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Highlands District Community Association v. Attorney General of British Columbia, Minister of Mines, Energy & Petroleum Resources, Chief Inspector of Mines and O.K. Industries Ltd.

Jurisdiction: Court of Appeal of British Columbia


Side A: Highlands District Community Association (Individual)


Side B: Attorney General of British Columbia, Minister of Mines, Energy & Petroleum Resources, Chief Inspector of Mines (Individual government)


Side B: O.K. Industries Ltd. (Corporation)


Core objectives: Whether the decision of a Mines Inspector under the Mines Act (British Columbia) to issue a permit to operate a rock quarry was unreasonable because the Mines Inspector failed to consider the climate change impacts of the proposed quarry.


Summary
Appeal from the dismissal of an application for judicial review of a Mines Inspector’s decision to issue a permit to operate a rock quarry. The applicants questioned whether the decision was unreasonable because the Mines Inspector failed to consider the climate change impacts of the proposed quarry under the Mines Act. The appellant contends that climate change is such an important issue that the Mines Inspector’s failure to consider it constituted a fettering of his discretion, resulting in an unreasonable decision. 

The reviewing judge held that the Mines Inspector had the discretion to consider the impacts of climate change but his failure to do so did not render his decision unreasonable. The request for interim injunctive relief was dismissed. While the Mines Inspector’s statement of relevance was overly broad, his interpretation of the factors he is required to consider under the statutory scheme was reasonable. The broad discretion granted to the decision maker under the Mines Act imposes no mandatory requirements and the Mines Inspector provided extensive reasons for which he assessed the factors he considered relevant to the application before him. On June 14th, 2021, the Court of Appeal for British Columbia dismissed the claimant's appeal. 

On November 10th, 2021 the Supreme Court of Canada dismissed the claimant's appeal of the Court of Appeal of British Columbia's decision, with costs assigned to the defendant, O.K. Industries Ltd. 
Case documents

from the Grantham Research Institute
from the Grantham Research Institute
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