ELC Intervening at Forest Appeals Commission

ELC Student Obtains Intervenor Status At Forest Appeals Commission

By: Cassandra May – Fall, 2004 The Environmental Law Centre Under the direction of our in-house counsel, an ELC student will be representing a client in an administrative hearing for the first time ever In what will be a leading case for the forestry industry, the Sierra Club of Canada, represented by ELC student, Cassandra Mae, has obtained intervenor status in an appeal by Weyerhaeuser against an administrative penalty. Weyerhaeuser plans to utilize the new due diligence defence contained in the Forest and Range Practices Act in relation to their dealings with their contractor and subcontractor. If this defence stands up in this case liability for breaches of the Act will be easily attributable to contractors and subcontractors. The care taken in timber harvesting will decrease and the environmental impacts of logging will become more significant. Responsibility for care in timber harvesting will be easily devolved from big companies to small “on the ground” operators.

The Sierra Club’s involvement is significant as they will, represented by the ELC, argue that the parameters of the due diligence defence should be limited, particularly in determining the level of care required by a major licensee in supervising work being done by its contractors and subcontractors. At the Forest Appeals Commission, the ELC will submit that major licensees such as Weyerhaeuser should be obligated to exercise a high standard of care when dealing with contractors in order to ensure optimal environmental protection.

The outcome of this appeal will be precedential in determining the standard of care required by the new due diligence defence in the Forest and Range Practices Act.

The appeal date is set for January 18th 2005.