Effectiveness of forestry remediation orders examined

VICTORIA – An investigation of remediation orders issued to forest and range operators who have not complied with legislation has determined that these orders are not as effective as they could be. Rules about how to conduct forest or range activities are set out in British Columbia’s Forest and Range Practices Act (FRPA) and Wildfire Act (WA). If a licensee breaches legislation, government may order remediation.

“Remediation orders are important because they allow government to require a licensee to fix the harm that may have resulted from their contravention,” said Al Gorley, board chair, “They also act as a deterrent to future contraventions.”

The board looked at 55 orders made under FRPA and the WA since 2004, most in response to road construction, timber harvesting, silviculture, fire suppression and range use issues. It found that many orders may not have been enforceable, and that consequences for not carrying orders out have been minimal.

“Orders need to meet certain criteria to have value,” said Gorley. “They should be fair, consistent with other orders, proportionate to harm caused by the contravention, and responsive to the licensee and circumstances. In addition, they should remove any financial gain not already removed by a penalty.”

To improve the effectiveness of orders, the board is recommending that government develop better guidance for government officials about what makes an effective order, standardize the process for gathering and recording information about compliance with orders, publish compliance statistics annually and amend the legislation to encourage voluntary remediation.

More information can be obtained by contacting:

Helen Davies, Communications
Forest Practices Board
Phone: 250 213-4708 / 1 800 994-5899

November 2, 2011