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Appendix 1: The Ministry
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
- 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
ministrys Web site (www.gov.bc.ca./for), linked to the electronic version of this
Policy and Economics Division
This division coordinates the ministrys 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 ministrys corporate-level forest-sector policy initiatives,
- coordinates the ministrys strategic and performance planning processes,
- manages the ministrys legislation program,
- coordinates selected strategic forest initiatives,
- coordinates the ministrys work with Forest Renewal BC, including resource
management planning for Land-Based Programs, and
- coordinates ministry contributions to interministry policy, planning and
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
- promote external compliance and internal quality assurance,
- support investigations and enforcement, including administrative remedies and
- 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 ministrys 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 ministrys 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 ministrys
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.
The Forestry Division provides the legislation and policy framework, technical
standards, tools, procedures and support for field staff. This includes sustainable
management of British Columbias forest, range and outdoor recreation resources. The
assistant deputy minister, who is also the provinces chief forester, determines the
allowable annual cuts for timber supply areas and tree farm licences. Branches are as
Forest Practices Branch develops and maintains a vision of sustainable forest
management for British Columbias timber, range and recreation resources, in support
of the chief foresters 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 ministrys mandate. The branch
proposes legislation, policies and procedures to help meet the ministrys 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 ministrys 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 provinces 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 foresters 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
branchs 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 ministrys 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 ministrys 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 ministrys 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 ministrys 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
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
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 ministrys 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 provinces forests.
The branch also works throughout the year to expand, update and improve the
ministrys Web site, which helps the organization communicate with people and
organizations around the world.
The Forest Services 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
The ministrys 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
The mandate of the Forest Service, as stated in section 4 of the Ministry of
Forests Act, is to:
- encourage maximum productivity of the forest and range resources in the Province,
- 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
- 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,
- encourage a vigorous, efficient and world-competitive timber processing industry in the
- 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:
- managing forests to meet present needs without compromising the needs of future
- providing stewardship of forests based on an ethic of respect for the land,
- balancing economic, productive, spiritual, ecological and recreational values of forests
to meet the economic, social and cultural needs of peoples and communities, including
- conserving biological diversity, soil, water, fish, wildlife, scenic diversity and other
forest resources, and
- 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.