Ministry of Forests Annual Report 1994/95
The Forest Service delivers programs and services through a province-wide network of 43 district offices in six forest regions. It employs more than 4,700 people, enters into contracts with many others, and works with the public and private sectors on a wide range of activities.
The Votes portion of this annual report contains the Ministry of Forests' reports on 1994/95 activity highlights. In previous years, these were organized by program (i.e., Silviculture, Research, etc.). For 1994/95, to better reflect the ministry's reorganization and significant changes made to its funding allocation structure, these reports are now reorganized by funding allocation. Therefore, programs that are funded under several different allocations will be reported on in more than one place.
This new organization is reflected in Table 2, and shown in detail below and on the next page. Please note that this order is substantially different from the “Organization by Reporting Function” ministry schematic shown on pages 22 and 23.
The government's Estimates for the 1994/95 fiscal year for the Ministry of Forests were:
Vote 36 Minister's Office (no reports)
Vote 37 Ministry Operations
Vote 38 Fire Suppression Program
Special statutory accounts for:
Forest Stand Management Fund (no reports)
Small Business Forest Enterprise Program
South Moresby Implementation - Forest Replacement
South Moresby Implementation - Forestry Compensation
Build BC (Forest Worker Development Program)
Forest Renewal BC
An explanation of the special statutory accounts begins on page 70.
The Ministry of Forests delivers the majority of its programs and services under the Operations vote, although the Fire Suppression vote allocation can be larger (see Table 2), depending on the circumstances of the fire season. The ministry Operations vote provides funding for planning and administering resource utilization, investments in enhancements to the forest and range resources, and supplying administrative and support services.
In 1993/94 and previous years, the ministry Operations vote was divided into several sub-votes: Management Services, Harvesting, Research, Integrated Resource Management, Forest Inventory, and Silviculture. For the 1994/95 fiscal year, the ministry changed the structure of its Operations vote in order to better reflect the government's strategic priorities, and to indicate how ministry programs are delivered through the Forest Service's six regional and 43 district offices. In the districts, the mix and delivery of the programs are now determined by the land base for which the regions and districts are responsible.
Beginning in 1994/95, the ministry Operations vote was redivided, into three sub-votes: Corporate Services, Forest Resources Management, and Forest Investment and FRDA II. Each sub-vote is treated individually in this annual report.
The Corporate Services sub-vote funds the activities of the headquarters branches under the former Management Services sub-vote, as well as Corporate Policy and Planning, Economics and Trade, Integrated Resources Practices, and Revenue Billing (Valuation). This sub-vote funds ministry overhead costs, including accommodation and a portion of vehicle and information systems costs.
The Business Design Branch was formed in the spring of 1995 to lead the restructuring of the ministry's business practices. Its primary objective is to change the traditional program focus to a more integrated land management focus.
Accordingly, the branch is responsible for the design and delivery of efficient business processes and associated information systems that provide support to ministry operations at regional and district levels. Staff also provide training, advice and technical support.
During its first year, staff in the branch's five sections were involved in a broad spectrum of planned and operations-driven activities, including functional restructuring, productivity improvement, systems and applications maintenance, and re-engineering.
Business Consulting staff began to analyze data, systems and applications that support ministry operations, and started to identify efficiencies and solutions to problems. In the Business Design and Development section, staff developed new business processes, applications and systems. Existing business processes and applications were maintained, and their productivity improved by the Business Maintenance and Enhancement section, which also integrates existing functions with new ones.
Technical Development staff designed, developed and delivered training programs and technical support for all of the applications identified in or developed under the branch's key areas of responsibility. Personnel in the Finance and Administration section managed the branch budget and human resources needs, developed startup systems, and completed branch business plans during 1994/95.
Corporate Policy and Planning Branch is responsible for the Ministry of Forests' policy analysis and consultation processes in response to current and emerging issues. Staff manage the ministry's legislation program and strategic forest sector initiatives, including the Forest Renewal Plan and the Forest Sector Strategy Committee, and continue to develop the business plan process and a new strategic planning process. Staff also coordinate ministry contributions to inter-ministry policy, planning and inter-governmental initiatives.
Staff provided support for major legislative initiatives in 1994/95, including the Forest Practices Code of British Columbia Act and amendments to the Forest Act, and the Forest Practices Code of British Columbia Act regulations.
Other accomplishments included providing support services to the ministry executive, developing and delivering an Administrative Law Course for Forest Service managers, and providing policy support for the environmental assessment process and the application of Forest Land Reserve and Forest Practices Code to private lands. The branch also prepared the Five Year Forest and Range Resource Program, 1994 - 1999.
In their work on the Forest Renewal Plan in 1994/95, Corporate Policy and Planning staff:
During this year, staff also initiated development of a program to improve lumber supply to remanufacturers, managed the ministry-wide implementation of business plans in collaboration with divisions, and reviewed Forest Service policies and procedures related to timber salvage.
Economics and Trade staff direct and analyze the preparation of policy assessments for the ministry in the areas of resource economics, industry economics, forest revenue, forest products trade and log exports.
Branch staff prepare economic analyses of a broad range of forest resource matters, and develop policies to foster the development and economic health of the province's forest resources and forest industry, and to manage forest-related trade matters. The branch also provides funding for forest products research.
Economics and Trade Branch primarily serves the ministry's executive and senior managers. In addition, the branch responds to information requests from other ministries, other governments, forest companies and other sector stakeholders.
During this fiscal year, significant work was done to review and manage trade issues affecting the forest products industry's access to export markets — such as the ongoing lumber dispute with the United States, threatened boycotts by environmental groups, and the pinewood nematode problem with the European Union. Economics and Trade staff also prepared socio-economic analysis reports assessing the impacts of changing harvest levels resulting from the Timber Supply Review, coordinated an independent review of royalty rates, and reviewed proposals for new forest tenures.
Other highlights included:
In 1994 the British Columbia forest industry experienced its second most profitable year ever, just narrowly missing the record set in 1987. As in 1993, however, the aggregate masks the disparity between the solid-wood and the pulp-and-paper sectors. The solid-wood sector continued to experience high prices, and nearly matched 1993's record profitability, while pulp and paper continued to lose money, though prices were moving upward and the sector will very likely return to profitability in 1995.
Some further details:
British Columbia's lumber production in 1994 was 14.3 billion board feet, down 1 per cent from the output recorded in 1993.
The average price of the bellwether indicator for the Interior industry — western spruce-pine-fir 2x4s (kiln dried, random length, standard-and-better grade) — rose from US$332 per thousand board feet in 1993 to US$341 in 1994. Though the average price was up, the trend throughout 1994 was decidedly downward.
The North American market improved in 1994, with U.S. housing starts rising to 1.4 million units, up from 1.3 million units in 1993. Lumber shipments to the U.S. were up 5 per cent to 9.4 billion board feet.
Offshore lumber shipments were down 6 per cent, to 2.9 billion board feet.
British Columbia's shipments of market chemical paper-grade pulp increased by approximately 17 per cent to 4.0 million tonnes in 1994. This increase was primarily due to stronger prices, but was also due to capacity expansion.
The average price of northern bleached softwood kraft pulp (NBSKP) was approximately US$575 per tonne, up considerably from the 1993 average level of US$425 per tonne.
British Columbia's newsprint production totalled 1.7 million tonnes in 1994, down 13 per cent from 1993. Production was down, despite somewhat stronger prices, due to some newsprint capacity being converted to other (more value-added) paper.
The average U.S. West Coast price of standard newsprint was US$465 per tonne, up from US$440 per tonne in 1993.
Plywood production was 1.7 billion square feet (3/8" basis) in 1994, as it was in 1993. More than 80 per cent of the plywood produced in British Columbia is consumed within Canada. Canadian housing starts totalled 153,000 in 1993, down 3 per cent from 1993. Exports of shakes and shingles, more than 97 per cent of which go to the U.S., were up 1 per cent in 1994.
With encouragement from government, the industry in recent years has expanded programs to encourage value-added processing in the wood products industry. Growth in value-added activities has been steady, and should be boosted even further by the creation of Forest Renewal BC, which plans to spend about $20 million per year to aid further development of the value-added sector.
Jointly funded programs are designed to develop market and technical information, promote B.C.-made value-added wood products, and encourage improved use of the wood resource. Consequently, they have wide support throughout the industry.
Integrated Resources Policy Branch is responsible for leading the development and evolution of the Forest Practices Code, and for developing ecologically sustainable forest management policies to meet the present and future environmental, social and economic expectations of society.
One of the branch's key objectives in 1994/95 was to oversee completion of the Forest Practices Code, including the Forest Practices Code of British Columbia Act, and more than 30 supporting regulations and high-priority guidebooks. Managing this process primarily involved consultations with the public and stakeholders on code issues, and dealing with the many outstanding policy issues related to completion of the code.
Staff also worked to develop sustainable forest management policies related to threatened and endangered species, botanical forest products, future forests, and adaptive management. Providing operational advice to regions and districts on these topics, and on Forest Practices Code issues, was a significant component of the branch's work in 1994/95.
During 1994/95, Integrated Resources Policy Branch managed the ongoing development of the Forest Practices Code. Staff supported the development and publication of the Forest Practices Code of British Columbia Act, 18 regulations and 16 guidebooks, and began development of several more code guidebooks (on community watersheds, watershed assessment, and biodiversity) and an audit framework for the Forest Practices Board. Public consultations were conducted on the draft standards and regulations, and on the Private Managed Forest Lands Regulation. Branch staff also participated in an analysis of cumulative timber supply impacts of the code, and provided secretariat support to the Forest Practices Code Steering Committee.
Also during this year, branch staff made significant progress in developing the botanical forest products program. The branch published two reports — “Botanical Forest Products in B.C.: An Overview” and “Pine Mushroom Taskforce Recommendations” — and held 16 botanical forest products open houses. In addition, staff conducted a workshop on adaptive management in 1994/95, and developed a future forests discussion paper, and management options for the Spotted Owl.
Management Services Division assists the ministry in achieving its mandate and priorities by providing leadership, service and advice. A central part of the division's role is developing policy frameworks for managing revenues, expenditures, human resources, facilities and information systems. In addition, the division delivers administrative services and is responsible for the internal audit function.
Six units in the division supply services and a variety of support to all Forest Service programs.
Financial Management Branch provides direction and services to achieve the highest standards of financial management throughout the ministry.
Technical and Administrative Services Branch provides technical and administrative support for the effective management of the ministry's facilities, vehicles, equipment, records, assets and radio communication systems, to help meet the business needs of the ministry.
Human Resources Branch provides a professional and responsive human resource management service to the ministry. The branch provides leadership, advice and guidance on recruitment, training and development, classification and compensation, labor relations, occupational health and safety, and employment equity.
Audit Services Branch conducts independent examinations and reviews of programs, activities and initiatives within the ministry.
Information Systems Branch provides services to enable the ministry to obtain effective use and maximum advantage from information-management technology.
Valuation Branch ensures that all Crown forest and range revenue is invoiced and recorded, and that amounts owing are collected. More than 100,000 invoices are produced each year, accounting for total revenues of $1.9 billion in 1994/95 (including the Small Business Forest Enterprise Program and funds transferred to Forest Renewal BC).
Valuation Branch is reported under Management Services for the entire 1994/95 fiscal year, although it moved from its previous reporting position under Operations Division on June 1, 1994. (For further Valuation reporting, see the Resource Use and the Monitoring, Enforcement and Audit sections under the Forest Resource Management sub-vote.)
On April 1, 1995, Valuation Branch was renamed Revenue Branch. For the purposes of this report, however, it is referred to as Valuation Branch.
A major goal for Management Services Division in 1994/95 was to support the implementation of the Forest Practices Code. To help meet that goal, staff provided input into the code audit framework and regulations, continued the operation and support of ministry data and voice networks, and delivered implementation and administrative law training to 5,363 people from various ministries and industry throughout the province. In addition, an ambitious cross-Canada recruitment drive was initiated. It is expected to attract more than 300 new professional and technical personnel in support of the code. Staff also developed the Enforcement Review and Appeals system to track infractions and appeals, which is key to implementation of the code.
Support of the government's Corporate Human Resources Information and Payroll System (CHIPS) was another major priority for the division this year. Staff contributed to the implementation plan, budget and cost-benefit analysis, and also provided systems support.
Other significant division accomplishments in 1994/95 included:
The Public Affairs Branch communicates information about the ministry to Forests staff, the public, the news media, industry, other government bodies, schools, and special-interest groups. The branch develops and oversees external and internal communications on behalf of the Forest Service, and produces a full range of communications materials, including publications, displays, news releases, speeches, posters, educational materials and videos.
Public Affairs provides expertise in issues management, media relations, international tours, advertising, forest education, representation at trade shows, communications and event planning, budgets, graphic design, Forest Practices Code and Timber Supply Review communications, and participation on the Internet.
During 1994/95, Public Affairs Branch provided communications expertise and advice on a number of important issues facing the ministry, including the Timber Supply Review, Clayoquot Sound, the Forest Practices Code, the Forest Sector Strategy, and the softwood lumber dispute with the United States.
In this year, Public Affairs produced more than two dozen publications, such as the Tree Book, the Forest and Range Resource Program 1995 - 2000, and materials on the Forest Practices Code. Of special significance was publication of the landmark 1994 Forest, Range & Recreation Resource Analysis, which provides a wealth of technical information on the province's resources, current issues, ministry programs and policy direction over the past 10 years. To increase the report's accessibility, it was also made available on the Internet.