A conservation officer who lost his job for refusing to kill two orphaned bear cubs is suing to get his job back.
Bryce Casavant made international headlines in 2015 when he declined an order to kill the cubs whilst working as a public service conservation officer in British Columbia, Canada. He was subsequently fired from his position for refusing to follow orders, a decision which he challenged before the courts.
Casavant had been dispatched to a mobile home park where a female black bear was spotted rummaging through a freezer of frozen meat and salmon. Under a provincial order, he shot and killed the mother but decided against harming her cubs who were found eating food and garbage nearby.
‘Instead of complying with the kill order, he took the cubs to a veterinarian who assessed them and transferred them to the North Island Recovery Centre,’ documents at the Court of Appeal said.
While the judge ultimately ruled that Casavnt had acted within the law when he decided to rescue to cubs, he was not allowed to return to his job, and his request for the reactivation of his badge and the re-issuing of his uniform was rejected.
In a new lawsuit, filed February 23, Casavant is asking his employer to return his job and all the pay he has lost in the last five years.
In the filing at the British Columbia Supreme Court, he is also seeking a declaration that he is still a conservation officer and was never legally dismissed, as per the Toronto Star.
‘I have always maintained that a constable cannot be ordered to kill — it’s an illegal order. Public service policing has been my passion and chosen career path since my early twenties. It is disgraceful and frustrating to be continually denied the ability to immediately return to my post,’ Casavant told the publication.
Casavant’s lawyer is asking the court to reinstate his position, with a salary of approximately $55,000 to $75,000, as well as back pay. Casavant is asking the court to set an amount of back wages owed to him, as this was not addressed in the Court of Appeal’s ruling.
‘Mr. Casavant simply wants the job which was unlawfully taken from him back. The process that was used to take his job was declared void by the Court of Appeal, so there is no lawful basis for the province to deny him that,’ his lawyer, Arden Beddoes said.