Preliminary and Final Decisions

Ole Getz v. Government of British Columbia

Decision Date:
January 23, 2004
File Numbers:
Decision Numbers:
Third Parties:
Allan Colbourne; Bawnie Robinson, on behalf of the Estate of Harry David Robinson, Third Parties


Decision Date: January 23, 2004

Panel: Alan Andison

Keywords: Forest Practices Code of British Columbia Act – ss.96(1), 117; unauthorized harvesting; timber salvage; appropriate penalty

Ole Getz appealed the District Manager’s determination, as upheld by a Review Panel, that Mr. Getz contravened section 96(1) of the Forest Practices Code of British Columbia Act (the “Code”).  Specifically, the District Manager determined that Mr. Getz was responsible for harvesting 40.99 cubic metres (m3) of Crown timber without authority.  The District Manager assessed a total penalty of $500 for the contravention.  A Review Panel upheld the District Manager’s determination and penalty.

The issue in this appeal is whether the penalty was reasonable in the circumstances.

Mr. Getz did not dispute the finding that he contravened section 96(1) of the Code.  However, Mr. Getz appealed the penalty that was levied for the contravention.

The Commission found that a monetary penalty of zero was appropriate in the circumstances.  The Commission agreed with the Review Panel’s finding that no compensatory penalty was required against Mr. Getz, because the Crown was fully compensated for the unauthorized harvesting through the sale of the wood seized.  However, the Commission found that a monetary penalty was not needed to provide deterrence because Mr. Colbourne was responsible for supervising Mr. Getz’s work, and there was insufficient evidence to determine whether Mr. Getz received any profit or economic benefit as a result of the contravention.  Furthermore, the Commission found that general deterrence would be achieved given that the contravention would remain on Mr. Getz’s record with the Ministry.

Accordingly, the appeal was allowed.