The Province has introduced legislation to make BC’s approach to forests more focused on sustainability, return more benefits to people and local communities, and position the province to take advantage of future economic opportunities.

Minister of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development Katrine Conroy introduced amendments to the Forest and Range Practices act.

“Past policies have left much control of forest operations in the hands of the private sector, it’s time for government to manage forests for British Columbians,” Conroy said, “the ability for the public and communities to view and have input on harvesting plans has been limited. It’s time to increase transparency. For too long, Indigenous nations lacked opportunities to benefit from and have a say on forest activities in their territories, it’s time to move reconciliation forward.”

The new components include:

  • Reshaping BC’s forest management framework by repositions government as the land manager
  • reasserting the public interest in forest management
  • equipping land managers with appropriate tools to establish resilient forests,
  • supporting reconciliation with First Nations through changes that authorize government to establish landscape in collaboration with First Nations

“This bill moves us forward on our vision,” Conroy said, “The vision is for a forest sector that delivers higher value from our forests, with secure, long-term jobs, and healthy eco-systems.”

Amendments to the act will give government the authority to develop 10-year forest landscape plans with First Nations, local communities, and other stakeholders, those plans will be posted publicly and replace sector-developed forest stewardship plans.

“The current Forest and Range Practices Act and forest stewardship plans leave little room for Indigenous input,” ?Esdgiagh Chief Troy Baptiste said, “The improvements to the act are a step in the right direction toward meaningful government-to-government engagement. ?Esdilagh First Nation is committed to the continuance of the forest landscape planning process within the Quesnel Timber Supply Area for the protection of the biodiversity of the land. We have looked forward to the day when a collaboration would begin between Indigenous communities and the Province of British Columbia for the care of the forests. A day when traditional land knowledge and modern forest practices come together to ensure the health of the land for future generations.”