• Fernie Corbel v. Regional Manager

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    Decision Date:  December 2, 2013

    Panel:  Ken Long

    Keywords: Wildlife Act – s. 19; Wildlife Act Permit Regulation – ss. 2(p), 6(1)(d), 6(2); permit; right of property; dead wildlife; wolverine

    Fernie Corbel appealed a decision of the Regional Manager, Recreational Fisheries and Wildlife Programs, Skeena Region, Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations (the “Ministry”), denying his application for a permit transferring the right of property in a dead wolverine from the government to Mr. Corbel.

    Under section 2(2) of the Wildlife Act, ownership in all wildlife is vested in the government, and a person does not acquire a right of property in any wildlife except in accordance with the Wildlife Act. Mr. Corbel found the dead wolverine on a road. The wolverine was an adult in good condition. He applied for the permit under section 2(p) of the Wildlife Act Permit Regulation (the “Regulation”), because he wanted to keep the wolverine for personal use.

    The Regional Manager denied Mr. Corbel’s permit application on the basis that the value of the wolverine is greater than $200. Section 6(1)(d) of the Regulation prohibits the issuance of a permit transferring the right of property in dead wildlife with a value greater than $200, unless one of the exceptions in the Regulation applies; i.e., the wildlife is received in exchange for work performed for the government, or the permit is sought on behalf of a charitable organization or for educational or scientific purposes. Under section 6(2) of the Regulation, the value of the wildlife is determined based on the average price that the government receives at auction for wildlife of the particular species, of similar size and in similar condition. The Regional Manager determined that the average price the government received at auction for an adult wolverine in average condition for the period from 2005 through to 2007 was greater than $200, and none of the exceptions in the Regulation applied.

    Mr. Corbel appealed the Regional Manager’s decision to the Board on several grounds, including that he did not want his permit application fee and appeal fee to be wasted, he was willing to perform work for the government in exchange for the wolverine, and no government auction occurred in the Skeena Region in 2012 and none was planned for the near future. He also submitted that, if he obtained a permit for the wolverine, it would help future generations appreciate wolverines.

    The Regional Manager opposed the appeal, and provided evidence regarding the auction value of a whole wolverine and six wolverine hides.

    Based on the Regional Manager’s evidence, the Board found that between 2005 and 2012, one whole dead wolverine was sold at auction for $275, and six wolverine hides were sold for an average price of $219. Consequently, the Board held that the average value of wolverines sold at auctions was greater than $200, and therefore, section 6(2) of the Regulation limits the circumstances in which a permit for the wolverine may be issued to Mr. Corbel under section 2(p) of the Regulation. The Board also found that none of the exceptions to the $200 value limit applied in this case, because Mr. Corbel sought the permit for personal use, and there was no evidence that he was acting on behalf of an educational institution or scientific organization. Although Mr. Corbel expressed a willingness to do work for the government in exchange for the wolverine, the Board found that any such work would apply to a future permit application, and not the present application.

    Consequently, the Board confirmed the Regional Manager’s decision to deny Mr. Corbel’s permit application. In regard to Mr. Corbel’s permit application fee, the Board noted that the Regional Manager advised that the fee was not processed.

    Finally, the Board expressed concern that the auction prices that the Ministry relies on to determine wildlife values under section 6(2) of the Regulation will lose relevancy over time if no further auctions occur, and the auction data becomes increasingly outdated.

    The appeal was dismissed.