Bryce Casavant transferred from Conservation Officer Service

Former northern Vancouver Island Conservation Officer Bryce Casavant has been transferred from the Conservation Officer Service

This morning, Aug. 28, former North Island Conservation Officer Bryce Casavant was found working in the Port McNeill Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations office.

“Our union has filed a grievance over Bryce Casavant’s original suspension. We are now in the process of filing a second grievance concerning his disciplinary transfer from the Conservation Officer Service,” says BC Government and Services Employees Union (BCGEU) President Stephanie Smith.

“No employee involved in this case has been subjected to any discipline,” said Jamie Edwardson, director of communication speaking on behalf of the Public Service Agency which is responsible for management of government service employees.

“I can confirm that there was a thorough review of the situation conducted by the Public Service Agency independent of the Conservation Officer Service. The findings of that review were presented to the employee’s senior management,” Edwardson said.

“The decision that resulted was to reassign the employee to an equivalent position within government, with no impact on salary or classification,” he said.

“We value the contributions of all public service employees. If an employee is reassigned to a new position, we will offer them assistance as they make the transition to their new role. We want all employees to be successful,” he said.

The union and Casavant learned about the transfer earlier this week.“Bryce Casavant was following clear procedures when he decided to save these young bears,” said Smith, adding the union plans to take the issue to an arbitration hearing where an independent decision maker will determine if the transfer was warranted.

“We are very shocked and disappointed by the decision” Smith said, adding the BCGEU will “fight what we think is a very bad decision.”

“We find it very surprising. We obviously think that Bryce has shown by example how well suited he is for a position as a conservation officer and we’re surprised that the employer decided to transfer him out of that role.”

Smith said the union is hoping to get the matter to arbitration quickly, however “we are still open to reaching a settlement with the employer trying to find a settlement agreement that works for both parties,” something she says they have been trying to do from the start.

“Casavant should not have been suspended, and he should not be transferred from his job as a Conservation Officer,” says Smith, adding Casavant has a distinguished record of public service in law enforcement and she feels he did the right thing when he decided these young bears should be assessed for rehabilitation.

“The BCGEU has worked in good faith to negotiate a reasonable settlement that was satisfactory to Bryce Casavant and the Conservation Officer Service. We are surprised and disappointed by this punishment that removes him from his career. Our union remains committed to negotiating a fair and reasonable settlement,” says Smith.

“We believe Bryce Casavant was working to the highest ideals of the Conservation Officer Service whose motto is Integrity, Service and Protection.”

The BCGEU will schedule an arbitration hearing as soon as possible.Casvant’s transfer is the direct result of what Casavant’s employer, the Ministry of Environment, calls “insubordination” stemming from Casavant’s decision to disobey a direct order by his superior officer to kill two healthy, nursing baby bear cubs in Port Hardy July 3.

Casavant maintains he was simply following the Ministry of Environment’s

“Bear Conflict Matrix” policy in dealing with cubs Jordan and Athena who are currently thriving at the North Island Wildlife Recovery Centre in Errington.

Recovery Centre Wildlife Founder and Manager Robin Campbell, who has 30 years’ experience working with wildlife, has repeatedly confirmed Casavant’s assessment of the cubs.

“They show zero signs of habituation,” Campbell said in a previous article.According to the Ministry of Environment website, in 2000 the Orphan Bear Cub Review Committee proposed criteria for the rehabilitation and release of bear cubs in BC.

The review states: “In order to be considered as candidates for rehabilitation and release, cubs must be in good health (of adequate size with no serious injuries or obvious illnesses) and not be habituated to humans or conditioned to human food sources.”

That policy has been in place since 2001, although it is currently being reviewed.

In an email thread between Casavant and his superior officer, leaked to the media by  “hackweareanonymous@hushmail.com” Casavant wrote to his superior “My assessment at this time based on witness statements, health of cubs, full tits on mother, teeth of cubs, and age, is that the cubs have not accessed garbage at this time. Furthermore, within the conflict matrix they have not posed a risk to public safety at this time and do not fall within the destruction category. My primary mandate is public safety and the immediate threat has been removed (i.e. the sow). My duties as a law enforcement officer do not include the needless destruction of a baby animal that can be rehabilitated.”

Casavant was suspended without pay July 6. His pay was later reinstated after a global outcry.

 

Just Posted

Ma Murrays 2021 virtual ceremony screenshot
North Island Gazette wins big at 2021 Ma Murray Newspaper Awards

Zoe Ducklow and Bill McQuarrie both won gold at the online ceremony

Port Hardy council has agreed to cancel Canada Day celebrations in wake of the discovery of the remains of 215 children being found on the grounds of a former residential school. (North Island Gazette file photo)
Council votes to cancel Canada Day celebrations in wake of mass grave sites being found

Coun. Treena Smith made the motion for the chamber to not host Canada Day celebrations this year

Port Hardy Fire Rescue responded to an early morning fire around 3:50 a.m. on Sunday, June 13. Two porta-potties were on fire at the Visitor’s Centre on Hastings Street. Anyone with information is asked to contact the RCMP at 250-949-6335. (Port Hardy Fire Rescue photo)
Firefighters respond to early morning fire near visitor centre in Port Hardy

Two porta-potties were on fire at the Visitor’s Centre on Hastings Street

North Island MLA Michele Babchuk. Photo contributed
COMMENTARY: MLA Michele Babchuk talks the future of forestry

‘These forests are important to every single one of us, myself included’

Dr. Prean Armogam hands over a cheque for $10,000 to Hardy Bay Senior Citizens Society president Rosaline Glynn. The money will be going towards a new roof for the Port Hardy seniors centre. This is the second donation Dr. Armogam has made to the society, giving them $5,000 a little over a year ago. (Tyson Whitney - North Island Gazette)
Doctor donates $10k to Hardy Bay Senior Citizens Society for new roof

This was the second donation Armogam has given to the society

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau participates in a plenary session at the G7 Summit in Carbis Bay, England on Friday June 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada donating 13M surplus COVID-19 vaccine doses to poor countries

Trudeau says the government will pay for 87 million shots to be distributed to poor countries

Montreal Canadiens goaltender Carey Price (31) is scored on by Vegas Golden Knights defenseman Alec Martinez, not pictured, during the second period in Game 1 of an NHL hockey Stanley Cup semifinal playoff series Monday, June 14, 2021, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher)
Habs fall 4-1 to Vegas Golden Knights in Game 1 of NHL semifinal series

Match was Montreal’s first game outside of Canada in 2021

Kelowna-Lake Country MLA Norm Letnick, assistant deputy speaker at the B.C. legislature, presides over committee discussions. The legislature is completing its delayed spring session this week, with most MLAs participating by video conference. (Hansard TV)
B.C.’s daily COVID-19 infections dip below 100 over weekend

Only 68 new cases recorded Monday, four additional deaths

Gabriola Island artist Sheila Norgate is promoting the Digital Innovation Group’s art impact survey. (File photo)
Vancouver Island artists get behind regional arts impact study

Artists urged to use their stature to help put arts and culture super-region on the map

The BC Ferries website went down for a short while Monday morning following a provincial announcement that recreational travel between health authorities can resume Tuesday. (Black Press Media file photo)
BC Ferries’ website crashes in wake of provincial reopening announcement

Website back up now, recreational travel between health regions to resume as of Tuesday

Neighbours fight a small late-night bush fire with garden hoses and shovels in Cinnabar Valley on June 5. They couldn’t get help from local fire services because the fire was located in an area under B.C. Wildfire Services jurisdiction. (Photo courtesy Muriel Wells)
Neighbours on edge of Nanaimo city limits left to put out bush fire themselves

Cinnabar Valley residents tackle fire with hoses and buckets for two and a half hours

Darren Campbell’s truck (pictured) was stolen when he stopped to check on a car in a ditch on Cowichan Bay Road on Monday morning. (Facebook photo)
Vancouver Island Good Samaritan’s truck stolen in nasty trick

‘Try to be a Good Samaritan and my $20,000 truck gets stolen right under my nose’

The Kamloops Indian Residential School is photographed using a drone in Kamloops, B.C., Monday, June, 14, 2021. The remains of 215 children were discovered buried near the former school earlier this month. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Communities grapple with what to do with former residential and day schools

Some tear them down as a tool to help healing, others repurpose them as tools for moving forward

Creative handmade signs abound at the June 13 Tofino rally for old growth trees. (Nora O’Malley photo)
VIDEO: Tofino stands in solidarity for Fairy Creek Blockades

Over 150 supporters attend rally hosted by Friends of Clayoquot Sound

Most Read