Decision Date: March 2, 2016
Panel: Norman Yates
Keywords: Wildlife Act – ss. 51(3), 59(3); guide outfitter licence; guiding territory certificate; Indian reserve
James Darin Wiens appealed a decision of the Regional Manager, Recreational Fisheries and Wildlife Programs, Thompson/Okanagan Region, Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations (the “Ministry”), to issue a guide outfitter licence to Aaron Stelkia for an area of land that, according to Mr. Wiens, fell within his guiding territory, in which he had exclusive rights to act as a guide outfitter. Mr. Wiens argued that Mr. Stelkia should not have been licensed to operate as a guide outfitter in part of his guiding territory without Mr. Wiens’ consent, in accordance with section 51(3) of the Wildlife Act.
The area in question included part of the Osoyoos/Inkaneep Indian Reserve. Mr. Stelkia had held a guide outfitter’s licence covering the Reserve since the late 1980s. Mr. Wiens, or his father before him, had held a guide outfitter’s licence covering the area specified in his guiding territory certificate for at least three decades. However, the issue of a possible overlap in their territories had not arisen before.
The Board considered whether the Reserve was within Mr. Wiens’ guiding territory, such that his consent was required before the Regional Manager could issue a guide outfitter’s licence authorizing Mr. Stelkia to guide within the Reserve, pursuant to section 51(3) of the Wildlife Act.
Based on document evidence, the Board found that the original decision to allow guided hunting on the Reserve through a guide outfitter licence was made in or about 1987, by an agreement between the Osoyoos Indian Band and the Ministry. In August 1987, the Osoyoos Indian Band Council enacted a by-law which contemplates the issuance by the Band Council of a sheep hunting permit within the Reserve. Mr. Stelkia held a sheep hunting permit issued by the Osoyoos Indian Band Council, whereas Mr. Wiens provided no evidence that he held such a permit.
In addition, the Board noted that Mr. Wiens’ guiding territory certificate stated that his territory included a specified area “… except, and unless permission is granted, private land, Provincial and Federal parks and Indian Reserves” [italics added]. Given that there was no evidence that Mr. Wiens held permission from the Osoyoos Indian Band Council to conduct guided hunts on the Reserve, whereas Mr. Stelkia did hold such permission, the Board concluded that Mr. Wiens’ guiding territory did not include the Reserve. Consequently, section 51(3) of the Wildlife Act did not apply, and the Regional Manager was not required to obtain Mr. Wiens’ consent before issuing a guide outfitter licence for the Reserve lands to Mr. Stelkia.
Accordingly, the appeal was dismissed.