Auditor general report on mining sector: BCGEU calls for expanded resources

The BC Government and Service Employees’ Union (BCGEU) is calling on the B.C. Government to allocate additional resources to boost staffing for regulation and enforcement in the Ministry of Energy and Mines and the Ministry of Environment.

The call comes in response to today’s comprehensive report from B.C. Auditor General Carol Bellringer, entitled, An Audit of Compliance and Enforcement of the Mining Sector.     

Bellringer concluded the ministries are failing when it comes to a robust compliance and enforcement program. She also identified gaps in resources and planning in both ministries. She found monitoring and inspections of mines were inadequate to ensure operators were complying with regulations.

For years, the BCGEU has identified as problematic, the limited resources allotted to the regulatory activities of monitoring, compliance and enforcement in these ministries.

“In meetings with ministers and public statements, the BCGEU has been calling for an increase in resources since the 2014 Mount Polley dam disaster, when the tailings pond breached and sent 25 million cubic metres of waste into nearby waterways,” said BCGEU president Stephanie Smith. “If this report isn’t a wake-up call for the need for increased staffing and other resources, I don’t know what is.”

The BCGEU represents over 800 members in the two ministries. The union is studying Bellringer’s report and expects to have a more detailed response in the coming days.