the environmental, social and economic values that B.C.’s forestry legislation is intended to protect. We conclude that the public cannot be confident that the Government’s compliance and enforcement framework is achieving the intended result of promoting licensee compliance with legislation.”

Based on the Board’s audit work, Kriese says the program does limited proactive monitoring of forest and range activities, or public reporting of compliance levels.

“Based on our own audit work, we believe that overall levels of compliance with forest and range legislation are fairly high. However, we found the compliance and enforcement program does limited proactive monitoring of forest and range activities, or public reporting of compliance levels. Together, this makes it difficult to determine what the level of licensee compliance really is.”

According to the Board, the evaluation was based on interviews with program staff, including natural resource officers, ministry staff and industry representatives.

The evaluation found a number of weaknesses in the design and implementation of the program to address the complexities of forestry legislation and inadequate public reporting, from a lack of appropriate performance measures and targets to issues with staffing and training.

The report makes a number of recommendations for improvement that will require the ministry to review all aspects of the program, from guiding policies and procedures to hiring, training and operational tools.

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.

For more information, you can visit the Forest Practice’s Board website.

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