Decision Date: February 1, 2001
Panel: Howard Saunders, Lorraine Shore, Stephen Potter
Keywords: Range Act – ss. 31, 35, 36; Forest Practices Code of British Columbia Act – ss. 74(1), 98; Range Use Plan; suspension of grazing rights; cancellation of grazing licence; procedural errors.
This was an appeal by Rudy and Celia Harfman of a Review Panel decision confirming a decision to suspend their right to graze livestock on Crown land and a decision to cancel their grazing licence, both issued by the District Manager. The District Manager suspended the Harfmans’ grazing rights on the grounds that they had not complied with their Range Use Plan. Their grazing licence was cancelled for failing to comply with terms of the Code, grazing licence, and Range Use Plan, and for jeopardizing range health and inconveniencing other range users. The Harfmans sought an order rescinding the suspension and cancellation.
The Harfmans alleged that procedural errors had occurred in the decision-making process below. The Commission agreed with the Review Panel that a typographical error did not prejudice the Harfmans as they knew that it was their license at issue. The Commission found that the Harfmans had received full disclosure and were given full rights of cross-examination at the hearing before the Commission. Therefore, any defects in the process below were cured by the appeal process, and were insufficient to defeat the decisions below.
The Commission found that the District Manager had sufficient grounds to suspend the Harfmans’ grazing rights. The Commission was satisfied that the trespasses cited in the suspension had occurred, and that the Harfmans had failed to perform fence maintenance in violation of their Range Use Plan.
The Commission found that the District Manager had sufficient grounds to cancel the grazing license. Given the frequency and continuity of the Harfmans’ violations of the Range Use Plan and the Code, and Harfmans refusal or inability to change this pattern of conduct, the Commission found that the decision to cancel was appropriate in the circumstances.
The appeal was dismissed.