Enforcement of natural resource acts to be simplified
The Natural Resource Compliance Act introduced this week will make it easier for compliance and enforcement officers to hold offenders accountable for violating natural resource legislation.
If passed, the act will establish one designation, “natural resource officer,” which will allow officers to enforce a broader range of legislation across the natural resource sector. Currently, officers do not have the authority to enforce acts other than the ones they have been specifically designated to uphold.
Implementing a single-designation process means staff will be able to act quicker and more efficiently to violations that span numerous natural resource acts since only one officer will need to respond, instead of the three or four as may be currently required.
Officials from other areas of government, such as BC Parks, will also be able to assist in enforcing Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations legislation, resulting in better on-the-ground coverage.
The new legislation will apply to identified acts in the natural resource sector, such as the Forest and Range Practices Act, the Forest Act, the Wildfire Act, the Wildlife Act and the Water Act.
The Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations currently has 175 compliance and enforcement officers, of which 155 are dedicated to carrying out inspections and investigations.
More than 11,000 inspections are completed each year, covering a variety of provisions within the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations’ mandate.
To view a copy of Bill 9 – The Natural Resource Compliance Act, visit: http://www.leg.bc.ca/39th4th/1st_read/gov09-1.htm