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

Just Posted

Lorraine Kuhn is seen with one of the many volleyball teams she coached. (Photo submitted by Sport Yukon)
The Yukon Sports Hall of Fame inducts the late Lorraine Kuhn

Lorraine Kuhn became the newest member of the Yukon Sports Hall of Fame for her work in growing volleyball amongst other sports

File Photo
A Yukon judge approved dangerous offender status for a man guilty of a string of assaults in 2020.
Yukon judge sentences dangerous offender to indefinite prison term

Herman Peter Thorn, 51, was given the sentence for 2020 assaults, history of violence

Crystal Schick/ Yukon News A former residential school in the Kaska Dena community of Lower Post will be demolished on June 21. Crystal Schick/ Yukon News
Lower Post residential school demolition postponed

On June 21, the old residential school in Lower Post will be demolished and new ground on a multi-cultural centre will be broken

Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Brendan Hanley announced 29 new COVID-19 cases on June 19 and community transmission among unvaccinated individuals. (Yukon News file)
Yukon logs record-high 29 new COVID-19 cases

F.H. Collins prom attendees and some Porter Creek Grade 9 students are instructed to self-isolate as community transmission sweeps through unvaccinated populations

Willow Brewster, a paramedic helping in the COVID-19 drive-thru testing centre, holds a swab used for the COVID-19 test moments before using it on Nov. 24. The Yukon government is reopening the drive-thru option on June 18. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
Drive-up COVID-19 testing opening June 18 in Whitehorse

The drive-up testing will be open from 6:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. everyday and increase testing capacity by 33 spots

Whitehorse City Hall (Yukon News file)
City news, briefly

A look at decisions made by Whitehorse city council at its June 14 meeting

Murray Arsenault sits in the drivers seat of his 1975 Bricklin SV1 in Whitehorse on June 16. (Stephanie Waddell/Yukon News)
Bringing the 1975 Bricklin north

Murray Arsenault remembers his dad’s Bricklin, while now driving his own

A presumptive COVID case was found at Seabridge Gold’s 3 Aces project. (file photo)
Presumptive COVID-19 case reported at mine in southeast Yukon

A rapid antigen rest found a presumptive COVID case on an incoming individual arriving at the 3Aces project

Jonathan Antoine/Cabin Radio
Flooding in Fort Simpson on May 8.
Fort Simpson asked for military help. Two people showed up.

FORT SIMPSON—Residents of a flooded Northwest Territories village expected a helping hand… Continue reading

A woman was rescued from the Pioneer Ridge Trail in Alaska on June 16. (Photo courtesy/AllTrails)
Alaska hiker chased off trail by bears flags down help

ANCHORAGE (AP)—An Alaska hiker who reported needing help following bear encounters on… Continue reading

Two participants cross the finish line at the City of Whitehorse Kids Triathlon on June 12 with Mayor Dan Curtis on hand to present medals. (Stephanie Waddell/Yukon News)
2021 Kids’ Triathlon draws 76 young athletes

Youth ages five to 14 swim, run and bike their way to finish line

NDP MP Mumilaaq Qaqqaq rises in the House of Commons, in Ottawa on May 13, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
‘Unacceptable’ that Inuk MP felt unsafe in House of Commons, Miller says

OTTAWA—It’s a “sad reflection” on Canada that an Inuk MP feels she’s… Continue reading

Lily Witten performs her Canadian Nationals beam routine on June 14. John Tonin/Yukon News
Three Yukon gymnasts break 20-year Nationals absence

Bianca Berko-Malvasio, Maude Molgat and Lily Witten competed at the Canadian Nationals – the first time in 20 years the Yukon’s been represented at the meet

Most Read