• Ron Thompson v. Director of Wildlife

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    Decision Date: August 10, 1998

    Panel: Toby Vigod, Richard Cannings, Marilyn Kansky

    Keywords: Wildlife Act – ss. 49, 52(1), 101.1; Angling and Scientific Collection Regulation – ss. 10(1), 11(1), 13(1)(a), 19(c); Wildlife Act Commercial Activities Regulation – s. 1.08; “Cariboo-Coast Guided River Classification, Chilcotin River;” Sebastian v. Saskatchewan (Workers’ Compensation Board); fettering of discretion; Wildlife Act, S.B.C. 1982, repealed and replaced by R.S.B.C. 1996

    This was an appeal by Mr. Thompson of the decision of the Director of Wildlife upholding the decision of the Regional Fish and Wildlife Manager with respect to Mr. Thompson’s Angling Guide Operating Plan for the Chilcotin River. Mr. Thompson sought an order to remove a restrictive condition from his Angling Guide Operating Plan and 1996/97 licence. He argued that there was no authority to add the condition to the licence and, in any event, the condition was unreasonable.

    The Board found that there is statutory authority for conditions to be attached to an angling licence. However, the Board found that the Manager failed to properly exercise his discretion when applying the restrictive condition to Thompson’s 1996/97 licence and plan. The Manager’s conduct over the years indicated that he routinely, and on an annual basis, applied a 1991 condition to Thompson’s plans and licences without considering the merits of the current application, and whether the rationale for the restrictive condition was still applicable. Further, the guidelines applied by the Manager were not made available to those affected.

    The Board found that the Director did not consider the issue of the Manager’s exercise of discretion, nor did she have all the documentation before her that was filed in the appeal to the Board. The Board therefore ordered that the restrictive condition be deleted from Thompson’s 1996/97 and 1998/99 plans and licences. The Ministry argued that the Board’s decision-making powers were limited to the now repealed sections of the Wildlife Act. The Board disagreed. As the decision at issue in this case was made on August 12, 1997, the Board found that the new broader provisions of the Act applied. The appeal was allowed.