Forest Practices Board has adopted four strategic directions to
govern our response to the context of changing forest practices
regulation in British Columbia.
1. Promote stewardship of the full range of forest values that reflect the broad public interest in forest lands.
2. Contribute to the development of objectives, management strategies and forest practices that are reflected in measurable performance standards.
3. Provide independent assessments of the effectiveness of forest practices based on a continuing commitment to field work.
4. Contribute to an active public dialogue to enhance understanding of the changing legislation and forest management practices that affect forest values.
The Forest Practices Board, acting as a steward of the public interest, has an important role to play in the implementation of the new Forest and Range Practices Act (FRPA). Under the previous Forest Practices Code, the regulatory regime mandated specific practices and the Board evaluated degrees of compliance with the legal prescriptions. Under the new legislation, the regulatory regime identifies values and objectives to be reached, but allows professional discretion in the formulation of plans and selection of practices to serve the values and reach the objectives.
In this new environment, the Board will reduce the emphasis on assessing compliance with prescriptive rules and focus on the effectiveness of forest practices in achieving results consistent with the values articulated and the objectives set by government. This evolution to "results-based" regulation of forest practices requires the Board to adapt its audit, complaint investigation and special investigation methods to ensure that we are assessing the degree to which desired results are being achieved by the methods being practiced on the ground. While we must adapt our investigative methods, we must also remain committed to the principles of independence, transparency and administrative fairness that are so critical to our public responsibilities.
In 2003/04, the Board made significant progress in anticipating and addressing these challenges, as noted in this report. As we move into 2004/05, we expect these initiatives to continue as the issues develop and their importance grows. In the coming year the Board will be placing great emphasis on working with all parties on the implementation of the new FRPA regime. In the process we will also maintain our commitments to our role as the steward of the public interest by providing the highest quality of information based on our established standards of practice, our emphasis on independent field work, and our support for the continuous improvement of forest practices. British Columbia has the opportunity to lead the world in forest management and the Board would like to make sure that it is contributing to this goal.
Bruce Fraser, Ph.D.
Forest Practices Board Chair