• Alvie Rema v. Deputy Director of Wildlife

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    Decision Date: October 18, 1999

    Panel: Toby Vigod

    Keywords: Wildlife Act – ss. 24, 27; Wildlife Act General Regulation – ss. 7.01, 7.02; hunting; baiting; cancellation of hunting licence; reasonable apprehension of bias

    Alvie Rema appealed a decision of the Deputy Director cancelling Mr. Rema’s hunting and firearm licences for three years and requiring that he successfully complete the Conservation and Outdoor Recreation Education (CORE) program before his licence could be reinstated. He was also required to deliver his B.C. Resident Hunter Number Card to the Deputy Director. These actions were taken after Mr. Rema was found to have committed several hunting and firearms violations.

    Mr. Rema submitted that the length of the suspension was inordinate and vindictive considering the offence and the fact that his conviction on one of the charges was overturned on appeal. He also submitted that there were other factors that the Deputy Director did not consider in making his decision, and that these points raised a reasonable apprehension of bias.

    The Panel cited the test for bias as set out in the 1978 Supreme Court of Canada decision in Committee for Justice and Liberty v. National Energy Board, and found that it was satisfied that the Deputy Director was not biased in making his decision. The Panel also found that Mr. Rema had set bait for the purpose of hunting wolves and not bears. The Panel therefore found that the Deputy Director properly considered all but one of the relevant factors in making his decision. These factors were the offence of discharging a firearm from a motor vehicle, drinking while hunting, and being in the presence of two youths during these actions. The Panel found that the fact that Mr. Rema was hunting for bear in an area where a decomposing goat had been placed, as wolf bait, should not have been considered.

    With regard to the period of the license cancellation, the Panel found that the Deputy Director may consider charges even if a court finds the individual concerned to be not guilty or stays those charges, and that the range for licence cancellation is circumscribed by the other periods in the regulations. The Panel also reviewed precedents in similar previous cases before the Board and found that the licence suspension period of three years was excessive in this case. The Panel found that 2 years was an appropriate suspension, and upheld the Deputy Director’s order that Mr. Rema successfully complete the CORE program before his hunting and firearm privileges could be reinstated.