O. Reg. 319/20: INDEPENDENT FOREST AUDITS
filed June 26, 2020 under Crown Forest Sustainability Act, 1994, S.O. 1994, c. 25Skip to content
ontario regulation 319/20
made under the
Crown Forest Sustainability Act, 1994
Made: June 25, 2020
Filed: June 26, 2020
Published on e-Laws: June 29, 2020
Printed in The Ontario Gazette: July 11, 2020
Independent Forest Audits
Application, management units
1. This Regulation applies to all management units in which forest operations are carried out and that are subject to the Forest Management Planning Manual.
2. (1) A forest audit of a management unit shall be conducted under this Regulation at such times as the Minister may determine based on the following factors, subject to subsections (2) and (3):
1. The results of any previous forest audit of the management unit conducted under this Regulation or a previous regulation under the Act.
2. If a previous forest audit report raised concerns about the management unit, whether the holder of a forest resource licence for the management unit has adequately addressed the concerns by preparing and implementing an action plan that responds to the concerns or by any other means.
3. If two or more forest resource licences have been granted to the same person under section 26 of the Act, whether more than one forest audit would be required in a year in respect of the management units for which the person holds licences.
4. Whether the amount of Crown forest resources harvested since the last forest audit of the management unit is significantly less than the amount that is permitted for that period in the management unit.
5. Whether scheduling a forest audit in a particular year is in the public interest.
(2) The Minister shall ensure that a forest audit of a management unit is conducted at least once every 10 years, unless the audit is delayed in accordance with subsection (3).
(3) The Minister may determine that a forest audit of a management unit should be delayed by up to two years beyond the 10-year period referred to in subsection (2) if any of the following events occur within two years before the end of the 10-year period:
1. The forest management plan for the management unit expires or is extended in accordance with subsection 11 (1) of the Act.
2. The management unit is amalgamated with another management unit or the boundaries of the management unit are altered in accordance with section 7 of the Act.
3. A forest resource licence is granted under section 26 of the Act with respect to the management unit.
4. A forest resource licence that has been granted under section 26 of the Act with respect to the management unit is amended or transferred.
(4) The first forest audit of a management unit to be conducted under this Regulation shall be conducted within 10 years after,
(a) the day this Regulation comes into force; or
(b) if the management unit is designated under section 7 of the Act after the day this Regulation comes into force, the day of the designation.
(5) The Minister may determine that a first forest audit of a management unit required under clause (4) (a) should be delayed by up to two years beyond the 10-year period that follows the day this Regulation comes into force if any of the events described in subsection (3) occur within two years before the end of the 10-year period.
3. (1) A forest audit shall be carried out by a team of at least three auditors appointed by the Minister.
(2) An auditor shall possess the skills, knowledge, experience and professional credentials necessary for the proper conduct of a forest audit.
(3) At least one member of a forest audit shall be a professional forester.
Independence of auditors
4. (1) An auditor who conducts a forest audit of a management unit shall be independent from any licensee who holds a forest resource licence for the management unit.
(2) An auditor is not independent from a licensee for the purposes of subsection (1) if,
(a) the auditor or his or her spouse,
(i) is an employee, agent, partner or associate of the licensee, or
(ii) in the case of a licensee that is a corporation, is a member, director, officer or shareholder of the corporation, or of a company that is affiliated with the corporation through ownership or control; or
(b) the auditor provided at any time during the period covered by the audit any services that would be the subject of the audit, whether on behalf of the licensee or on behalf of the Crown.
(3) In subsection (2),
(a) a spouse as defined in section 1 of the Family Law Act, or
(b) either or two persons who live together in a conjugal relationship outside marriage.
Notices of forest audit
5. Once the timing for the forest audit of a management unit has been determined by the Minister under section 2, the Minister shall give written notice of the audit to any licensee who holds a forest resource licence for the management unit at least 60 days before the commencement of the forest audit.
Conduct of forest audit
6. (1) The auditors appointed to conduct a forest audit of a management unit shall,
(a) give notice of the audit to the local citizens’ committee established under section 13 of the Act, to First Nations and Métis communities, as may be specified by the Minister, and to members of the public; and
(b) provide a reasonable opportunity for the entities that receive notice under clause (a) and members of the public to provide information and comments during the conduct of the audit.
(2) The team of auditors that conducts a forest audit of a management unit shall,
(a) assess the extent to which forest management and forest management planning activities in the management unit complied with,
(i) the Act and the regulations,
(ii) the manuals approved under subsection 68 (10) of the Act, and
(iii) any forest management plan approved under subsection 9 (1) of the Act that applied to the forest management activities during the forest audit period;
(b) assess the effectiveness of forest management activities in meeting the forest management objectives set out in the forest management plan;
(c) compare the forest management activities that were carried out with those that were planned;
(d) assess the effectiveness of any action plan implemented in the management unit in response to a previous forest audit report;
(e) review and assess a licensee’s compliance with the terms and conditions of a forest resource licence for the management unit by the licensee; and
(f) assess whether the management unit has been managed in a manner consistent with the principles of sustainability set out in subsection 2 (3) of the Act.
(3) A forest audit shall be conducted in accordance with the audit protocol set out in Appendix A of the document entitled “Independent Forest Audit Process and Protocol” prepared by the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry, dated September 2019 and published on a website of the Government of Ontario, as that document may be amended from time to time.
(4) An auditor shall not disclose any information obtained in the course of a forest audit except as is necessary for the purpose of the forest audit report or, as directed by the Ministry, for other related forest audits.
Forest audit report
7. (1) On completion of a forest audit of a management unit, the team of auditors who conducted the audit shall prepare a forest audit report.
(2) A forest audit report shall,
(a) set out the findings made by the team of auditors with respect to the matters listed in subsection 6 (2); and
(b) be prepared in accordance with Appendix D of the document entitled “Independent Forest Audit Process and Protocol” referred to in subsection 6 (3).
(3) The team of auditors shall submit a forest audit report to the following persons and committee:
1. The Minister.
2. The licensee who holds a forest resource licence granted under section 26 of the Act for the management unit.
3. The licensee who holds a forest resource licence granted under section 27 of the Act for the management unit and who is also a party to an agreement under subsection 27 (3) of the Act.
4. The local citizens’ committee established for the management unit under section 13 of the Act.
(4) If requested by the Minister, the team of auditors shall prepare supplementary forest audit reports and submit them to the persons and committee referred to in subsection (3).
Review of forest audit report
8. The Minister shall review every forest audit report and supplementary forest audit report submitted under section 7 and, upon being satisfied that the report is complete, give notice that he or she has accepted the report to the audit team and to the persons and committee referred to in subsection 7 (3).
9. After a review of a forest audit report or supplementary forest audit report with respect to a management unit, the Minister may prepare an action plan to address findings included in the report and may require the holder of a forest resource licence for the management unit to participate in the preparation of the action plan.
Posting of certain documents
10. (1) The Minister shall make the following available to the public on a publicly accessible website:
1. Each final forest audit report.
2. Any action plan that may be prepared under section 9.
(2) A report or plan shall be made available under subsection (1) as soon as possible after,
(a) in the case of a final forest audit report, the date the Minister provides notice under section 8 that the Minister has accepted the report; or
(b) in the case of an action plan, the date its preparation is complete.
Review of Regulation
11. (1) The Minister shall conduct a review of the implementation of this Regulation at least once every 10 years.
(2) The Minister shall consult the public while conducting a review under subsection (1).
12. Ontario Regulation 160/04 is revoked.
13. This Regulation comes into force on the later of July 1, 2020 and the day it is filed.