The Forest Practices Board conducts audits and investigations and issues public reports on how well industry and government are meeting the intent of British Columbia’s forest practices legislation. While it does not lay penalties, its recommendations have led directly to improved forest practices such as stronger government decision-making processes and better communication among forestry professionals to manage risks to the environment.
Although other jurisdictions have forest watchdog bodies, BC may be the only one with an arms-length relationship from government, and a mandate to hold both government and the forest industry publicly accountable for forestry practices. It chooses which operations to audit, and its reports and findings are published without government revisions or comments.
The Board’s intention is to focus on proactive and meaningful engagement with Indigenous Peoples to support implementation of the recommendations of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and BC’s Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act.
Learn more in our Indigenous Engagement Strategy.
Visit our StoryMap to learn more about Our Work and Indigenous Communities.
The Board audits forest and range practices on public lands and appropriateness of government enforcement. It can make recommendations for improvement to practices and legislation.
Auditors objectively collect and evaluate evidence to determine if forestry and range activities are consistent with forest and range practices legislation and operational plans. They also ensure that licensees are consistent with government objectives for forest resources.
The Board investigates public complaints about compliance with the Forest and Range Practices Act and appropriateness of government enforcement.
The Board can investigate complaints related to activities occurring on Crown land, such as planning and forest stewardship plans; site plans and woodlot licence plans; forest practices; range plans and practices; protection of resources, including recreational; and, industry compliance with government enforcement of legislation. [Complaint Investigation Process Overview]
The Board has no power to direct companies, individuals or government agencies to take specific actions, though Board recommendations are often followed.
Special investigations are conducted by the Board to deal with forestry-related matters that are of interest to the province as a whole, as opposed to audits and complaints which are more targeted. Special investigations focus on compliance with legislation, or appropriateness of enforcement, but may also raise policy implications. They tend to deal with regional or provincial issues and look at the activities of a broad range of licensees, rather than individual operations or site-specific matters.
The Board can issue a special report to comment publicly on a matter related generally to the duties of the Board or the results of its work. Special reports may summarize trends or findings of Board audits or investigations; identify and discuss forest or range policies and legislation; or raise forest or range stewardship issues to foster public understanding and discussion.
The Board can appeal decisions made by government officials under the Forest and Range Practices Act or the Wildfire Act , such as determinations of noncompliance, penalties or approvals of plans for forestry or range operations. Appeals can be made in response to a public request, or initiated by the Board.
Appeals are made to the independent Forest Appeals Commission. The Commission makes the final decision on appeals and those determinations are legally binding. Commission decisions are published on its website: www.fac.gov.bc.ca
Click HERE to see past appeals the Board was involved in.