Proposed regulation to prescribe the costs, expenses, losses and damages that a person responsible for causing a forest fire is liable for under the Forest Fires Prevention Act, 1990 and amendments to Part II Industrial Operations of Ontario Regulation 207/97: Outdoor Fires.
Regulation - LGIC
Bill or Act:
Forest Fires Prevention Act
Summary of Decision:
A decision was made to proceed with the proposal to prescribe the types of costs, expenses, losses and damages that the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry can recover from individuals or corporations responsible for causing forest fires. The proposal was implemented by Ontario Regulation 93/18: Recovery of Losses and Costs Due to Forest Fires under the Forest Fires Prevention Act.
Further to this, a decision was made to proceed with the proposal to make minor amendments to Part II - Industrial Operations of Ontario Regulation 207/96: Outdoor Fires. The proposal was implemented by an amendment to Ontario Regulation 207/96 by Ontario Regulation 94/18.
July 19, 2017
Summary of Proposal:
The Forest Fires Prevention Act (FFPA) establishes that a person who causes a forest fire is liable to the Crown for the costs and expenses of any action taken to control or extinguish the fire and any loss or damage incurred by the Crown as a result of the fire. The FFPA also provides the authority to prescribe those costs, expenses, losses and damages in regulation.
The proposed regulation is intended to clarify and make transparent the costs, expenses, losses, and damages that MNRF can already seek from responsible parties for fires they cause. The proposed regulation will not place any additional cost or requirements on the public or businesses.
The types of costs and expenses that MNRF currently invoices an individual or corporation for include:
Personnel costs for MNRF, out-of-province, or contracted firefighters, overhead, and support staff, including regular and overtime wages,
Aircraft costs including flight time, fuel, basing fees, and fire suppressants used in air tankers,
The cost of equipment such as vehicles, fire suppression and support equipment, including fuel for equipment, and
The costs of additional services including accommodations, transportation, food, medical, and telecommunications services.
Losses and damages that MNRF has sought to recover associated with forest fires include the value of:
Destroyed or damaged crown timber,
Destroyed or damaged silvicultural investments, and
Lost stumpage charges.
The Forest Fires Prevention Act, and as such the proposed regulation, only applies to the Fire Region as defined by regulation under the Act. This area excludes southern Ontario except for northern parts of Midhurst, Peterborough and Kemptville districts.
The proposed regulation would ensure any person or corporation who may cause a forest fire, is aware of the costs, expenses, losses and damages they would be liable for. The proposed regulation would also assist MNRF to efficiently recover those costs, expenses, losses and damages.
MNRF is also proposing the following amendments to the Part II - Industrial Operations of the Outdoor Fires Regulation (O. Reg. 207/96).
1. Update and reclassify the activity of conducting geophysical surveys from high risk to moderate or low risk, depending on the specific type of geophysical survey conducted, equipment used, and associated fire risk. Polarization surveys would be deemed to be moderate risk if conducted using a power generator and low risk if conducted using a battery. Electromagnetic surveys (using a power generator or battery) would be low risk.
Reclassifying these activities will reduce the fire prevention and work-modification requirements required under the regulation for these activities relative to associated risk of forest fires.
2. Amend the fire reporting requirements under sections 19 and 23 to exempt those fires that industrial operations suppress and extinguish themselves. Fires which pose a control problem for workers on site and for which MNRF resources may be required to suppress will still need to be reported to MNRF immediately.
Amending the fire reporting requirements for industrial operations would reduce the workload of the operators conducting the activity while continuing to provide MNRF with the essential information required for forest fire management.
Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry
Forest Fire Management Program Development Coordinator
70 Foster Drive, Suite 400
Sault Ste Marie, ON
April 1, 2018