• North Peace Clean Air Association v. Director of Waste Management

    Decision Date:
    File Numbers:
    Decision Numbers:
    Third Party:
    Canfor-LP OSB (G.P.) Corp., Third Party


    Decision Date: September 13, 2006

    Panel: Alan Andison

    Keywords: Environmental Management Act – s. 100(1); standing; person aggrieved

    Brian Ruddell appealed the decision of a delegate of the Director to issue a permit to Canfor-LP OSB (G.P.) Corp. (“Canfor”) to discharge contaminants to the air from an oriented strandboard manufacturing facility (the “OSB facility”) located near the Fort St. John Airport.  Mr. Ruddell appealed on his own behalf and on behalf of the North Peace Clean Air Association (the “NPCAA”).

    Mr. Ruddell appealed on the basis that the Director had failed to fully recognize the negative effects that water vapour emissions from the OSB facility would have on aviation, highways, and roads due to fog and ice conditions.

    Canfor challenged Mr. Ruddell’s standing to appeal under section 100(1) of the Environmental Management Act (the “Act”) as “a person aggrieved by a decision of a director.”  Consequently, the Board requested submissions on the issue of Mr. Ruddell’s standing to appeal.

    Mr. Ruddell submitted that he was an “aggrieved person” within the meaning of the Act and that he should be accorded standing to appeal.  He submitted that his interests in the appeal derive from his volunteer search and rescue work, whereby he acts as an air spotter on search and rescue missions out of St. John.  He also submitted that he lives approximately 2½ miles from the OSB facility and that he was concerned about icing on roads near his home and the airport.

    Canfor submitted that Mr. Ruddell had not disclosed sufficient evidence to show that he would be prejudicially affected by ice and fog allegedly caused by emissions from the OSB facility.  Further, even if there were such evidence, there was insufficient evidence to establish that Mr. Ruddell would be more personally affected than other members of the public.  Canfor submitted an affidavit from the zone commander of the Civil Air Search and Rescue Association which indicated that Mr. Ruddell was not on the list of member volunteers who are eligible to be called out on air-based search and rescue missions.

    The Board accepted Canfor’s evidence that Mr. Ruddell would not be called out to assist with an air-based search and rescue operation.  It found no evidence that Mr. Ruddell would suffer any personal prejudice if fogging or icing were to occur at the Fort St. John Airport or on nearby roads and highways.  Mr. Ruddell had not adduced any evidence that the permit would directly affect his income or livelihood, that his personal health or welfare, or that of his family, would be affected by exposure to the emissions, or that he would suffer some other prejudice.  In these circumstances, the Board found that Mr. Ruddell had failed to meet the test of a “person aggrieved”.  Thus, the Board found that Mr. Ruddell’s stated interests were too remote and speculative to support granting standing under section 100 of the Act.

    The Board also addressed the NPCAA’s standing to appeal.  Canfor submitted that the NPCAA is not a “person aggrieved” because it is an unincorporated society and is not a “person” within the meaning of the Interpretation Act.  It further submitted that, while organizations such as the NPCAA may be able to participate in an appeal, they can only do so where members of the organization have standing to appeal in their own right.

    Mr. Ruddell conceded that the NPCAA’s standing to appeal derived from the standing of its members.

    The Board found that the NPCAA is a “collection of individuals” and is not a legal person.  Mr. Ruddell had no greater interest in the subject matter of the appeal in his capacity as a representative of the NPCAA than he did in his personal capacity.  Thus, the Panel found that the NPCAA had no standing to file the appeal, and that Mr. Ruddell had no standing to file an appeal on behalf of the NPCAA.

    Accordingly, the appeal was dismissed for lack of jurisdiction.