Resolving Concerns and
The Farm Practices Protection (Right to Farm) Act (FPPA)
was enacted to protect a farmer's right to farm in BC. Central to
the Act are improved means to resolve concerns and complaints
about farm practices associated with dust, odour, noise or other
||The process is intended
to resolve concerns in order to:
let farmers farm;
keep people out of court;
deal fairly with people's
concerns and complaints; and
deal with poor farm
practices when they might occur.
A person with a concern or complaint about farm practices has a
choice of engaging an informal or formal process to
address their issue.
As in the past, people with a concern about farm practices often
turn to their local government for information and advice. Steps
have been taken to provide improved information to local governments
about farm practices, including a farm practices guide.
Ministry of Agriculture and Lands
Ministry staff throughout the province represent an important
informal avenue that people can turn to when they have a concern
about a farm practice. Ministry staff have been dealing with these types
of inquiries for many years, but the FPPA provides additional focus
to these efforts.
In some areas of the province, peer advisors drawn from the farm
sector investigate nuisance concerns when requested to do so. An example of the peer advisory system is the BC Blueberry Council providing a Grower Liaison Officer in the Lower Mainland to address noise complaints regarding audible bird scare devices.
approaches to handling concerns may not always satisfactorily
resolve the situation. At any time in the process, a person may
direct their complaint to the Farm Industry Review Board.
Industry Review Board (FIRB)
The Farm Industry Review Board
(FIRB) is an independent body responsible for the general supervision of
BC's commodity marketing boards and commissions. FIRB is also
responsible for hearing appeals from decisions of those boards and
the mandate of the FPPA, the Board acts as a quasi-judicial body
empowered to hear complaints from persons that feel aggrieved by odour,
noise, dust or other disturbances from a farm.
Complaints are dealt with in a fair and equitable manner and the
Board provides a cost-effective alternative (for all parties) to the
court system. The Board may also study and report on farm practices.
For farmers, local governments, and the public, the FIRB is an
impartial body that can determine whether a farmer follows normal
farm practices. Where
possible, the FIRB uses various forms of alternative dispute
resolution processes to resolve issues by agreement without the need
for formal panel hearings. If these processes are not used or are
unsuccessful, a hearing is convened. After hearing a complaint, the FIRB must
(1) dismiss the complaint if the farm operation is determined
to be following normal farm practices; or (2) order the farm to cease or
modify its practices.
The FIRB's farm practices decisions may be appealed to the
Supreme Court of British Columbia, but only on a question of law or
The FIRB is accountable
to the provincial government for its administrative operations, but
is independent of government in its decision-making and farm practices functions. As an independent
tribunal, the Board ensures that the public interest is served and
Farm Industry Review Board