2000/01 Annual Performance Report Table of Contents



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Appendix 1: The Ministry

Structure and Functions

The Ministry of Forests, which is also known as the Forest Service, is structured to:

  • effectively manage the resources,
  • decentralize decision-making to ensure efficient and highly responsive service to ministry clients,
  • emphasize integrated resource management and forest product development and marketing,
  • ensure the accountability of managers, and
  • achieve excellence through a commitment to employees.

The ministry is organized into four divisions, which are made up of 19 branches, six forest regions, and 40 districts (see "Ministry Organization by Reporting Function" on page 58).

Highlights of branch and program work during 2000/01 are available on the ministry’s Web site (www.gov.bc.ca./for), linked to the electronic version of this report.

Policy and Economics Division

This division coordinates the ministry’s policy and planning processes and ensures a consistent framework for provincial forest policy. The group also has specific responsibilities for trade policy and legislation. There are two branches: Economics and Trade, and Corporate Policy and Planning.

Economics and Trade Branch is responsible for developing policies that help foster the growth and improve the economic health of B.C.’s forest resources and forest industry. The branch prepares economic, trade and financial analyses of the forest resource, the forest industry and non-timber values, coordinates provincial policies on forest-related trade issues, and represents the ministry in international policy processes such as the Kyoto Protocol and sustainable forest management. The branch also manages incoming and outgoing international missions, international communications related to forest management and policies, and forest-related trade matters.

+ is responsible for the Ministry of Forests’ policy, planning and consultation processes in response to current and emerging issues. The branch:

  • manages the ministry’s corporate-level forest-sector policy initiatives,
  • coordinates the ministry’s strategic and performance planning processes,
  • manages the ministry’s legislation program,
  • coordinates selected strategic forest initiatives,
  • coordinates the ministry’s work with Forest Renewal BC, including resource management planning for Land-Based Programs, and
  • coordinates ministry contributions to interministry policy, planning and intergovernmental initiatives.

Operations Division

This division is the operational arm of the Forest Service. It implements the policies and programs developed by the branches. The only division with direct regional and district responsibilities, Operations Division includes the six regional offices, 40 district offices, and six branches, as follows:

Protection Branch provides wildfire service to all land managers in the province. The branch maintains ministry fire fighting resources in a state of readiness, with properly trained staff and the appropriate technology and equipment in place. The branch focuses on the prevention and suppression of wildfires to protect forest and range resources, natural resource values, lives and property. The program is divided into two major activities: direct fire fighting and fire preparedness.

Performance measures for the program include containing 94 per cent of all unwanted wildfires at less than 4 hectares and keeping area burned by unwanted wildfires to less than 150,000 hectares in a five-year period (i.e., an average of 30,000 hectares annually). Through its prevention efforts, the ministry also aims to keep the number of human-caused fires from escalating – despite an increasing population and expanding tourism and recreational activities in the province.

The mandate of Compliance and Enforcement Branch is to promote compliance, by both industry and the Forest Service, with forest and range legislation, and to help the government effectively enforce that legislation. The important components of that mandate are to:

  • promote external compliance and internal quality assurance,
  • support investigations and enforcement, including administrative remedies and prosecutions,
  • report to the public on compliance, quality assurance, and enforcement statistics,
  • resolve forest management issues within a statutory framework by applying forest management expertise in conjunction with applicable legal principles,
  • analyze risk and develop risk assessment and management principles that can be applied within a statutory framework,
  • analyze and develop legislation (and, where applicable, policy) that is feasible, enforceable, and supports defensible statutory decision-making, and
  • supports ministry statutory decision-makers and the Attorney General.

Compliance and Enforcement Branch advises and supports more than 900 Operations Division and Protection Program staff working throughout the province on a wide range of compliance and enforcement activities that encourage resource sustainability.

Aboriginal Affairs Branch promotes the Ministry of Forests’ interests in treaty negotiations. The branch provides leadership, negotiation skills, advice and overall coordination for forest-related First Nations issues in the following three areas:

  • policy development as it relates to forestry and First Nations issues,
  • programs and interim measures that provide economic opportunities for First Nations in the forest sector, and
  • support to the British Columbia Treaty Commission process through information management and resource analysis.

The branch continues to ensure that existing aboriginal and treaty rights are acknowledged and respected in ministry legislation, policies and programs, and that current case law is reflected in the ministry’s business approach. The branch works with forest regions and districts to provide advice and guidance on the appropriate application of policies as they relate to ministry operations and First Nations issues.

The main focus of Business Improvement Branch is the delivery of the Continuous Improvement Initiative (see also page 23). The initiative is a multi-year, multi-phase project that concentrates on providing ministry staff with hands-on training and education in business redesign, performance management, and team and leadership effectiveness. The main goal of the initiative is to develop a self-sustainable continuous improvement culture in the ministry, which will allow it – along with forest-sector partners such as the Ministry of Environment, Lands and Parks and forest licensees – to reduce overall operating costs, develop business efficiencies and strengthen business relationships. These and other performance improvements will help the forest sector become more innovative, adaptive, and better able to manage change, which will, in turn, help make the B.C. forest industry more efficient and competitive.

Resource Tenures and Engineering Branch supports the ministry’s forest development program throughout the province by providing administrative and operational services for major tenures, the Woodlot Licence Program, the Community Forest Pilot Program, forest engineering, legal access and land acquisition/disposal, and land information management. The branch also provides professional expertise and leadership to develop and maintain provincial legislation, policies and procedures for these program areas. The branch provides day-to-day operational support, advice and information to the Minister of Forests, the ministry executive, regions and districts, and the public.

Forest Enterprises Branch contributes to sustainably managed small-business forests by working in partnership with and promoting viable independent forest enterprises. Forest Enterprises Branch is responsible for managing the ministry’s small business programs, including the Small Business Forest Enterprise Program (SBFEP), the Small-Scale Salvage Initiative, and log marketing. The branch also provides strategic program direction and policy guidance for small-business activities, including timber-sale planning, road construction, and basic silviculture.

Forestry Division

The Forestry Division provides the legislation and policy framework, technical standards, tools, procedures and support for field staff. This includes sustainable management of British Columbia’s forest, range and outdoor recreation resources. The assistant deputy minister, who is also the province’s chief forester, determines the allowable annual cuts for timber supply areas and tree farm licences. Branches are as follows:

Forest Practices Branch develops and maintains a vision of sustainable forest management for British Columbia’s timber, range and recreation resources, in support of the chief forester’s legislated mandate. The branch is responsible for preparing, updating, assessing and refining all aspects of provincial forest planning, practices, policy and standards, within the context of the ministry’s mandate. The branch proposes legislation, policies and procedures to help meet the ministry’s goals and objectives, and it provides expert advice and technical support to a broad array of clients, particularly operations field staff in the regions and districts. In addition, the branch serves as the ministry’s liaison with the Forest Practices Board.

Timber Supply Branch manages the Timber Supply Review. That work includes the timely completion of timber supply analyses for B.C.’s 37 timber supply areas (TSAs), and allowable annual cut (AAC) determinations for all of the TSAs and the 34 tree farm licences (TFLs) at least once every five years. The Timber Supply Review is an assessment of the province’s timber resources, which takes into account current forestry practices and resource values. The chief forester uses the results of the review to make reliable timber forecasts and ensure that harvest levels are appropriate.

The branch supports the chief forester’s AAC determinations by producing timely, reliable and informative timber supply analyses that reflect current integrated resource management. This includes developing policy, methods and models for timber supply analysis. Providing this technical support to the chief forester is one of the branch’s most important responsibilities.

The branch also works closely with other ministry staff, other ministries and the public to identify areas where better information is required, and to improve methods for future timber supply analyses.

Through the AAC decision support team, Timber Supply Branch also provides information, policy and advice for the AAC determination process to the chief forester, and to Forest Service district and regional staff.

Tree Improvement Branch coordinates all ministry tree improvement functions and ensures their integration with the activities of Forest Renewal BC and the British Columbia Forest Genetics Council, which it co-chairs. Delivered in partnership with Forest Renewal BC, tree improvement is one of the lowest-cost reforestation investments, and it provides a positive economic return across a range of species.

Resources Inventory Branch is responsible for the Vegetation Resources Inventory, a geo-referenced repository of current forest resources data. It provides support for complex integrated resource management decisions. The branch also provides training, planning, and application development to meet client needs.

Forest inventory information is the basis for professional forest management. Forest monitoring information is needed to assess the sustainability of current forest management practices and proposed forest policy, and to track the cumulative effects of land management over time.

The Forest Science Program is a combination of the activities of Research Branch (in the Forestry Division) and regional scientists (in the Operations Division). The program provides the ministry with timely in-house scientific advice for policy development and operational decision-making. In doing so, it engages in a wide variety of research studies to address immediate problems as well as longer-term issues and opportunities. Ministry scientists are actively involved in scientific networks and research partnerships with other research organizations within B.C., across the country, and around the world.

Forestry Division Services Branch supports the ministry’s core objectives to encourage resource sustainability, practise planned and integrated resource use, encourage an efficient and world-competitive forest industry, and assert the financial interests of the Crown. It provides a range of business and management support services to Forestry Division and the ministry. That work includes maintaining a comprehensive forest resource library service and an online document library for staff, industry and the public, coordinating the delivery of specialized training to field staff and industry, and leading the development of divisional performance measures to improve program performance and cost efficiencies. Secondary clients include outside agencies, such as Forest Renewal BC, industry and other groups.

Management Services Division

This division develops and monitors the ministry’s policy framework relating to the management of revenues, expenditures and human resources, including employment equity, facilities, information systems, and freedom of information. The division delivers administrative services and performs the annual internal audit. The assistant deputy minister is also the ministry’s executive financial officer. Branches are as follows:

Financial Management Branch provides:

  • clear policy direction and standards for financial, contract and asset management,
  • financial management training and advice,
  • corporate management services, including headquarters payroll and accounts payable processing, budgeting and financial systems management, and corporate facilities and vehicle management services,
  • appropriate accountability through financial reviews, and
  • appropriate financial management information for decision-making.

It is the responsibility of Revenue Branch to:

  • determine ministry revenue in a systematic and equitable manner,
  • identify and claim revenue completely, accurately and promptly,
  • record revenue promptly and accurately,
  • collect revenue accounts receivables vigorously, and
  • treat licensees fairly and equitably.

Human Resources Branch provides professional human resource management services to the ministry’s branches, regions and districts. The branch also offers leadership, advice and guidance on human resource planning, recruitment, workforce adjustment and attrition, training and development, classification and compensation, labour relations, the Short-Term Illness and Injury Plan, long-term disability and rehabilitation case management, occupational health and safety, and employment equity and diversity.

Information Management Branch manages and supports corporate information management/information technology services and plans. It also evaluates and implements new technologies and supports applications, including development and maintenance, and training services. The branch is responsible for planning, data administration, policy, audit, freedom of information, forms, records and manual publication services. In addition, the branch provides voice, data and radio communications infrastructure for the ministry.

Communications Branch

Communications Branch sets communications policy for the Ministry of Forests and delivers a full range of communications services, planning, strategy and counsel to the minister, deputy minister, executive, branches, groups, regions and districts. The branch reports directly to the deputy minister.

Communications also provides information about ministry activities to the public, the news media, organizations and stakeholders, and it answers queries from them. The branch supports all of the ministry’s strategic goals, programs, activities and projects, but does not have primary responsibility for any of them. It does, however, execute projects of its own. National Forest Week, for example, provides an opportunity each spring for the ministry to communicate with the public and educate school children about the province’s forests.

The branch also works throughout the year to expand, update and improve the ministry’s Web site, which helps the organization communicate with people and organizations around the world.

Regional Offices

The Forest Service’s six regional offices, each under the direction of a regional manager, are the general administrative centres for the forest region and the districts within them. With input from the districts, regional managers and their staff develop priorities, programs and procedures for the region, based on broad provincial policies. They supply professional and technical expertise to help the district implement programs and deliver goods and services to the public. Regional offices have an important role in quality assurance, and they relay feedback from the districts to the appropriate headquarters branches.

District Offices

The ministry’s 40 district offices put ministry policies into practice by carrying out regional priorities. They also ensure compliance with legislative requirements, such as the Forest Practices Code, for which the district manager is a key statutory decision-maker.

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Legislative Authority

The mandate of the Forest Service, as stated in section 4 of the Ministry of Forests Act, is to:

  1. encourage maximum productivity of the forest and range resources in the Province,
  2. manage, protect and conserve the forest and range resources of the Crown, having regard to the immediate and long-term economic and social benefits they may confer on the Province,
  3. plan the use of the forest and range resources of the Crown, so that the production of timber and forage, the grazing of livestock, and the realization of fisheries, wildlife, water, outdoor recreation and other natural resource values are coordinated and integrated, in consultation and cooperation with other ministries and agencies of the Crown and with the private sector,
  4. encourage a vigorous, efficient and world-competitive timber processing industry in the Province, and
  5. assert the financial interests of the Crown in its forest and range resources in a systematic and equitable manner.

In addition, the Forest Service is required under the preamble to the Forest Practices Code of British Columbia Act, which was amended in July 1997, to manage the forest and range resource to ensure sustainable use. That includes:

  1. managing forests to meet present needs without compromising the needs of future generations,
  2. providing stewardship of forests based on an ethic of respect for the land,
  3. balancing economic, productive, spiritual, ecological and recreational values of forests to meet the economic, social and cultural needs of peoples and communities, including First Nations,
  4. conserving biological diversity, soil, water, fish, wildlife, scenic diversity and other forest resources, and
  5. restoring damaged ecologies.

The main responsibilities and authorities of the Forest Service are defined in the following provincial legislation:

  • Ministry of Forests Act, Revised Statutes of B.C. (RSBC) 1996, Chapter 300,
  • Forest Act, RSBC 1996, Chapter 157,
  • Forest Practices Code of British Columbia Act, RSBC 1996, Chapter 159, and
  • Range Act, RSBC 1996, Chapter 396.

In addition, the following legislation is under the responsibility of the Minister of Forests, but is not directly administered by the Forest Service:

  • Forest Renewal Act, RSBC 1996, Chapter 160,
  • Forest Land Reserve Act, RSBC 1996, Chapter 158, and
  • Foresters Act, RSBC 1996, Chapter 162.

The Forest Service also has administrative responsibilities under the:

  • Forest Stand Management Fund Act, RSBC 1996, Chapter 161, and
  • South Moresby Implementation Account Act, RSBC 1996, Chapter 435.
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Under the Ministry of Forests Act and the Budget Transparency and Accountability Act, the ministry is obligated to prepare:

  • a periodic resource analysis describing the conditions, management and future uses of the forest and range resources, to enable informed setting of overall priorities and long-term objectives,
  • a three-year performance plan that includes a statement of goals and identifies specific objectives and performance measures, updated on an annual basis, for tabling in the B.C. Legislature by April 30 of each year, and
  • an annual performance report that compares actual results for the preceding fiscal year with the expected results identified in the performance plan, for tabling in the B.C. Legislature by June 30 each year (as of 2001/02).

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