Small Business Program in Mid-Coast Forest District Undergoes Random Audit By Forest Practices Board

Victoria – Today, the Forest Practices Board began an audit of the Small Business Forest Enterprise Program (SBFEP) in the Mid-Coast Forest District of the Ministry of Forests. Operating areas for the program are spread throughout the district on many islands and inlets on the central coast. The main community in the district is Bella Coola and operations extend from the Fjordland Recreation Area in the north to Smith Inlet in the south.

This is a limited scope audit that will examine construction, maintenance and deactivation of roads as well as logging and related operational planning activities for compliance with the Forest Practices Code.

The Board’s five-person audit team will be in the district over the next week performing office and field examinations of road construction, maintenance and deactivation work, as well as numerous timber harvest areas.

The SBFEP was selected randomly, not on the basis of location or level of performance. The Forest Practices Board is required to carry out periodic independent audits to determine government and forest company compliance with the planning and forest practices requirements of the Forest Practices Code.

Once the fieldwork has been completed, the audit team will provide a report on the findings to the members of the Forest Practices Board. Any party that may be adversely affected by the audit findings must be given an opportunity to respond before the Board prepares its final report and recommendations and releases it to the public and to the government.

To date, the Board has completed 22 audits – 17 forest companies and five Ministry of Forests Small Business Forest Enterprise Programs. Eighteen of these audits have been completed and published. Six were clean audits, meaning the forest planning and practices met Code requirements in all significant respects. The remainder were qualified audits, meaning that there was some significant non-compliance with the Code. Most of the non-compliance related to logging practices near streams and logging road construction and maintenance. The Board is undertaking nine compliance audits in 1999.

The Forest Practices Board is an independent agency, established in 1995, that provides reports to the public and government about compliance with the Forest Practices Code and the achievement of its intent. The Board’s main roles are: auditing forest practices; undertaking investigations in response to public complaints; undertaking special investigations of any Code-related forestry issues; participating in administrative reviews and appeals; and providing reports to the public and government on Board activities, findings and recommendations.

Forest Practices Board
Phone: (250) 387-7964

August 16, 1999