This brief is an addendum to West Coast Environmental Law Association's July 24th brief on proposed amendments to the administrative remedies provision in the Forest Practices Code of British Columbia Act. In that brief, West Coast Environmental Law Association raised concerns that the proposed amendments in Bill 47, the Forest Statutes Amendment Act, 1997 will significantly diminish effectiveness of the current compliance system while at the same time making the compliance system more cumbersome and costly to administer.
A number of other significant concerns with regard to Bill 47 have been raised by the BC Environmental Network Forest Caucus in their brief on Bill 47. West Coast Environmental Law Association shares those concerns.
This brief discusses several issues relevant to enforcement and compliance that have not been fully discussed in either the BCEN Forest Caucus brief or the West Coast Environmental Law Association July 24 brief. The following concerns are addressed in this brief:
- Section 121 of Bill 47 changes section 154 of the Forest Practices Code -- the section which prohibits intentional interference with, or misleading, of enforcement staff and Forest Practices Board staff -- from an offence provision to an administrative penalty provision. This is not only a highly inappropriate use of administrative penalty provisions, but it may be unconstitutional.
- Section 108 of Bill 47 deletes section 119 of the Forest Practices Code. This removes important guidance to Ministry of Forest staff in making determinations as to the quantum of fines for unauthorized harvesting.
- Not allowing the Forest Practices Board to request reviews of determinations made under section 116.3(1) is inappropriate given the degree of discretion involved in these determinations.
- Section 130 of Bill 47 appears to limit the ability of the Board to appeal determinations if it has not requested a review of the determination. This restricts the effectiveness of the Board and will likely increase the frequency of appeals.