2017 Soybean Harvest

2017 Soybean Harvest

Friday, February 24, 2012

Appeal Tribunal sets aside CFIA Health of Animals Violation

The Canada Agricultural Review Tribunal has overturned a decision of the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food that imposed a $2,600 penalty on Chilliwack Cattle Sales Ltd. for "loading, transporting or causing to be loaded or transported an animal that could not be transported without suffering contrary to paragraph 138(2)(a) of the Health of Animals Regulations".  The original notice of violation was issued by the CFIA, and the matter was then referred to the Minister for review.  The Minister confirmed the original violation decision.

The Tribunal in this case was reviewing the decision of the Minister to determine whether there had been an error in the exercise of the Minister's discretion or an error in law.  These errors might include, according to the Tribunal:

1. The powers were exercised in bad faith.

2. The powers were delegated in an inappropriate manner.

3. The powers were exercised without regard for the principles of natural justice or fairness.

4. The powers were exercised for inappropriate purposes.

5. No element of the evidence supports the Minister's decision.

6. The decision was based on irrelevant considerations.

7. An error was committed in the interpretation of the connected or enabling legislation, the principles of common law in general or in the application of legal principles to the facts.

8. A decision is so unreasonable that no reasonable person in the Minister's place would have made such a decision.

In its review, the Tribunal noted that nowhere in the Minister's decision were there found the words "undue suffering" or "unduly suffered", which are essential elements for the finding of liability under paragraph 138(2)(a) of the Regulations.  Therefore, the Tribunal ruled, the Minister had made an error of law which requires that the decision be set aside.  The Tribunal went on to identify other errors in the decision, including setting the penalty at $2,600 when there was no basis for doing so.