Decision Date: April 22, 2014
Panel: Alan Andison
Keywords: Wildlife Act – ss. 51, 60; guide outfitter; moose; quota; allocation; policy application; no evidence
Chris Condie appealed the decision of the Regional Manager, Recreational Fisheries and Wildlife Program, Cariboo Region, Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations (the “Ministry”), with respect to the quota and allocation of moose issued with his 2013-14 guiding licence. Mr. Condie is a guide outfitter operating in a guide territory located in the Cariboo Region of British Columbia. He guides hunters who pay to take part in a hunt for particular species of wildlife.
Mr. Condie’s annual guide outfitter licences are issued with a one-year quota and a five-year allocation, which specify the maximum number of individuals of a specific wildlife species that Mr. Condie’s clients may kill within the guide outfitter’s territory.
In a decision dated January 16, 2013, the Regional Manager issued Mr. Condie’s licence with a quota of three moose for 2013-14 licence year and an allocation of 11 moose for the four years remaining in the five-year period of 2012-2016. Mr. Condie appealed this decision on the grounds that the Regional Manager incorrectly applied Ministry policy in assigning his allocation and quota, and “failed to utilize all means and methods at his disposal to meet his fiduciary responsibilities as defined by Ministry Policy”. However, Mr. Condie did not explain which policies were allegedly breached or misapplied by the Regional Manager, or what means or methods should have been used to assign his allocation and quota.
Mr. Condie sought an order from the Board increasing his quota and allocation for moose to a level equal to, or greater than, his pre-2008 levels, “subject only to conservation concerns”. However, Mr. Condie did not provide any information or evidence about his past quotas and allocations, or the number of moose that he was requesting when he referred to pre-2008 levels.
The Regional Manager opposed the appeal, and provided detailed submissions in support of his decision. The Regional Manager submitted that Mr. Condie’s quota and allocation were determined in accordance with the Ministry’s new harvest and allocation policies and procedures. A detailed description of the method used to determine the quota and allocation was provided. The Regional Manager further submitted that increasing a guide’s quota risks overharvest, infringement of Aboriginal hunting rights, and unfairness to guides who have not appealed.
The Board noted that sections 51 and 60 of the Wildlife Act, respectively, provide the Regional Manager with discretion in issuing guide outfitter licences and attaching yearly species quotas as conditions of those licences. This discretion is exercised within a “sustainable use” framework that is established by various Ministry documents.
The Board confirmed that, in an appeal, the appellant has the ultimate burden of proving his or her case on a balance of probabilities. To meet this burden, the appellant is obliged to lead some evidence that either the order made was wrong in law or fact, or that the process leading to the order was flawed in some way. The Board held that it is not enough to come to the Board with a mere complaint that the appellant did not like the decision that was made.
The Board found that Mr. Condie did not meet the burden of proof in this case. The Board could not determine whether Mr. Condie had a legitimate concern with the decision, as Mr. Condie provided no information, let alone evidence, that the Regional Manager erred, or that the remedy sought was justified in the circumstances. Although the Board could have dismissed the case on the basis of no evidence, it considered the Regional Manager’s decision-making process.
The Board found no basis to vary Mr. Condie’s quota or allocation based on the Regional Manager’s decision-making process. The Board could not find any clear errors in the Regional Manager’s calculation, or any improper consideration that would warrant a change in the quota or allocation. Nor could the Board find any legal flaw in the decision or decision-making process sufficient to conclude that the Regional Manager should have made another decision.
Accordingly, the appeal was dismissed.