On July 25, 2023, the Office of the BC Auditor General released a performance report following up on previous ministry audits in 2019, 2020 and 2021. For each audit the Auditor General supplied recommendations to improve ministry performance. This follow-up report notes what percentage of those recommendations have been implemented as of now.
In this time of drought, heat, wildfires and violence, the poor performance of some BC ministries is cause for alarm as BC citizens face the fact that their government has basically abandoned them.
Protection of Drinking Water — 75% incomplete
This audit was done jointly for the Ministry of Health, Office of the Provincial Health Officer, and the Ministry of Water Land and Resource Stewardship. The latter was formed to “disaggregate” the Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource and Rural development created as a “super ministry” by former BC premier Gordon Campbell.It was noted that the Ministry of Water Land and Resource Stewardship is supposed to be developing a “source to tap” strategy, not yet implemented.
Outside of the OAG report, it has been noted that the Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource and Rural development has been responsible for destruction and deterioration of watersheds in BC, as pointed out in 2019. And the BC Ministry of Energy and Mines has also allowed destruction of watersheds, notably permitting an aggregate mine over a community aquifer. The influence of climate change on mine waste practices has also been pointed out repeatedly. Something else to look forward to, though even now, the U.S. keeps requesting BC to clean up the pollution flowing over the border.
BC Oil & Gas Commission’s Oversight of Non-operating Oil & Gas Sites — 55% incomplete
This Crown Corporation regulates BC oil and gas activities. Inactive sites have been found to emit typically underestimated amounts of methane, thus contributing to Climate Change.The government website devoted to this cleanup describes reclamation “within 10 years of their designation”.
Management of the Conservation Lands Program — 100% incomplete
Oversight of Dam Safety in British Columbia — 89% incomplete
Management of Forest Service Roads — 78% incomplete
These audits are grouped together because all were investigating the Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource and Rural development, which was clearly not interested. According to the website for Ministry of Water Land and Resource Stewardship, the stewardship ministry has now taken over some of the forestry ministry’s neglected work and ” is accountable for all or key parts of the Environment and Land Use Act, Flathead Watershed Area Conservation Act, Forest and Range Practices Act, Land Act, Ministry of Environment Act, Ministry of Forests and Range Act, Muskwa-Kechika Management Area Act, Skagit Environmental Enhancement Act, Water Protection Act, Water Sustainability Act, and Wildlife Act.”
The stewardship ministry appears to be continuing to shoot wolves using caribou recovery as an excuse.
Beyond the audit data, we see news that the stewardship ministry appears to be continuing the New Democratic Party (according to some the Nature Destroying Party) priority to subvert biodiversity to industry profits while simultaneously suggesting an ecological watchdog on all ministries.
Oversight for Contracted Services for Children and Youth in Care — 100% incomplete
This BC government abandonment of the most vulnerable was revealed graphically on media describing the horrific torture of two Indigenous kids in care and the resulting murder of one of them. It was discovered that social workers had neglected their supervision. This after the ministry tried to withdraw services for autistic children into a (more convenient for the ministry?) “hub”. While staff involved were fired, the minister refuses to resign defying resignation calls from First Nations and others. Examining the follow up audit, it appears the minister’s strategy is to agree with actions suggested and then do nothing. The current premier supports her.