Keywords: Wildlife Act – ss. 1(1) – definitions of “Indian,” “trapline,” 11, 42(1), 42(3), 45, 101; Wildlife Commercial Activities Regulation – ss. 3.13, 5; trapline re-registration; priority of rights; procedural fairness; tenancy in common
Ignace Burke, Julie Michel, and Lynn Michel appealed a decision of the Regional Manager to re-register a trapline near Fort Nelson, BC. The re-registration listed a number of people not included on the previous registration, listed 4 “Family Groups” and their “Head Persons,” and included a map which indicated sub-boundaries of the trapline, by family group. The Appellants sought an order reversing the re-registration and restoring the original registration, and a direction from the Board to the Oil and Gas Commission identifying Ignace Burke as a primary contact person for the trapline.
The Board found that the Regional Manager had the statutory authority to add individuals to the trapline and re-register it, but did not have the authority to divide the trapline into sub-boundaries and allocate those sub-boundaries amongst the Family Groups. Therefore, the Board found that the map attached to the registration had no legal effect. The Board also determined that the Regional Manager failed to provide the Appellants with sufficient notice of the hearing he conducted prior to making his decision, and failed to give the Appellants a proper opportunity to be heard. Therefore, the Regional Manager breached some of the principles of procedural fairness. Furthermore, the Board found that the changes made to the list of registered holders were based on erroneous information, and could not be upheld. With regard to the naming of “Head Persons” as contact persons for the trapline, the Board found that the Regional Manager erroneously concluded that the families had reached an agreement to identify the Head Persons as contact. The Board concluded that each person registered on the trapline is entitled to notice of any resource developments that may affect the trapline. However, the Board noted that the registered trapline holders may agree amongst themselves to designate a few persons as contacts.
The Board allowed the appeal, reversed the decision of the Regional Manager, and restored the previous registration of the trapline.