• Robert Mason v. Regional Wildlife Manager

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    Decision Date: July 27, 1999

    Panel: Christine Mayall

    Keywords: Wildlife Act – ss. 54(1) and 61(1); assistant guide licence

    This was an appeal by Robert Mason against the August 25, 1998, decision of the Regional Manager refusing to issue an assistant guide licence to Mr. Mason.

    In the fall of 1996, Mr. Mason had worked as an assistant guide in the Peace River area. While Mr. Mason was guiding an American hunter, the hunter shot from the road at a decoy on cultivated land. With respect to this incident, Mr. Mason pled guilty to three offences under the Wildlife Act, was fined $3,000, had his hunting licence suspended for 18 months, and was required to take the CORE course before he could have his licence reinstated.

    In 1998, Mr. Mason applied to be once again licensed as an assistant guide. The Regional Manager refused his application on the basis that the offences for which Mr. Mason had been convicted for the 1996 incident “were of a very serious nature and reflected upon his inability to act responsibly as a guide.” Mr. Mason appealed this decision.

    Mr. Mason argued that the Regional Manager fettered his discretion by not taking into account the individual merit of his case, and should have issued him a licence in the circumstances.

    The Board found that the Regional Manager properly exercised his discretion by taking into consideration the objective of consistency in decision making, as well as the specific merits of Mr. Mason’s case.

    The Board found further that the Regional Manager has discretion under s.61(1)(a) of the Act to refuse to renew a person’s licence where that person has been convicted of an offence under the Act. The Board noted that assistant guides are responsible to ensure that they and their clients respect the province’s laws concerning wildlife and are in a position of public trust.

    Therefore, the Board found that the Regional Manager was correct in deciding not to issue Mr. Mason an assistant guide licence for the 1998/99 guiding season. The Board recommended that the Regional Manager consider granting Mr. Mason as assistant guide licence if he applies next season. The appeal was dismissed.