Federal Court


Equity

ESTOPPEL
Nothing prevented minister from favouring one group of fishermen over another

Applicant and those applicants represented were commercial fishermen. Minister changed allocation of total allowance catch (“TAC”) for Pacific Halibut fishery. Minister departed from long-standing commitment to maintain 2003 Framework. Minister reduced applicant’s share of TAC from 88% to 85%. There was corresponding reduction of applicant’s individual transferable quota, affecting applicant’s ability to earn livelihood from fishery. Application for judicial review was dismissed. There was no evidence decision was made in bad faith or pursuant to irrelevant purpose. Remedies for Minister’s change in position were not judicial. There was nothing preventing Minister from favouring one group of fishermen over another. Minister could not be bound by past policy decisions. It was not for court to reweigh factors and come to own conclusion. There was no basis to interfere. Minister was not bound by advice from department and decision not to follow recommendations of Department was not reviewable error. Doctrine of legitimate expectations did not apply. There was no basis on which promissory estoppel could be invoked. Becoming bound to one policy choice would be in violation of Minister’s duty.

Malcolm v. Canada (Minister of Fisheries and Oceans) (Apr. 11, 2013, F.C., Donald J. Rennie J., File No. T-577-12) 227 A.C.W.S. (3d) 255.

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