Decision Date: May 5, 1999
Panel: Toby Vigod
Keywords: Forest Practices Code of British Columbia Act – s. 67; Forest Road Regulation – ss. 10(6), 11(1); R.. v. Kienapple.
This was an appeal by Canadian Forest Products Ltd. (“Canfor”) against the decision of a Review Panel to uphold a decision made by the District Manager (“Manager”). The Manager had determined that Canfor had contravened section 67(2)(a) of the Forest Practices Code of British Columbia Act (the “Code“) and sections 10(6)(a) and (b) and 11(1)(k) of the Forest Road Regulation (“Regulation“). The Review Panel also upheld the $1,000 penalty that had been assessed by the Manager for the contraventions.
Canfor appealed the review decision on the ground that the Review Panel erred in finding the contravention of s.67(2) of the Code to be a separate contravention from those found under the Regulation. Canfor cited the finding of the Supreme Court of Canada in R. v. Kienapple that multiple criminal convictions cannot be entered upon conviction of the accused for one criminal act. Canfor contended that the contravention of s.67(2)(a) duplicated the contraventions found in the Regulation, and sought an order from the Commission rescinding the Code contravention and leaving in place the underlying contraventions of the Regulation to avoid the alleged duplication.
The Commission found that a plain reading of s.67(2)(a) of the Code indicates that where a contravention of the Regulation has been established in relation to a forest practice in and around a stream, then there has also been a contravention of s.67(2)(a) of the Code. The Commission found that the questions before it were therefore whether this duplication was barred by law and whether the contravention of the more general section should be rescinded.
The Commission had held in previous decisions that the common law rule against multiple convictions for the same wrongful act is not applicable to contraventions assessed under the Code and its regulations. However, it also found that even though a finding of multiple contraventions for the same circumstances may be acceptable, unfairness may result from the manner in which penalties are levied and reported.
The Commission found that the contravention of the Regulation automatically resulted in a contravention of the Code. The Commission found no reason to depart from its previous findings, and found that in this case, the result was not unfair provided that the penalty was properly assessed. The Commission found that the penalty was properly assessed. The appeal was denied.