Forest practices law appropriately enforced on Nisga’a Lands

VICTORIA – A Forest Practices Board audit of government’s enforcement on Nisga’a lands found, with some minor exceptions, that the Ministry of Forests and Range (MOFR) and Ministry of Environment are appropriately enforcing forestry legislation.

MOFR has primary enforcement responsibility on Nisga’a lands, which are located in and around the Nass Valley, about 100 kilometres northwest of Terrace, and cover about 2,000 square kilometres.

As required by the Nisga’a Final Agreement, the board audited the appropriateness of government’s enforcement of the Forest Practices Code of British Columbia Act and related regulations on Nisga’a lands for the period from July 19, 2003 to May 10, 2005.

The minor exceptions noted in the report relate to MOFR. These are:

data inaccuracies in the system that tracks reforestation obligations;
inconsistencies between the summary of compliance and enforcement activities on Nisga’a lands provided to the Nisga’a Lisims Government, and the content of MOFR inspection reports; and
insufficient actions taken to address safety concerns on one bridge crossing.

“The board is encouraged by the progress made by MOFR since the audit in working to update silviculture information and in installing a replacement bridge,” says board chair Bruce Fraser.

Government has an obligation under the Nisga’a Final Agreement to provide a summary of compliance and enforcement activities on Nisga’a lands to the Nisga’a Lisims government. However, the data provided was inconsistent with MOFR’s inspection records, inaccurately categorizing all inspections as finding compliance when six of the 27 inspection reports identified non-compliance.

The Forest Practices Board is an independent public watchdog that reports to the public about compliance with the Forest and Range Practices Act (FRPA) and the achievement of its intent. The board’s main roles under FRPA are:

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

Helen Davies

Forest Practices Board
Phone: 250-356-1699 or 1-800-994-5899