Complaint FAQs

If you are aggrieved by odour, noise, dust or other disturbance resulting from a farm operation conducted as part of a farm business as defined by the Farm Practices Protection (Right to Farm) Act, you can file a complaint with BCFIRB

The BCFIRB decision Feehan v Ferguson (page 11) discusses what it means to be aggrieved.. If you are unsure of whether your complaint means you are aggrieved, contact BCFIRB.

Click here for visual Farm Practices Complaint Process Flow Chart

To file a complaint, complete the application form and submit by mail or courier, along with a non-refundable $100 filing fee payable by cheque or money order to the Ministry of Finance.

The notice of complaint must be in writing and must contain

  • A statement (with as much detail as possible) of the nature of the complaint,
  • The name and address of the person making the application,
  • The name and address of the farmer, and
  • The location of the farm.

There is no time limit on filing a complaint. However, it is usually better to do so as soon as possible after you identify a disturbance.

A complaint may be refused by BCFIRB if:

  • The subject matter is trivial,
  • The application is frivolous or vexatious or is not made in good faith, or
  • The person making the complaint does not have sufficient personal interest in the subject of the complaint (for example, they cannot smell the odours from where they live).

For example, see the BCFIRB decision Ofiesh, Elving & Knapp v Beckwith Farms (PDF; September 2, 2011).

BCFIRB cannot accept multi-party complaints (one Notice of Complaint submitted by several people). Each person must submit a separate Notice of Complaint.

For example, see the BCFIRB decision Miller v Panoramic Farms - Multi-Party Ruling Preliminary Decision (PDF; January 8, 2009).

A farm business is one in which one or more defined farm operations are conducted and includes a farm education or farm research institution conducts one or more farm operations. 

For example, see the BCFIRB dismissal decision Cartwright v Quitzau - Summary Dismissal (PDF)

A farm operation can include the following activities:

  • Growing or raising plants (including in greenhouses) and animals (including certain types of exotics)
  • Clearing, draining, irrigating or cultivating land
  • Using farm machinery, equipment, devices, materials and structures
  • Applying fertilizers, manure, pesticides and biological control agents (including ground and air spraying)
  • Cultivating specialty wood or fibre crops
  • Producing turf
  • Carrying on an aquaculture operation
  • Raising or keeping game
  • Raising or keeping fur-bearing animals
  • Processing or direct farm marketing.

A farm operation does not include an activity (other than grazing or hay cutting) if it:

  • Is a forest practice as defined in the Forest and Range Practices Act
  • Breeds pets or operates a kennel
  • Grows, produces, raises or keeps exotic animals, except types of exotic animals prescribed by the Minister of Agriculture.

For example, see the BCFIRB dismissal decision Hodge v Eben (PDF), which discusses the meaning of farm business and farm operation.

If you are unsure if your complaint relates to a farm operation as part of a farm business, contact BCFIRB

Section 6 of the Farm Protection Act provides that a panel must dismiss a complaint if it is of the opinion that the odour, noise, dust or other disturbance results from a normal farm practice, and must order a farmer to cease the practice that causes the odour, noise, dust or other disturbance if it is not a normal farm practice, or to modify the practice in the manner set out in the order, to be consistent with normal farm practice.

Read more about Normal Farm Practice

The complaint process is governed by BCFIRB’s Rules of Practice and Procedure for Complaints under the FPPA (PDF). The purpose of these Practices and Procedures is to encourage fair, clear, consistent and efficient practice concerning complaints. BCFIRB strongly recommends you review these practices and procedures, as they outline your responsibilities and will help you navigate the complaint process. If you are involved in a complaint, you must proceed on the basis that these practices and procedures apply unless BCFIRB directs otherwise.

In most respects, these practices and procedures reflect practices adopted by BCFIRB over many years, and are consistent with the approach of various tribunals. BCFIRB has the right to generally add to, amend, or repeal any or all of these practices and procedures at any time, or to make any other procedural order it considers necessary.

Approved methods in which parties are to deliver documents to BCFIRB is outlined in the following practice directive:

Click here for visual Farm Practices Complaint Process Flow Chart


Contact BCFIRB