Preliminary and Final Decisions

International Forest Products Limited v. Government of British Columbia

Decision Date:
March 19, 1997
File Numbers:
Decision Numbers:
Third Parties:
Forest Practices Board, Third Party Friends of Clayoquot Sound, Intervenor


Decision Date: March 19,1997

Panel: Toby Vigod, Gerry Burch, Carol Roberts

This is an appeal from an administrative review decision upholding a determination of the District Manager, in which International Forest Products Limited (‘Interfor’) was found to have contravened section 17(1)(c) of the Forest Road Regulation (the ‘FRR’). The Review Panel upheld the District Manager’s finding that in contravening section 17(1), Interfor also contravened section 63(2) of the Code. The Review Panel upheld the penalty of $10,000. The violations were recorded after a logging road being constructed by Interfor’s contractor became saturated with water, and caused silt to enter culverts, ditches and streams. Interfor appealed on the grounds that section 17(1) was not applicable because it refers to road maintenance under section 63 of the Code, and as the road was still under construction, there was no obligation to maintain it. Interfor argued that finding contraventions of both sections 17(1) of the FRR and section 63 of the Code amounted to double jeopardy, and so contravened the rule against multiple convictions. Interfor also argued that even if there was an obligation to maintain the road, the penalty was inappropriate or disproportionate to the events and circumstances, and that it should be rescinded or reduced.

On the evidence presented, the Commission held that as the road was sufficiently completed to allow for use by Interfor, its contractor, Ministry Officials and members of the public, it was subject to the maintenance requirements of section 63 of the Code. The Commission found that although the siltation control measures implemented by Interfor may have been adequate, Interfor was in violation of section 17(1) because it continued to drive heavy traffic along the road, which allowed sediment to enter ditches after the rainfall had liquified the road surface. The Commission found that Interfor failed to maintain the road. The Commission held that although a contravention of section 17(1) of the FRR leads to a contravention of section 63 of the Code, only one penalty was levied, (for the contravention of section 17(1)), and only one contravention was recorded. The Commission was unable to find that the application of one penalty was unfair or constituted double jeopardy. The District Manager and the Review Panel were of the opinion that Interfor had derived an economic benefit from the contravention, but the Commission found on the evidence presented that there was no financial benefit to Interfor, and consequently reduced the penalty to $7500. The appeal was dismissed.