Yukon Big Game Outfitters Ltd. is challenging the Yukon government in court over the decision to reduce their caribou quota to zero and asking for the release of documentation explaining the decision. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)

Yukon Big Game Outfitters Ltd. is challenging the Yukon government in court over the decision to reduce their caribou quota to zero and asking for the release of documentation explaining the decision. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)

Outfitter requests documents clarifying decision on zero caribou quota in Supreme Court

Counsel representing Yukon Big Game Outfitters Ltd. says more information on decision is required

A local outfitter challenging the Yukon government in court over the decision to reduce their caribou quota to zero is asking for the release of documentation explaining the decision.

Yukon Big Game Outfitters Ltd. filed a petition to the Yukon Supreme Court on Oct. 2, asking for a court order to reverse the zero-quota for the 2019-20 and 2020-21 seasons.

Appearing in court via video on Jan. 27, the outfitter’s counsel Vincent Larochelle asked for further clarity about what led to the quota decision.

Larochelle informed the court he was seeking documentation revealing the consultations with Ross River Dena Council that influenced the allowed quota.

“Anything that’s relevant should be produced,” Larochelle said, adding that the quota decision sets a significant precedent affecting outfitters across the territory.

The outfitter’s Oct. 9 petition alleges that the decision was unreasonable.

In April 2012, the outfitter was granted a quota of seven caribou per year for three years.

In 2015-16, seven caribou were granted, but a three-year quota was refused, as the Yukon government advised it needed to consult with the Ross River Dena Council. That seven caribou quota was maintained each individual year in 2016-17, 2017-18 and 2018-19.

The petition decried this process, saying that “multi-year quotas are essential for outfitting businesses, as hunts will often be booked years in advance, and deposits are taken in advance of such hunts.”

In July 2018, the outfitter was advised the quota would be zero until consultations took place with the Ross River Dena Council.

Elaine Cairns, the lawyer for the Yukon government, said on Jan. 27 that Environment Minister Pauline Frost hadn’t issued any permits for caribou hunting since 2018. She added that the outfitter received nearly a year’s notice that the quota would be zero for the following season.

Surveying and conservation concerns had been expressed to the outfitter in July 2018. Cairns said that caribou numbers in the Yukon have raised concern in recent years.

“The current harvest management approach hadn’t been sufficient to stabilize the herd … (and) the Ross River Dena Council had expressed concern,” Cairns said.

The outfitter’s initial objection to the quota triggered a hearing before a conservation review board, after which Frost had “significant discretion” to make a final decision on the quota under the Wildlife Act. The minister chose to confirm the quota of zero caribou, Cairns explained.

Cairns added the government “strongly disputes” that the outfitter was left in the dark about what led to the caribou decision.

Larochelle had said earlier that clarity about what led to the decision is “the main crux” of the argument.

Chief Justice Suzanne Duncan is expected to make a decision regarding which documents should be ordered for release, if any, before the case goes forward to substantive application.

Contact Gabrielle Plonka at gabrielle.plonka@yukon-news.com

Yukon courts

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Crystal Schick/Yukon News
Calvin Delwisch poses for a photo inside his DIY sauna at Marsh Lake on Feb. 18.
Yukoners turning up the heat with unique DIY sauna builds

Do-it-yourselfers say a sauna built with salvaged materials is a great winter project

Wyatt’s World

Wyatt’s World for March 5, 2021.

Yukonomist: School competition ramps up in the Yukon

It’s common to see an upstart automaker trying to grab share from… Continue reading

The Yukon government responded to a petition calling the SCAN Act “draconian” on Feb. 19. (Yukon News file)
Yukon government accuses SCAN petitioner of mischaracterizing her eviction

A response to the Jan. 7 petition was filed to court on Feb. 19

City councillor Samson Hartland in Whitehorse on Dec. 3, 2018. Hartland has announced his plans to run for mayor in the Oct. 21 municipal election. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Councillor sets sights on mayor’s chair

Hartland declares election plans

Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Brendan Hanley receives his first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine from Public Health Nurse Angie Bartelen at the Yukon Convention Centre Clinic in Whitehorse on March 3. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
State of emergency extended for another 90 days

“Now we’re in a situation where we see the finish line.”

The Yukon government says it is working towards finding a solution for Dawson area miners who may be impacted by City of Dawson plans and regulations. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
Miner expresses frustration over town plan

Designation of claims changed to future planning

Team Yukon athletes wave flags at the 2012 Arctic Winter Games opening ceremony in Whitehorse. The 2022 event in Wood Buffalo, Alta., has been postponed indefinitely. (Justin Kennedy/Yukon News file)
2022 Arctic Winter Games postponed indefinitely

Wood Buffalo, Alta., Host Society committed to rescheduling at a later date

Housing construction continues in the Whistle Bend subdivision in Whitehorse on Oct. 29, 2020. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Yukon Bureau of Statistics reports rising rents for Yukoners, falling revenues for businesses

The bureau has published several reports on the rental market and businesses affected by COVID-19

Council of Yukon First Nations grand chief Peter Johnston at the Yukon Forum in Whitehorse on Feb. 14, 2019. Johnston and Highways and Public Works Minister Richard Mostyn announced changes to the implementation of the Yukon First Nations Procurement Policy on March 3. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Third phase added to procurement policy implementation

Additional time added to prep for two provisions

Crews work to clear the South Klondike Highway after an avalanche earlier this week. (Submitted)
South Klondike Highway remains closed due to avalanches

Yukon Avalanche Association recommending backcountry recreators remain vigilant

RCMP Online Crime Reporting website in Whitehorse on March 5. (Haley Ritchie/Yukon News)
Whitehorse RCMP launch online crime reporting

Both a website and Whitehorse RCMP app are now available

A man walks passed the polling place sign at city hall in Whitehorse on Oct. 18, 2018. The City of Whitehorse is preparing for a pandemic-era election this October with a number of measures proposed to address COVID-19 restrictions. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
City gets set for Oct. 21 municipal election

Elections procedures bylaw comes forward

Most Read