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This conservation officer who refused to kill two baby bears won a long legal battle — but the government still won’t let him go back to work

This conservation officer who refused to kill two baby bears won a long legal battle — but the government still won’t let him go back to work

Black bear cubs Athena and Jordan were pictured interacting in their enclosure at the North Island Wildlife Recovery Association, July 8, 2015, in Errington, British Columbia. Conservation Officer Bryce Casavant lost his job after he refused an order to euthanize the two cubs the previous week. The two bears have since been released back into the wild.

Early Newspaper

By Joanna ChiuVancouver Bureau

Tue., March 2, 20213 min. read

Last year, a Vancouver Island conservation officer who defied orders and refused to kill two bear cubs won a lengthy legal battle over his dismissal.

But the government has rejected his requests to return to work, and the matter is again prior to the courts.

On Monday, Bryce Casavant’s lawyer notified the Ministry of Atmosphere and other government-related parties that Casavant is in search of a court docket relate declaring that he’s still a conservation officer and was by no means legally brushed aside.

In 2015, Casavant euthanized a mother bear, which had been eating garbage inner a mobile home park in Port Hardy on Vancouver Island.

But he judged that her cubs, who were handiest about two months conventional and the “size of two small canines,” had a chance to be rehabilitated and brought them to a veterinarian instead.

Bryce Casavant, pictured in a video showing his work as a conservation officer, hasn't worked as a conservation officer since 2015, after he was dismissed for refusing to kill two bear cubs.

Flora and fauna conservation has been his lifestyles passion, and Casavant didn’t count on that sparing the cubs would lead to his termination.

Casavant defended himself thru worthy of the ensuing court docket complaints, arguing that as a special constable, the resolution of discharging his firearm was his to make.

The case attracted international attention — with many observers, including celebrities, backing Casavant.

Meanwhile, the two cubs Casavant refused to kill, later named Jordan and Athena, were efficiently rehabilitated and released back into the wild.

The B.C. Court docket of Appeal’s landmark ruling last June nullified Casavant’s firing and confirmed that special constables are police, so self-discipline-related matters fall below the Police Act rather than the collective agreement between Casavant’s union and the Ministry of Atmosphere.

Animal rights experts also said at the time that the resolution may presumably support prevent unnecessary natural world deaths, because it confirmed conservation officers may challenge kill orders.

After the June 4, 2020 ruling, Casavant felt a wave of aid and cried for 15 minutes.

“Then I basically said, ‘Great, now that that is all in the back of us, ogle you Monday!’ ” Casavant told the Star, explaining that he had no reason to doubt that he won the lawful good to immediately return to work.

But his question on June 9 for the reactivation of his badge and the re-issuing of his uniform was rejected by the government, Casavant asserted in his contemporary petition to the B.C. Supreme Court docket.

“Please be advised … that there is rarely any hassle for Mr. Casavant in the (Conservation Officer Service) for him to anecdote to on Monday,” according to an email dated July 4 seen by the Star, which was signed by Doug Forsdick, executive director of the provincial conservation provider.

Bill Wagner, legal counsel to the Ministry of Atmosphere, told the Star on Monday that because the matter is prior to the courts, the province will no longer make any public comments, including on the nature of old correspondence.

The government has 21 days to acknowledge to the court docket petition.

Casavant says the ordeal has taken a toll on him and his family.

“Public provider policing has been my passion and chosen career path since my early twenties. It is disgraceful and frustrating to be continually denied the ability to immediately return to my publish,” the 37-year conventional told the Star.



Since the demand of back wages wasn’t addressed in the old court docket resolution, Casavant’s petition asks that the B.C. Supreme Court docket declare that his conservation officer status is in fabricate, as well as area an amount for any back wages or advantages owed to him for the years he was prevented from working.

“Mr. Casavant merely wants the job which was unlawfully taken from him back,” Casavant’s lawyer Arden Beddoes said in an interview. “The process that was old-fashioned to take his job was declared void by the Court docket of Appeal, so there is rarely any lawful basis for the province to assert him that.”

Casavant says his situation pertains to the rights of thousands of special constables in Canada working in enforcement areas including liquor and gambling licensing as well as natural sources and the ambiance.

In contemporary years, public debate has erupted over the appropriate actions of conservation officers in residential neighbourhoods after officers arrested two males and a woman in Coquitlam B.C. in 2019. They were charged with obstructing a conservation officer after the residents allegedly stepped between officers and a mother black bear with two cubs.

Joanna Chiu is a Vancouver-based reporter overlaying both Canada-China relations and contemporary affairs on the West Coast for the Star. Practice her on Twitter: @joannachiu

This conservation officer who refused to kill two baby bears won a long legal battle — but the government still won’t let him go back to work