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Conservation Officer Act Takes Effect

by ahnationtalk on September 30, 2015616 Views

September 30, 2015

Service Awards Presented: Minister Nevakshonoff

The Manitoba government has proclaimed the Conservation Officer Act, recognizing conservation officers as law enforcement officers and giving them the powers of peace officers, Conservation and Water Stewardship Minister Tom Nevakshonoff announced today.

“The protection of people and the environment is a big responsibility, and conservation officers deserve to have their jobs clearly defined,” said Minister Nevakshonoff. “The proclamation of this legislation will support officers in their work across the province.”

The legislation changes the designation from natural resource officers to conservation officers. The legislation also sets out provisions for the development of formal training and qualification requirements to meet legislated standards, as well as establishing a formal complaints process.

Since the 1940s, officers have enforced resource-based legislation relating to wildlife, forestry, parks, Crown lands and wildfires. They find poachers, issue summonses, conduct investigations and testify in court.

The minister also presented the Conservation Officer Community Service Award and the Wildland Firefighter of the Year Award.

“Every day, throughout Manitoba, our employees work hard to make our province a better place to live and work,” the minister added. “Today, we are honoured to recognize two of those public servants whose contributions have gone above and beyond the call of duty, both on the job and in their communities.”

The 2014 Conservation Officer Community Service Award was presented to Dwayne Strate, who has served as a natural resource officer in communities across the province, including Snow Lake, Norway House, Brandon, Grand Rapids and his final assignment in Swan River. Recently retired, the minister noted Strate was a valuable mentor to other staff by sharing his vast experience and helping train many junior officers.

Wherever he was posted, Strate took an active role in the community, volunteering as a coach for hockey and softball, serving on local community boards and helping his community in numerous other ways.

The 2014 Manitoba Wildland Firefighter Award was presented to Dennis Hatch, who has worked in the community of Sherridon/Cold Lake since 1981. As the Cold Lake Fire Ranger, he is known for his professionalism, strong communication skills, expertise as a supervisor and commitment to the job. The minister noted his concern for the safety of his staff also distinguished him throughout his career, adding his dedication does not end with the fire season, as he has frequently assisted natural resource officers in the fall and winter months and even built many of the patrol cabins currently used by officers in the district.

The minister noted Hatch’s commitment to his community, having served as a mayor, councillor and deputy chair of the Cold Lake School committee. He is also a member of several local organizations and has been a volunteer firefighter for 36 years.

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