The FAC must issue decisions in writing. In urgent cases, this may be shortly after a hearing concludes, but it will generally take weeks or months for a panel to consider all the evidence and submissions, and to write a decision. The FAC has a Practice Directive that sets out expectations for how long panels will take to write decisions after hearings complete, although in any given case the time may be less or more.
When a decision is complete, the FAC will provide copies to all parties and to the relevant minister(s). The FAC will also publish the decision on its website and may provide it to archives of court and tribunal decisions (for example, Lexis or CanLII) for greater access by the public, representatives and other decision-makers.
The FAC can confirm, vary, or rescind any decision under appeal. It can also send a decision back to the decision-maker, with or without directions. For appeals under the Private Managed Forest Land Act the FAC can also make any other order the FAC considers appropriate.
When the FAC issues a decision, it cannot change it. The FAC can, however, amend a decision to fix:
- a clerical or typographical error;
- an accidental or inadvertent error, omission or other similar mistake; or
- an arithmetical error made in a computation.
The FAC can also “reopen” an appeal to “cure a jurisdictional defect”, which includes making a decision the FAC is not empowered to make, failing to address an issue in an appeal, or acting unfairly.
Parties can also ask the FAC to clarify a decision within 30 days of the decision being issued, and the FAC may do so at its discretion.
Otherwise, if you disagree with a decision, you can appeal certain aspects of FAC decisions to the Supreme Court of British Columbia. The Court may also have the ability to consider requests for judicial review of the FAC’s decisions, under the Judicial Review Procedure Act.