Keywords: Administrative Tribunals Act – s. 42; guide outfitter; quota; evidence held in confidence
Darren Deluca appealed a decision of the Deputy Regional Manager (the “Regional Manager”), West Coast Region, Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations (the “Ministry”). Mr. Deluca is a guide outfitter who is authorized to take hunters on guided hunts in a guiding territory that covers parts of Vancouver Island. Each year, Mr. Deluca receives a guide outfitter licence from the Ministry, which specifies the number of particular game species that his clients may kill in his guiding territory. The Regional Manager provided Mr. Deluca with an annual quota of two Roosevelt elk for the 2016/2017 guiding season. Mr. Deluca appealed on the grounds that his quota was incorrectly determined.
After the appeal was filed, the Wildlife Stewardship Council requested participant status so it could make submissions on the appeal, which the Board granted.
The appeal was heard by way of written submissions. After the submissions closed, Mr. Deluca applied for an order under section 42 of the Administrative Tribunals Act that the Board receive some of the Respondent’s evidence to the exclusion of the public and the Wildlife Stewardship Council. Mr. Deluca argued that this evidence contained information about his guiding business, and he did not want the information to be available to competitors. He also argued that the Wildlife Stewardship Council represents guide outfitters that are his competitors.
In reply, the Wildlife Stewardship Council advised that it never received the Respondent’s evidence because the electronic file was too large and the email transmission failed. The Wildlife Stewardship Council submitted that it had no interest in obtaining Mr. Deluca’s business information, but it was entitled to receive the remainder of the Respondent’s evidence.
The Board found that one exhibit within the Respondent’s package of evidence contained sensitive business information, but the remainder of the Respondent’s evidence should be made available to the Wildlife Stewardship Council. The Board ordered that one exhibit within the Respondent’s evidence should be received to the exclusion of the Wildlife Stewardship Council and the public.
Accordingly, the application for an order was granted.