Keywords: Wildlife Act – s. 21(1)(b), 33, 94, 98, 100; Wildlife Act Permit Regulation s. 1; seizure; possession and export of cast off antlers
David Robb, an American citizen, appealed a decision of the Director of Wildlife denying him a permit to possess and export a cast off moose antler. The antler was seized by Conservation Officers as Mr. Robb was leaving Canada because he did not have the required permit. He was initially issued a violation ticket and assessed a $200 fine. When Mr. Robb told the Conservation Officer he could not pay the fine, the Officer waived the fine, changed the violation ticket to a warning, and refused to issue him a permit to export the antler. Mr. Robb appealed the decision to the Director, who also refused to issue a permit on the grounds that the antler was lawfully seized, and she had no authority to reverse that decision.
The Panel found that Mr. Robb did not need a permit to possess a cast off antler, but did need a permit for its export. The Panel found that while the Conservation Officer lawfully seized the antler for lack of a permit, his refusal to issue a permit was based, in part, on improper considerations; namely, Mr. Robb’s inability to pay a fine and his commission of other offences not relevant to the possession or export of the cast off antler. The Panel found that when the Director considered the case, she did not properly define the issue to be decided and, consequently, failed to properly address the request made by Mr. Robb. She also failed to adequately consider all of the relevant factors and incorrectly interpreted her jurisdiction in relation to the ability to reverse a legal seizure. Although the legislation provided no express authority for the Director to release seized wildlife parts, the Panel found that the Director had the implied power to release the seized antler. The Panel found that the evidence supported issuing a permit to export the antler and that a permit should be issued. The appeal was allowed.