Keywords:Forest Act – s. 105; Interior Appraisal Manual – Amendment No. 8 – ss. 2.3.2(2) &2.5(2)(d); retroactive or retrospective application of the law; vested rights; stumpage determination
This was an appeal brought by James Brown-John, Deborah May Brown-John, Arrowhead Enterprises Ltd., and the Estate of David George Falconer (the “Appellants”) against a stumpage determination by the Timber Pricing Forester. The Appellants held a blanket salvage cutting permit, and they had elected to have the stumpage rate fixed at the rate set out in two earlier stumpage adjustment notices. The Appellants appealed the determination on the ground that the stumpage rate had already been determined in the earlier stumpage adjustment notices and that certain amendments to the Interior Appraisal Manual (the “IAM”), which led to the issuance of the appealed determination, could not be applied retroactively or retrospectively to override the Appellants’ “vested rights” to the earlier stumpage rate. The Appellants asked the Commission to vary the stumpage to the rate in the earlier notices, or refer the matter back to the Timber Pricing Forester, with directions to reduce the stumpage rate to the initial amount.
The Commission found that the IAM amendments did not violate the presumption against the retroactive or retrospective application of the law, nor did they interfere with the Appellants’ vested rights, if in fact, they were vested rights. However, the Commission also found that the appealed stumpage determination should be sent back to the Timber Pricing Coordinator to be re-determined in accordance with a previous Commission decision, which held that the stumpage rate for a blanket salvage permit that had a fixed rate prior to the IAM amendments should be reappraised on the permit’s anniversary date but not adjusted quarterly.