• Michael Bjorn Sorensen v. Regional Manager

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    Decision Date: February 16, 2010

    Panel: Loreen Williams

    Keywords:  Wildlife Act – s. 70(1)(a); Permit Regulation – s. 16(2)(b)(ii); Firearm Act – s. 9(1); Offence Act – ss. 14(11), 17; permit; accompany non-resident hunter in guide area; violation ticket

    Michael Bjorn Sorensen appealed a decision of the Regional Manager, Environmental Stewardship Division, Skeena Region, Ministry of Environment (the “Ministry”), denying Mr. Sorensen’s application for a permit authorizing him to accompany a non-resident hunter while hunting for big game. Mr. Sorensen sought the permit so that he could take his uncle, who is from Sweden, on a hunting trip in BC. The Regional Manager denied his application on the grounds that, under section 16(2)(b)(ii) of the Permit Regulation, Mr. Sorensen was not eligible for such a permit for three years from the date of his conviction for an offence under section 9 of the Firearm Act. The offence occurred in 2008, when Mr. Sorensen was issued a violation ticket for carrying a loaded firearm in the cab of a truck.

    Mr. Sorensen appealed on the basis that the three-year prohibition was unduly harsh. He submitted that he had accepted responsibility for the violation by paying a fine, rather than contesting it. He requested that the Board reduce the period to two years, so that he could apply for a permit for the 2011 hunting season.

    The Board considered whether it has authority to abridge the three-year period of ineligibility set out in the Permit Regulation. In particular, the Board considered whether Mr. Sorensen had “been convicted of an offence” under the Firearm Act, given that he had paid a fine set out in to a violation ticket. In that regard, the Board reviewed the language in sections 14 and 17 of the Offence Act. The Board concluded that, under those provisions, Mr. Sorensen’s payment of the fine was deemed to constitute a guilty plea, which amounts to a conviction of the offence. The Board also held that, although Mr. Sorensen may not have realized the consequences of paying the fine, the Board has no discretion to ignore or modify the three-year period of ineligibility set out in the Permit Regulation, or the requirement in section 70(1)(a) of the Wildlife Act to meet the qualifications set out in that regulation.

    Accordingly, the Board confirmed the Regional Manager’s decision. The appeal was dismissed.