Decision Date: July 12, 2012
Panel: Gabriella Lang
Keywords: Wildlife Act – ss. 19, 101.1(5)(c); Permit Regulation – ss. 3(2)(a), 5(1)(b); Motor Vehicle Prohibition Regulation – ss. 2, 3; permit; access management area; disabled hunter; duty to accommodate
Larry Hall appealed a decision issued by the Regional Manager, Kootenay-Boundary Region, Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations, denying Mr. Hall’s application for a permit. Mr. Hall, a disabled hunter, sought a permit for the 2011/12 hunting season that would allow him to use a motor vehicle to hunt in an access management area that is otherwise closed to motor vehicles. The Regional Manager denied Mr. Hall’s application on the basis that the area is important wildlife habitat, and allowing vehicle access could cause noxious weeds to spread in the area. Instead, the Regional Manager issued Mr. Hall a permit for a different area.
In the appeal, Mr. Hall submitted that the alternate area was unsuitable for him as a disabled hunter and offered poorer hunting opportunities than the area he had requested. He also submitted that the Regional Manager’s concerns about noxious weeds were unjustified, and the Regional Manager had failed to accommodate him in violation of the B.C. Human Rights Code. Mr. Hall requested that the Board issue him a permit for the requested area for the 2012/13 hunting season. The appeal hearing concluded after the 2011/12 hunting season has expired.
The Board found that the appealed decision was with regard to Mr. Hall’s application for the 2011/12 hunting season. The Board found that such permits are applied for on an annual basis, and the Board’s powers on appeal do not include making decisions about future matters that are not part of the decision under appeal. The Board held, therefore, that it had no jurisdiction to issue Mr. Hall a permit for the 2012/13 hunting season, and in any case, it did not have the relevant information to make a decision about the 2012/13 hunting season.
Next, the Board considered whether the Regional Manager failed to accommodate Mr. Hall as a disabled hunter contrary to the Human Rights Code. Although the Board’s conclusion on the first issue made it unnecessary to decide this issue, the Board provided guidance to the parties for future permit applications. The Board found that the Regional Manager was aware of his duty to accommodate disabled hunters, he made his decision based on site-specific information and conservation concerns, and he approved an alternate area for Mr. Hall.
Accordingly, the Board dismissed the appeal.