Farm Practice: Complaints Process

Under the Farm Practices Protection (Right to Farm) Act (FPPA) BCFIRB may hear complaints from persons aggrieved by odour, noise, dust or other disturbances arising from farm operations.

For example, a person living beside a farm may be disturbed by on-going strong odours arising from a livestock operations manure management and file a complaint with BCFIRB.

For farmers, neighbours, local governments, and the public, BCFIRB is an impartial body that can determine whether a farmer is following “normal farm practice.”

Where it is suitable, BCFIRB promotes early dispute resolution through mediation, facilitation or other processes.  At any time during the complaint process, on its own initiative or at the request of a party, BCFIRB may require the parties to participate in a mandatory facilitated settlement to explore the potential for resolving one or more issues in dispute settlement of all or part of the complaint.

If a settlement is not reached, the parties involved (the neighbour filing the complaint, farmer, knowledgeable persons, industry representatives, witnesses) will be given the opportunity to present their information to a panel of BCFIRB members.

After the hearing process, a BCFIRB panel will either:

  • Dismiss the complaint if the farm operation is determined to be following normal farm practices, or
  • Order the farmer to stop or change their practices if the farm operation is deemed not to be following normal farm practices.

BCFIRB decisions are final and conclusive but may be appealed to the Supreme Court of British Columbia.

BCFIRB processes and procedures can be reviewed by the B.C. Office of the Ombudsperson, providing an additional layer of accountability.

BCFIRB does not have an enforcement role in regards to decisions made under the FPPA; however there are other avenues through which BCFIRB decisions can be enforced.