Judicial Review Decisions

  • International Forest Products v. Forest Appeals Commission (Forest Practices Board, Third Party) (Friends of Clayoquot Sound, Intervenor)

    June 3, 1998
    File Numbers:
    BCJ 1314

    Decision Date:  June 3, 1998

    Court: B.C.S.C. Bauman, J.

    Cite: [1998] B.C.J. No. 1314

    Keywords: Forest Practices Code of British Columbia Act-s. 63(2); Forest Road Regulation-s. 17(1)(c); standard of review; Pezim; tribunal’s standing before the Court. Interfor appealed a March 19, 1997 decision of the Forest Appeals Commission that upheld a finding that Interfor had breached section 63(2) of the Forest Practices Code of British Columbia Act and section 17(1)(c) of the Forest Road Regulation.

    Interfor argued that the Commission did not find a breach of section 17(1)(c) of the Regulation, which obliged Interfor to “inspect the road and repair the road to ensure that…the transfer of sediment from the road prism and its effects on other forest resources are minimized.” Interfor argued that the Commission ignored the words in the section and imposed a much higher duty on the company to ensure that the transport of sediment was minimized in all events. In addition, Interfor argued that the Commission ignored the words “and its effects on other forest resources” in the same section.

    On the issue of the appropriate standard of review the Court concluded that, on matters going to the core of the Board’s mandate and expertise, the reasonableness simpliciter, or, “clearly wrong” standard is appropriate. After reviewing the Commission’s decision, the Court accepted that it was implicit therein that the Commission found a breach of Interfor’s obligation to inspect and repair and the Commission had not erred in law. In addition, the Court found that the Commission expressly directed its mind to the impact on forest resources in concluding that section 17 had been contravened. The Court found that this finding was at the core of the Commission’s expertise and was entitled to significant deference. In addition, it was a pure question of fact from which, arguably, no appeal lied. Therefore, Interfor’s submissions on that point could not be sustained.

    On the issue of standing, the Court noted that a tribunal being appealed from might properly make submissions on the appropriate standard of review.

    The appeal was dismissed with costs.