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Filing a Farm Practices Complaint with the British Columbia Farm Industry Review Board

Click here to file a Complaint

The Farm Practices Protection (Right to Farm) Act (the Act) creates a process to resolve the concerns of the public who have complaints about odour, noise, dust or other disturbances arising from a farm operation. Usually, someone can contact their local BC Ministry of Agriculture and Lands office and ministry staff will offer a quick, efficient and reasonable resolution to a concern. Often peer advisors – farmers and ranchers familiar with the farm practice in question – play an important role in such a resolution.

British Columbia Farm Industry Review Board

Those who do not wish to use or are not satisfied with the outcome of the informal ministry process, may file a formal complaint. The British Columbia Farm Industry Review Board (BCFIRB) will make a determination as to whether the odour, noise, dust or other disturbance results from a normal farm practice.

What is BCFIRB?

Established under the Act, BCFIRB is the statutory body responsible for providing a fair and equitable process for resolving farm practices disputes out of court. BCFIRB consists of up to 10 members, appointed by provincial government, who represent both farming and non-farming interests in the province. BCFIRB may hear complaints about farm operations under s.3 of the Act or, under s.11 of the Act, study, report on, and make recommendations concerning any matter related to farm practices.

The members of BCFIRB have the powers, privileges and protections of a commissioner under the Inquiry Act. BCFIRB reports directly to the Minister of Agriculture and Lands.

What can BCFIRB do about my complaint?

If what the farmer is doing is NOT normal farm practice, BCFIRB can order the farmer to cease or modify the practice.

The Settlement Process

Many complaints to BCFIRB are resolved without going to hearing. The settlement process is a low-key and cooperative way by which BCFIRB works with the parties to achieve a “neighbourly” solution to the problem. The complete process is described in the material that is forwarded to the parties after a complaint is filed.

How long do I have to file a notice of complaint?

There is no time limit to filing a complaint with BCFIRB, however, it is usually better to do so as soon as possible after you identify a disturbance. A complaint may be refused if the subject matter is trivial, the application is frivolous or vexatious or the person making the complaint does not have sufficient personal interest in the subject of the complaint.

Do I need legal counsel?

Only if you want or think you need it. It is your decision to make, and you will be responsible for paying your own lawyer.

Where do I send the complaint?

Click here to access the online form. You may fill and print the form and send to:

Attention:  Case Manager
British Columbia Farm Industry Review Board
PO Box 9129 Stn Prov Govt
Victoria BC  V8W 9B5

or by courier to:
780 Blanshard St
Victoria BC  V8W 2H1

What must I include in the notice of complaint?

The notice must be in writing and 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. The notice of complaint must be accompanied by a $100.00 filing fee. Cheques or money orders should be made out to the "Minister of Finance". This filing fee is non‑refundable.

What happens after I file a complaint with BCFIRB?

BCFIRB will send you a letter acknowledging the receipt of your complaint. This letter will also contain information that explains the complaint process in greater detail. At the same time, BCFIRB will notify the farmer that a complaint has been filed and provide the same background information. The farmer will also be given a copy of your notice of complaint.

How can I get more information?

The Act further describes BCFIRB and the complaint process. Your local BC Ministry of Agriculture and Lands office will also have information.

Should you have any questions, please feel free to contact BCFIRB. Click here for contact information.