On November 5, 2009, the Governor in Council issued an Order in Council setting out the Terms of Reference for the Cohen Commission, formally named the Commission of Inquiry into the Decline of Sockeye Salmon in the Fraser River. The Honourable Bruce Cohen, a justice of the Supreme Court of British Columbia, has been appointed Commissioner under Part 1 of the Inquiries Act.
The inquiry will be conducted in two phases. During the first phase, the Commissioner will review and assess any previous examinations, investigations or reports that he deems relevant to the inquiry and the Government’s responses to those examinations, investigations and reports.
Phase two will investigate and make independent findings of fact regarding:
the causes for the decline of Fraser River sockeye salmon including, but not limited to, the impact of environmental changes along the Fraser River, marine environmental conditions, aquaculture, predators, diseases, water temperature and other factors that may have affected the ability of sockeye salmon to reach traditional spawning grounds or reach the ocean, and
the current state of Fraser River sockeye salmon stocks and the long term projections for those stocks, and
to develop recommendations for improving the future sustainability of the sockeye salmon fishery in the Fraser River including, as required, any changes to the policies, practices and procedures of the Department (of Fisheries and Oceans) in relation to the management of the Fraser River sockeye salmon fishery.
Brian Wallace, Q.C. is the Commission’s Senior Counsel, Keith Hamilton, Q.C. is the Commission’s Policy Counsel and Wendy Baker, Q.C. Brock Martland and Patrick McGowan are Associate Commission Counsel. Jennifer Chan, Kathy Grant, Maia Tsurumi and Lara Tessaro have been appointed as Junior Commission Counsel.
The office of the Commission is located in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.