Board conducts first audits under Nisga’a Treaty

Victoria – The Forest Practices Board will conduct its first set of audits of compliance and enforcement on Nisga’a lands this summer.

The Nisga’a lands cover about 2,000 square kilometres in the Nass River Valley on both sides of the river about 90 kilometres north of Terrace. The operating areas for the auditees are in various parts of the Nisga’a lands.

The Nisga’a audits will examine compliance with the Forest Practices Code by licensees who are winding down their operations on Nisga’a lands. The Nisga’a final agreement requires the board to undertake a compliance audit of all existing forest licences in each year of the five-year transition period.

These full-scope audits will look at operational planning; construction, maintenance and deactivation of roads; timber harvesting; silviculture; fire protection activities; and district manager obligations. The purpose is to determine whether the following auditees complied with the code and with forestry-related Nisga’a final agreement requirements:

  • Skeena Cellulose Inc., Forest Licence A64298
  • SimGan Forest Corp., Forest Licence A64299
  • West Fraser Mills Ltd., Forest Licence A16882
  • Kalum forest district small business forest enterprise program
  • North Coast forest district small business forest enterprise program
  • Forestry Transition Committee
  • Kalum forest district (compliance with district manager obligations)
  • North Coast forest district (compliance with district manager obligations)

The audit will also examine the appropriateness of government enforcement of the code by:

  • Kalum and North Coast forest districts
  • Former Ministry of Environment, Lands and Parks, Skeena region
  • Ministry of Energy and Mines, Northwest region

The eight-member audit team of professional foresters, biologists, engineers and chartered accountants will be in the licence areas for up to two weeks beginning July 16. 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 be given a chance to respond. The board’s final report and recommendations will then be released to the public and government.

To date, the board has completed compliance audits of 41 forest companies and Ministry of Forests small business forest enterprise programs. Nineteen were clean audits, meaning the forest planning and practices met code requirements in all significant respects. Twenty-two were qualified audits, meaning that there was some significant non-compliance with the code.

The board is undertaking nine groups of audits this year, which include area-based and range auditing and audits 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.

Bill Cafferata,Chair
Forest Practices Board
Phone: (250) 387-7964

Nicky Cain,
Forest Practices Board
Phone: 250 387-7964
1 800 994-5899

July 5, 2001