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BILL NO. 20


Government Bill


6th Session, 56th General Assembly

Nova Scotia

46 Elizabeth II, 1997





An Act to Amend Chapter 179

of the Revised Statutes, 1989,

the Forests Act






The Honourable Kenneth MacAskill

Minister of Natural Resources








Halifax

Printed by Queens Printer for Nova Scotia




Explanatory Notes





Clause 1 adds to the Act definitions of "buyer of forest products" and "producer" and amends the definition of "primary forest products".















Clause 2 enables the Minister to enter into agreements with buyers of forest products to provide for the more effective management of forest lands in the Province.




Clause 3 provides that the principle of sustainable forest management forms the basis of all forest-management programs in the Province.



Clause 4 provides that


(a) regulations respecting mandatory standards for sustainable forest-management practices to protect wildlife habitats, watercourses, wetlands and other significant resources apply to privately owned land and lands owned by the Crown; and


(b) a person carrying out industrial forest-harvesting operations shall provide the information prescribed by regulation.






Clause 5 provides


(a) that no person shall act as a buyer of forest products in the Province unless the person is registered with the Minister;


(b) that a buyer of forest products who intends to acquire primary forest products in the Province must submit a wood-acquisition plan to the Minister for approval; and


(c) for the establishment of the Sustainable Forestry Fund.

















Clause 6


(a) permits conservation officers, employees of the Department and persons appointed by the Minister to enter and inspect a forestry operation or a forest-harvesting operation; and


(b) enables a conservation officer to issue certain orders where the Act is being or will be contravened.












Clause 7 expands the enforcement powers of the Department.



























Clause 8 adds to the regulation-making authority of the Governor in Council.























Clause 9 provides that the Act comes into force on proclamation.




An Act to Amend Chapter 179

of the Revised Statutes, 1989,

the Forests Act



Be it enacted by the Governor and Assembly as follows:


1 Section 3 of Chapter 179 of the Revised Statutes, 1989, the Forests Act, is amended by


(a) relettering clause (a) as (aa) and adding immediately preceding clause (aa) the following clause:


(a) "buyer of forest products" means a person who


(i) is an owner or operator of a wood processing facility in the Province which processes primary forest products,


(ii) exports primary products from the Province,


(iii) imports primary forest products into the Province,


(iv) acts as a fuelwood dealer in accordance with the regulations, or


(v) acquires primary forest products for producing energy;


(b) striking out "obtained" in the second line of clause (q) and substituting "cut or harvested"; and


(c) adding immediately after clause (q) the following clause:


(qa) "producer" means a person, other than a buyer of forest products, who owns the primary forest product at the time it is cut and prepared for sale from a forest;


2 Subsection 5(1) of Chapter 179 is amended by adding immediately after clause (c) the following clause:


(ca) entering into agreements with buyers of forest products or producers to provide for the more effective management of forest lands in the Province;


3 Section 7 of Chapter 179 is amended by striking out "The following principles form the basis of all forest management programs in the Province:" in the first and second lines and substituting "The principle of sustainable forest management forms the basis of all forest management programs in the Province, including".


4 Chapter 179 is further amended by adding immediately after Section 10 the following Sections:


10A Notwithstanding Section 9, where the Governor in Council, pursuant to clause (j) of Section 40, makes regulations respecting mandatory standards for sustainable forest management practices to protect wildlife habitats, watercourses, wetlands and other significant resources, those regulations are binding on privately owned lands and lands owned by the Crown.


10B (1) An industrial forest operator shall provide such information on forest harvesting operations conducted by the operator as prescribed by regulation.


(2) Subsection (1) does not apply to the owner of forest land or a producer who harvests less than four hundred and fifty cubic metres solid, or such greater amount as prescribed by regulation, or the equivalent of primary forest products in any calendar year.


5 Section 19 of Chapter 179 is repealed and the following Sections substituted:


19 (1) No person shall, directly or indirectly, act as a buyer of forest products in the Province unless the person


(a) maintains a registration with the Minister in accordance with the regulations;


(b) submits to the Minister the statistical information respecting primary forest products required by the regulations; and


(c) where applicable, acquires primary forest products in accordance with an approved wood acquisition plan.


(2) A buyer of forest products who intends to acquire primary forest products shall submit to the Minister for approval, on an annual basis and in accordance with the regulations, a wood acquisition plan setting out the manner in which the acquisition may be made on a sustainable basis.


(3) For the purpose of subsection (2), where it is proved that a person acquired primary forest products in a year in the Province, in an amount greater than the volume prescribed by regulation, the acquisition is prima facie evidence that the person intended to acquire that amount of primary forest products in that year.


(4) A wood acquisition plan shall provide such information as is required by regulation.


(5) A buyer of forest products who holds an approved wood acquisition plan shall make available to the Department any information necessary for the purpose of monitoring the implementation of the wood acquisition plan.


(6) The Minister may revoke the registration of a buyer of forest products where the person fails to comply with the requirements of this Section or the regulations.


19A (1) There is hereby established a fund to be known as the Sustainable Forestry Fund for the purpose of funding programs to encourage the sustainable use of privately owned forest land.


(2) There shall be paid into the Sustainable Forestry Fund


(a) contributions for silviculture programs on privately owned forest lands from buyers of forest products or producers where an agreement providing for a contribution has been entered into with the Minister in accordance with an approved wood acquisition plan;


(b) income accruing to the Fund; and


(c) in accordance with the Provincial Finance Act, money that accrues from any programs of the Province, including programs conducted under agreements with other governments, entered into for any of the purposes for which the Fund is established.


(3) Money may only be expended from the Sustainable Forestry Fund in accordance with the Provincial Finance Act and only for the purpose of funding silviculture programs on privately owned lands.


6 Section 32 of Chapter 179 is repealed and the following Sections substituted:


32 Conservation officers, employees of the Department and such other persons as are appointed by the Minister pursuant to this Act, together with people assisting them, may, for the purpose of ensuring compliance with this Act and the regulations and any order made under this Act or the regulations,


(a) at a reasonable hour of the day, enter and inspect a forestry operation or a forest harvesting operation and make such examinations as the person considers necessary or advisable;


(b) require the production of records or documents in the possession of a buyer of forest products that relate to the registration and statistical returns required of a buyer of forest products;


(c) make any examination or inquiry as the person considers necessary to ascertain whether there is compliance with this Act and the regulations and any order made under this Act or the regulations;


(d) in an inspection or an examination, be accompanied and assisted by a person having special, expert or professional knowledge of any matter;


(e) enter upon any land for the purpose of performing the person's duties and functions pursuant to this Act and the regulations, including the monitoring of the implementation of a wood acquisition plan.


32A Where a conservation officer believes on reasonable and probable grounds that a person responsible for a forest harvesting operation has contravened or will contravene this Act or the regulations, the conservation officer may, whether or not the person has been charged or convicted in respect of the contravention, issue an order requiring the person, at that person's expense, to


(a) cease the specified activity;


(b) alter the procedures to be followed in carrying out the activity; or


(c) undertake remedial action to control, reduce or mitigate the contravention.


7 Section 36 of Chapter 179 is repealed and the following Sections substituted:


36 (1) Every person who fails to comply with this Act or the regulations or with an order made pursuant to this Act or the regulations is guilty of an offence and is liable on summary conviction


(a) in the case of a corporation, to a fine not exceeding one hundred thousand dollars; or


(b) in the case of an individual, to a fine not exceeding fifty thousand dollars or to imprisonment for a term of not more than six months, or to both.


(2) Where an offence under this Act or the regulations is committed or continued on more than one day, the person who committed the offence is liable to be convicted for a separate offence for each day on which the offence is committed or continued.


(3) Where a person has been convicted of an offence under this Act or the regulations and the court is satisfied that monetary benefits accrued to the person as a result of the commission of the offence,


(a) the court may order the person to pay an additional fine in an amount equal to the court's estimation of the amount of the monetary benefits; and


(b) the additional fine may exceed the maximum amount of any fine that may otherwise be imposed pursuant to this Act.


36A (1) In a prosecution for an offence under this Act or the regulations, it is sufficient proof of the offence to establish that it was committed by an employee or agent of the accused, whether or not the employee or agent is identified or has been prosecuted for the offence, unless the accused establishes that the offence was committed without the knowledge or consent of the accused.


(2) Where a corporation commits an offence under this Act or the regulations, any officer, director or agent of the corporation who directed, authorized, assented to, acquiesced in or participated in the violation of this Act or the regulations is guilty of the offence and is liable to the punishment provided for the offence, whether or not the corporation has been prosecuted.


(3) Unless otherwise provided in this Act, no person shall be convicted of an offence under this Act or the regulations if the person establishes that the person exercised all due diligence to prevent the commission of the offence.


36B Where a person is convicted of an offence, the court may, in addition to any punishment imposed and having regard to the nature of the offence and the circumstances surrounding its commission, make an order containing one or more of the following prohibitions, directions or requirements:


(a) prohibiting the person from doing any act or engaging in any activity that could, in the opinion of the court, result in the continuation or repetition of the offence;


(b) directing the person to take any action that the court considers appropriate to remedy or to prevent any adverse effect that resulted or may result from the commission of the offence;


(c) directing the person to post a bond or to pay into court an amount of money that the court considers appropriate for the purpose of ensuring compliance with any prohibition, direction or requirement pursuant to this Section.


36C (1) Proceedings by way of summary conviction in respect of an offence under this Act or the regulations may not be commenced more than two years after the later of


(a) the date on which the offence was committed; or


(b) the date on which evidence of the offence first came to the attention of the Minister.


(2) A document purporting to have been issued by the Minister certifying the day on which the Minister became aware of evidence of the offence is admissible without proof of the signature or the official character of the individual appearing to have signed the document and, in the absence of evidence to the contrary, is proof of the matter certified.


8 Section 40 of Chapter 179, as amended by Chapter 18 of the Acts of 1992, is further amended by


(a) striking out clause (d); and


(b) striking out clause (j) and substituting the following clauses:


(j) prescribing methods and standards for sustainable forest management practices to protect wildlife habitats, watercourses, wetlands and other significant resources and requiring compliance with the prescribed methods and standards;


(k) determining the form and manner of registration of buyers of forest products in the Province;


(l) determining the statistical information respecting forest products required to be filed with the Minister by a buyer of forest products, including information respecting the volumes of forest products processed, imported, exported, sold or acquired;


(m) prescribing the categories or classes of buyers of forest products and who is required to submit a wood acquisition plan;


(n) prescribing the information required to be included in a wood acquisition plan and the monitoring of a wood acquisition plan;


(o) prescribing the options for sustainable acquisition of forest products that may be considered in approving a wood acquisition plan;


(p) prescribing records or reports to be kept or made by a buyer of forest products in the Province;


(q) respecting the operation and administration of the Sustainable Forestry Fund;


(r) prescribing information required to be provided respecting industrial forest harvesting operations;


(s) exempting persons or classes of persons from the requirements of this Act or the regulations;


(t) defining any word or expression used but not defined in this Act;


(u) respecting any matter necessary or advisable to effectively carry out the intent and purpose of this Act.


9 This Act comes into force on such day as the Governor in Council orders and declares by proclamation.


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