Conservation Officer who refused to kill two orphaned black bear cubs has been demoted, says union

The BCGEU and Bryce Casavant learned this week that he is being transferred out of the Conservation Officer Service.

Casavant was originally suspended in July when he followed Conservation Officer Service procedures and policies and determined the two cubs near Port Hardy should not be killed.

The officer had been ordered to kill the cubs by his superiors after they received information the cubs had, like their mother, eaten the food on the property and become habituated to human food.

But when the homeowner told Casavant that the 8-week-old bears had not been seen eating any food at the property he decided to go against his orders, according to Chek News.

Robin Campbell, manager of the recovery centre, said Casavant was right to save the cubs – since they have not become habituated to human food, they can still be reintroduced to the wild, he told CBC News.

“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 BCGEU president Stephanie Smith.

“Bryce Casavant was following clear procedures when he decided to save these young bears. We will pursue these issues to an arbitration hearing and ask an independent decision maker to find there was no just cause for the employer’s actions.”

“Casavant should not have been suspended, and he should not be transferred from his job as a Conservation Officer,” says Smith. “He has a distinguished record of public service in law enforcement. Bryce Casavant 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.

See original story at CBC

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