Board tests use of certification audit results

VICTORIA – The Forest Practices Board will try a new approach this month when it audits some of Pope & Talbot’s forest operations in the West Kootenays, incorporating results from an earlier independent forest certification audit in an effort to save time and costs.

The audit of Tree Farm Licence 23, operated out of Pope & Talbot’s Arrow Lakes timber division, starts this month, and is the first time the auditors are integrating work done for forest certification when they assesses compliance with the Forest Practices Code.

“Provided the certification audit work is consistent with our standards, this approach should minimize duplication of efforts, and reduce costs for the public and the company,” said board chair Bill Cafferata. “Our intent in testing this new approach is to increase efficiency while maintaining our high audit standards and providing the public with independent and credible information about forest practices.”

The audit will look at Pope & Talbot’s planning and practices on Tree Farm Licence 23, which extends south from Revelstoke and Glacier National Park, along the Upper and Lower Arrow lakes, to Gladstone Park near the U.S. border. Pope & Talbot’s tree farm licence was chosen randomly and not on the basis of location or level of performance.

Board auditors will examine a wide range of forest practices carried out over the past year, including logging; road construction, maintenance and deactivation; forest protection; silviculture; and planning. If board auditors find they can rely on the certification auditors’ work, they can reduce the number of cutblocks and roads they will have to examine in the field.

Pope & Talbot and their auditors have been co-operative in accommodating the board’s efforts. “This is a test run,” said Cafferata. “If we find that it reduces time and effort without compromising our audit standards, we will spend the winter refining our audit procedures to let us use this approach with other companies that have independent forest certification. We can also determine whether the certification audit is meeting expected standards in assessing compliance with the Forest Practices Code.”

The four-member audit team, composed of chartered accountants and professional foresters, will be in the licence area examining plans, cutblocks and roads during the week of Oct. 7. Once the fieldwork is done, the audit team will report its findings to the board. Any party that may be adversely affected by the audit findings will have a chance to respond. The board’s final report and recommendations will then be released to the public and the government.

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.

Jacqueline Waldorf
Forest Practices Board
Phone: 250 356-1586
1 800 994-5899

Nicky Cain
Forest Practices Board
Phone: 250 387-2678
1 800 994-5899

October 3, 2002