After five years of waiting, Bryce Casavant has received justice. One morning in July 2015, Casavant, then an environmental conservation agent in the Canadian province of British Columbia, arrived in an area of the town of Port Hardy. Their services were required because a female brown bear had insistently tried to seize meat and salmon stored in a caravan’s freezer. Under current law, it should be shot down, because it could pose a danger to people. Casavant shot the animal dead, but refused to do the same with his two cubs.
Instead of pulling the trigger, as his superiors demanded, the agent took the cubs to a veterinary clinic to determine their state of health. Afterwards, they spent time in a wildlife recovery center and, finally, they were returned to nature. Casavant was not rewarded for such action. Quite the contrary: first he was suspended without pay and, a short time later, dismissed.
Soon, an online petition, signed by thousands of people, circulated online to request that he get his job back. At the same time, Casavant presented her case to the British Columbia Court of Appeals. In the document, he pointed out that the cubs did not pose any risk to the inhabitants of Port Hardy because they had not approached the caravan, and therefore considered that they could still be reintroduced into the forests.
Finally, the court issued its ruling on June 4, and stressed that the suspension and dismissal of Bryce Casavant had been unjustified. “Killing the cubs in these circumstances would have been inconsistent with the ministry’s policy,” the document said. The judges also indicated that his dismissal should have been evaluated under the Police Law, since he was acting as a special provincial agent, and not in accordance with the provisions of his collective contract. “This cancels out what happened. Legally speaking, it is as if the dismissal had never taken place, “Casavant told Global News after learning of the ruling.
The judges’ decision does not automatically guarantee the reinstatement of Bryce Casavant to his former duties. “The legal ramifications of all this must now be resolved between my lawyer and the government,” Casavant said. However, it is likely that you will decide to continue with some projects that you embarked upon after your cessation. He completed a doctorate in social sciences at Royal Roads University in May and also sought to reach the provincial Parliament as a candidate for the New Democratic Party, although he lost at the polls in the May 2017 election.
Last January, the environmental group Pacific Wild published a report stating that in the last eight years, more than 4,500 bears have been killed by conservation agents in this Canadian province. “British Columbia is not a shooting range for government employees,” says the report. One of its authors is Bryce Casavant, who currently works at the agency as an analyst.