Board Conducts First Area-Based Audit

Victoria – The Forest Practices Board will conduct its first area-based audit this summer in the Fort Nelson forest district.

“Until now our audit program has focused on single licensees or government forestry programs,” said Bill Cafferata, Forest Practices Board chair. “This audit will examine all the licences in an area to give us a broader sense of how a full range of forest practices interact with and affect forest resources.”

The area chosen includes the Eskai, Big Beaver and Klua landscape units, which form a 385,000-hectare triangle directly south of Fort Nelson between the Prophet and Fort Nelson Rivers, extending to the southern border of the district.

This full-scope audit will determine the compliance of operational planning and forest practices with all Forest Act and Range Act agreements. It will also examine government’s enforcement of the Forest Practices Code.

Companies being audited include major and small tenure licence-holders. Auditors will look at a wide range of forest practices including logging; road construction, maintenance and deactivation; fire protection; silviculture; planning; recreation management; oil and gas; and range activities.

The audit will also examine the enforcement practices of the Ministry of Forests; the Ministry of Environment, Lands and Parks; and the Oil and Gas Commission to see if they have appropriately enforced the Forest Practices Code.

The Forest Practices Board is required to carry out periodic independent audits to see if government and forest companies are complying with the Forest Practices Code. This is the board’s first audit of all activities in a given area. The audit area was chosen randomly and not on the basis of location or level of performance.

The eight-member audit team of professional foresters, chartered accountants and engineers will spend two weeks this June working in the field. Once the field work is done, the audit team will report its findings to the board. Any party that may be adversely affected by the audit findings will receive a chance to respond. The board’s final report and recommendations will then be released to the public and the government.

To date, the board has completed compliance audits of 40 forest companies and Ministry of Forests small business forest enterprise programs. Nineteen audits were clean, meaning the forest planning and practices met code requirements in all significant respects. Twenty-one audits were qualified, meaning that there was some significant non-compliance with the code. The board is undertaking nine audits this year, which include one area-based audit, a range audit and an audit of forest practices on Nisga’a lands.

The Forest Practices Board is an independent public watchdog, established in 1995, that publishes reports about compliance with the Forest Practices Code and the achievement of its intent.

The board’s main roles under the Forest Practices Code are:

  • Auditing forest practices of government and licence holders on public lands.
  • Auditing government enforcement of the code.
  • Investigating public complaints.
  • Undertaking special investigations of code-related forestry issues.
  • Participating in administrative reviews and appeals.
  • Providing reports on board activities, findings and recommendations.

Forest Practices Board
Phone: (250) 387-7964

May 30, 2001