Mr. Dale Ethier had been a guide outfitter for 25 years in a remote area of northern British Columbia. In October of 1989 he informed the Regional Manager that he did not intend to use his guide territory for the 1990/91 and 1991/92 hunting seasons due to personal health problems. The Regional Manager, acting on his understanding of the Wildlife Act, told Mr. Ethier that he didn’t have to use the territory for the 1990/91 season, but that for the following year he must renew his licence and should do at least some guiding activity. Mr. Ethier did renew his license, but didn’t make use of it as he had decided to sell his guiding business. The Regional Manager declared the territory vacant, and Mr. Ethier appealed to the Deputy Director of Wildlife and then to the Board.
Under the Wildlife Act the Regional Manager could only authorise Mr. Ethier to stop using his guiding area for one year at a time; however, there was nothing limiting the total number of years as long as Mr. Ethier made a new application each year. Since the Regional Manager didn’t know that he had the option of allowing Mr. Ethier not to use the land for another year, the Board referred the decision back to the Deputy Director to reconsider.
The Deputy Director, on reconsidering the matter, decided that the appellant could retain his guide license without using it for up to three years, as long as he pays his fees each year.