Energy, Mines and Resources

Fact Sheets

Compliance and enforcement in Yukon’s forests


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Why is compliance and enforcement important in Yukon’s forests?

Yukon’s forests play an important role in the cultural, social and economic lives of many Yukoners. Yukon forests also provide important habitat for wildlife, help prevent soil erosion, and store carbon. Compliance and enforcement is a significant part of managing our forests to ensure their long term health and ensure that we continue to realize the many benefits they provide.

Who is responsible for enforcing the legislation and conditions of using Yukon forests?

Compliance and enforcement of forest resource activities is primarily carried out by Government of Yukon natural resource officers who are designated forest officers under the Forest Resources Act. Officers are located in most Yukon communities and provide inspection, enforcement and client support services.

In carrying out their inspection and compliance duties natural resource officers may receive assistance from other agencies, such as the Forest Management Branch, Yukon’s Department of Environment, the RCMP or the Department of Fisheries and Oceans Canada.

It is important to note that all forest users are responsible for ensuring they are complying with applicable laws, regulations and the terms and conditions of their permits or licenses. To learn more about what you can and can not do in Yukon forests contact your local Compliance, Monitoring and Inspections office or view the Compliance and Enforcement Operational Policy and Procedures.

What actions could place me in non-compliance with the Forest Resources Act and regulation and which may lead to legal action being taken?

While any contravention of the Forest Resources Act or Forest Resources Regulation may result in an enforceable infraction, the following provide some examples that could lead to enforcement and/or legal action:

  • harvesting without an appropriate licence or permit;
  • failure to comply with the terms and conditions of a licence or permit;
  • failure to comply with an order or notice;
  • use of a forest resource road without authorization; or
  • transporting timber without a timber mark.

This is not meant to be a comprehensive list and other infractions do exist. It is your responsibility to ensure you are complying with applicable laws, regulations and the terms and conditions of your permits or licences.

Will my forest resource operation be inspected?

All permits/licences issued under the Forest Resources Act are subject to inspections by natural resource officers. Depending on the scale of the forest operation and the past performance of the operator, the complexity and the number of inspections occurring during the life of the licence/permit will vary.

Natural resources officers check harvesting areas to ensure individuals have the appropriate licences or permits. Natural resources officers also ensure that forest operators are harvesting in compliance with the terms and conditions of permits/licences, that environmental damage is not occurring, that any notices or orders are being followed with corrective action being taken and assisting the operator in staying compliant with the Forest Resources Act and regulation.

What penalties may I face if I am not in compliance?

Natural resources officers have several options to assist in meeting compliance and enforcement objectives including, but not limited to:

  • Working with the client to resolve issues;
  • Notices of non-compliance;
  • Fines under the Summary Conviction Regulations;
  • Ministerial, protection and director's orders; and
  • Termination, cancellation or suspension of a licence or permit.

Decisions on enforcement measures will be made taking into consideration the most appropriate tool necessary to obtain compliance, and when required, to promote general deterrence. For a full description of the tools above see the Forest Resources Act Compliance and Enforcement Policy.

Will I be given the opportunity to correct the issue prior to being penalized?

Depending on the severity of an infraction, a natural resource officer may initially provide instruction requesting compliance by the operator but can choose to move directly to other enforcement tools available under the Forest Resources Act. Regardless of the enforcement tool chosen, officers will attempt to work with individuals and businesses to resolve the issue and ensure future compliance.

Will I be required to appear in court for non-compliance?

You may be required to appear in court should legal charges or an injunction be initiated as a result of a violation. In addition, you may be required to appear in court in instances when a violation results in serious harm or risk to human life or health and/or the environment, or when attempts were made to conceal or obstruct the investigation of an offense.

Is there an appeal process?

Should they desire, license and permit holders have the ability under the Forest Resources Act  to appeal to the director of the Forest Management Branch if they have been issued an order or notice of noncompliance by a natural resource officer. If the case is subject to a decision from a legal court, normal judicial process would apply. For more information read Fact Sheet #9, contact your local Compliance, Monitoring & Inspections office, or view the Forest Resources Act Compliance and Enforcement Policy

Contact Us: 

Mile 918 Alaska Highway
Box 2703, Whitehorse, Yukon Y1A 2C6
Phone: 867.456.3999 / 1.800.661.0408 ext. 3999
Fax: 867.667.3138