Keywords: Wildlife Act – s. 19(1), 70(1); Wildlife Act Permit Regulations – s. 1(p), 11(1)(f); discretion of decision-maker
Dawson Smith appealed a decision of the Deputy Director denying him a permit to accompany an American friend (a non-resident alien) to hunt big game in British Columbia without a guide. The Deputy Director declined to issue a permit because Mr. Smith and his friend had no familial connection as required by the Wildlife Act Permit Regulations. Mr. Smith argued that, under the Wildlife Act, wildlife officials have the discretion to “circumvent” the familial connection requirement.
Although Mr. Smith never stated which section of the Act supported his argument, the Panel found that Mr. Smith appeared to be referring to section 19. The Panel found that section 19 requires any permit granted under the authority of that section to be issued in accordance with the regulations, and that the relevant regulations in this case were the Permit Regulations. The Panel found that Mr. Smith was asking for a permit to be granted in circumstances that were clearly prohibited by these Regulations and that there was no discretion to circumvent these regulatory requirements. The Panel noted that this interpretation of the legislation was consistent with the general purpose of the Act and the hierarchy of restrictions set out for different categories of hunters in the legislation. Accordingly, the Panel upheld the Deputy Director’s decision. The appeal was dismissed.