Quebec company guilty of illegally exporting polar bear skin rugs

News Release

October 23, 2017 – Montréal, Quebec – Environment and Climate Change Canada

Illegal trafficking of wildlife is not acceptable in Canada. Unlawfully exploiting threatened species for profit will not be tolerated.

On October 3, 2017, Fourrures Mont-Royal Inc. pleaded guilty, in the Court of Quebec, to three counts under the Wild Animal and Plant Protection and Regulation of International and Interprovincial Trade Act relating to the illegal exportation of three polar bear skin rugs. The company was fined $22,500, which will go to the Environmental Damages Fund. In addition, two polar bear skin rugs were ordered forfeited to the Crown. The company had initially presented the two rugs for sale, with a value of $17,000, to an Ontario fur auction house.

In 2015, Environment and Climate Change Canada’s wildlife enforcement officers launched an investigation when discrepancies surrounding submissions made to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) permit office led to the discovery of one polar bear skin rug located in Canada, but information showed it had previously been exported to China. The investigation found that the company, on three occasions, illegally exported polar bear skins to China.

An additional four polar bear skins, both rugs and hides, were forfeited upon consent by two other companies that were in possession of the skins at the time of the investigation. Two of these skins were listed for retail sale for a total of $30,000.

As a result of this conviction, the company's name will be added to the Environmental Offenders Registry.

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Quick Facts

  • The Wild Animal and Plant Protection and Regulation of International and Interprovincial Trade Act is the legislation used to implement CITES in Canada.

  • More than 180 countries, including Canada, have signed the CITES agreement. These countries work together to protect thousands of the world’s most threatened species.

  • CITES sets controls on the worldwide trade and movement of more than 33 000 animal and plant species that have been, or may be, threatened due to excessive exploitation and trade. CITES uses an international permit system, as administered by national jurisdictions, to regulate trade in CITES-listed species.

  • To obtain a CITES-export permit for a polar bear skin, specific documents must be submitted to the CITES permit office, including the confirmation of the date of harvest, proof of legal harvest, a copy of the provincial or territorial wildlife export permit (if applicable), or proof of purchase when specimens are lawfully taken from the wild for commercial purposes.

  • The Environmental Damages Fund is administered by Environment and Climate Change Canada. Created in 1995, it provides a way to direct funds received as a result of fines, court orders, and voluntary payments to projects that will benefit our natural environment.

  • The Environmental Offenders Registry contains information on convictions of corporations registered for offences committed under certain federal environmental laws.

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