Natural Resource Violation (NRV) reporting

Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations

 

QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS

 

Pilot project: Natural Resource Violation (NRV) reporting

March 19, 2013

 

What is the Compliance and Enforcement Branch?

·        The Compliance and Enforcement Branch is the law enforcement arm of the provincial Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations.

·        Its primary responsibilities include ensuring that B.C.’s resource management laws are being followed and taking action on instances of significant non-compliance.

 

What do the Compliance and Enforcement Branch’s Natural Resource Officers do?

·        Natural Resource Officers have the legal authority to enforce 46 different resource management Acts and regulations, including the Land Act, Water Act, Heritage Conservation Act, Forest Act, Forest and Range Practices Act and Wildfire Act.

·        There are over 150 Natural Resource Officers currently working throughout the province, completing inspections and conducting investigations.

·        Natural Resource Officers deal with issues related to:

o       illegal cabins or structures, and illegal occupation of Crown land (squatting)

o       use or development of Crown land

o       dumping of garbage, refuse or sewage

o       alterations to foreshores or riparian areas of lakes and streams

o       land tenure requirements

o       forestry operations

o       heritage conservation

o       recreation sites and trails

o       irresponsible ATV or motorbike use

·        Natural Resource Officers conduct:

o       patrols of recreation trails and campsites

o       enforcement of fire bans

o       water permit and well inspections

o       dam and dike inspections

o       logging operations, road and rangeland inspections

 

What is the Natural Resource Violation (NRV) reporting pilot program?

·        This web-based and phone-based reporting and tracking system will be introduced as a pilot project in the Thompson Okanagan region only on March 19, 2014 and will run until April 30, 2014.

·        Previously, calls from the public would be received by a multitude of offices. The intent of the new hotline and webpage is to streamline violation reporting, enabling staff to respond more quickly.

·        The system will allow members of the public to report suspected natural resource violations to a single contact centre. This report will then be referred to the agency responsible, documented and dealt with appropriately.

 

Why is the new system needed?

·        With the expansion of its natural resource sector responsibilities over the past few years, the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations has experienced a corresponding increase in reports about suspected violations of laws and regulations.

·        Members of the public can already call a hotline to report wildfires and abandoned campfires (1 800 663-5555) and another hotline to report polluters or poachers
(1 877 952-7277). Until now, however, they did have not had a central point of contact to report natural resource violations. This means that people have been calling forest district offices, local government offices, FrontCounter BC offices, and individual staff members to report suspected violations.

·        The new system will ensure that a reported violation is quickly routed to the appropriate agency or office, allowing staff to handle reported violations effectively and consistently.

 

When will the pilot project start? Where will it run?

·        The first phase of this system is a pilot project that will be launched in the Thompson Okanagan region on March 19, 2014 and will run until April 30, 2014.

·        All of the data and public feedback collected during this period will be evaluated in mid-April and any necessary adjustments will be made by the end of that month.

·        If the pilot project is successful, the service may be extended to the entire province later in 2014.

·        The Thompson Okanagan region stretches from Blue River in the north to the U.S. border in the south, and from Lillooet and Princeton in the west to the Monashee Mountain range east of the Okanagan Valley. A map showing the region’s boundaries is available online at: http://www.for.gov.bc.ca/hen/nrv/images/map_Thompson-Okanagan.jpg

 

How can someone submit a violation report online?

·        When someone witnesses an incident or has a concern about an activity that falls within the jurisdiction of the Compliance and Enforcement Branch, they can visit the webpage at www.for.gov.bc.ca/hen/nrv/ to read about Natural Resource Officers and their responsibilities, complete a violation report form and submit a report electronically.

·        The new webpage includes a list of concerns and incidents that Natural Resource Officers typically investigate.

·        The staff member who initially reviews the web-based report will assess the report, determine its level of urgency, confirm whether it’s the responsibility of the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations or another agency, and then take appropriate steps to deal with the situation.

·        All reports submitted through the webpage that fall within the mandate of the Compliance and Enforcement Branch and any subsequent actions taken by staff will be documented.

 

How can someone submit a violation report by phone?

·        When someone witnesses an incident or has a concern about an activity that falls within the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations, they can submit a report by calling a toll-free number: 1 844 NRO-TIPS (1 844 676-8477)

·        The staff member who initially reviews a phone-based report will assess the report, determine its level of urgency, confirm whether it’s the responsibility of the Compliance and Enforcement Branch or another agency, and then take appropriate steps to deal with the situation.

·        The phone line will be staffed Monday to Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. A call management system will provide recorded information to assist with suspected violations outside of those hours.

·        All reports submitted by phone that fall within the mandate of the Compliance and Enforcement Branch and any subsequent actions taken by staff will be documented.

 

What if I’m not sure what types of concerns or of incidents are handled by the Compliance and Enforcement Branch?

·        The new webpage includes a list of sample incidents that fall under the Compliance and Enforcement Branch’s mandate.

·        The new webpage also contains an overview of applicable legislation and regulations, and lists areas of Natural Resource Officer responsibility.

·        If members of the public are still uncertain, hotline staff can assist them further.

 

How will this improve the public’s ability to report natural resource violations?

·        Until now, members of the public have been calling local forest district offices, other government offices or individual staff members to report natural resource violations.

·        The new system streamlines violation reporting because people can immediately submit a report online or by phone and it will be routed to the appropriate agency or office.

·        Members of the public can take advantage of these easy-to-use tools to submit a violation report 24/7.

 

What happens to reports submitted on the weekend or outside of normal office hours?

·        If the situation is an emergency and the call is made outside of normal office hours, the system’s automated message system will instruct the caller to dial 911.

 

Do I have to use the new reporting system? Can’t I just contact my local forest district office or talk to ministry staff I’ve spoken to in the past?

·      Once the new natural resource violation reporting system is in place, local offices will no longer handle these types of reports. Staff will instead redirect people to the new toll-free number or webpage.

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