Regulations amending the wild animal and plant trade regulations (WAPTR) - administrative update


The Wild Animal and Plant Protection and Regulation of International and Interprovincial Trade Act (WAPPRIITA) is designed to protect Canadian and foreign species of animals and plants that may be at risk of overexploitation because of unsustainable or illegal trade, and to safeguard Canadian ecosystems from the introduction of species designated as harmful.

The act applies to the following animal and plant species:

The act regulates the import, export and interprovincial transportation of these species.

The Wild Animal and Plant Trade Regulations (WAPTR) identify the animal and plant species that are subject to the restrictions set out in the act. It sets out a few personal exemptions applicable to the import and export of CITES-listed species.

Administrative amendments are being proposed to WAPTR to:

Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC) is seeking your comments on these proposed amendments to WAPTR. Comments received will be carefully considered in the development of proposed regulatory amendments, which are anticipated to be published in the Canada Gazette, Part I in spring 2023.

The proposed amendments are outlined in the table below.

1. Amendments to Address Decisions made at Previous Conferences of the Parties (CoP) to CITES






Implementation of Exclusions from Permitting Requirements for Certain Types of Coral Specimens

Exclusion of feces, urine and white ambergrisFootnote 1 from permitting requirements for CITES-listed species as long as they are naturally excreted/occurring. Certain types of coral specimens (coral fragments and coral sand) would also be excluded from the scope of permitting requirements. As coral fossils are not subject to the Convention and therefore excluded from permitting requirements, this proposed amendment also intends to add a definition for enforcement officers to distinguish such specimens from other types of coral specimens that do require permits.

Allows ECCC to be consistent with CITES Resolution Conf. 9.6 (Rev. CoP16) and Resolution Conf. 11.10 (Rev. CoP15).


Implementation of Introduction From the Sea (IFS)

Implementation of a mechanism for authorizing the entry into Canada of specimens of CITES-listed species collected from international waters.

Allows ECCC to be consistent with CITES Resolution Conf. 14.6 (Rev. CoP16).


Implementation of Guidelines for Transportation

Inclusion of the content of the International Air Transport Association (IATA) Live Animals Regulations (LAR), the IATA Perishable Cargo Regulations (PCR) and the CITES Guidelines for the Non-air Transport of Live Wild Animals and Plants in WAPTR, depending on the method of transport and the type of specimen involved. Standards applied by CITES for transporting live plants and animals will likewise be reflected in WAPTR.

Allows ECCC to be consistent with CITES Resolution Conf. 10.21 (Rev. CoP16).


Personal Exemption Exclusion Limits

Update to the personal exemption limit for caviar of sturgeon species (Acipenseriformes spp.) and inclusion of new personal exemption limits for specified specimens of six other taxa (cactus, crocodiles, queen conch, seahorses, giant clam and agarwood producing species).

Allows ECCC to be consistent with CITES Resolution Conf. 13.7 (Rev. CoP17).


Certificates for Multiple Entries/Exits

Implementation of a mechanism for allowing frequent cross-border movement of specimens using special certificates. It would expand the mechanism to include personally owned musical instruments, instruments from orchestras; and items in a travelling exhibition (museum, zoo, and circus).

Allows ECCC to be consistent with CITES Resolution Conf. 10.21. (Rev. CoP16), Resolution Conf. 16.8. (Rev. CoP17) and Resolution Conf. 12.3 (Rev. CoP17), Article VI.


Exemption for Non-Commercial Exchanges Between Scientific Institutions

Exemption for scientific institutions that are exchanging Appendix I specimens from requiring an import permit for non-commercial exchange.

Allows ECCC to be consistent with CITES Resolution Conf. 11.15 (Rev. CoP18).


Revision of Wording for Date of Possession Exemptions

Revision of the wording related to the exemptions on possession of listed species. The new wording would reference "before the provisions of the Convention applied in respect of that specimen" to better align with the definition of “pre-Convention specimens”.

Allows ECCC to be consistent with CITES Resolution Conf. 13.6 (Rev. CoP18).


Validation of Permits by CBSA

Requirement that the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) endorses permits, certificates or other authorizations at border crossings upon both entry into Canada and departure from Canada.

Allows ECCC to be consistent with CITES Resolution Conf. 12.3 (Rev. CoP18).


Legal Acquisition of Personal and Household Effects

Modification of the definition of personal and household effects to indicate that only specimens that were legally acquired meet the requirement. The definition would also clarify that the exemptions only apply to dead specimens.

Allows ECCC to be consistent with CITES Resolution Conf. 13.7 (Rev. CoP17).


Suspensions of trade with certain countries

Implementation of a trade suspension mechanism. The mechanism would require an import permit for the import of specimens in situations where the specimens from a certain country are subject to a recommendation to suspend trade from CITES Secretariat.

Allows ECCC to be consistent with CITES Resolution Conf. 14.3 (Rev. CoP18)

2. Amendments to Address Enforcement Issues






Revision of the Definition of Plant and Animal for the Purpose of Section 8 of the Act

At present, WAPTR does not redefine the terms “plant” or “animal” for the purposes of Section 8 of WAPPRIITA as such enforcement action can only be taken for specimen listed in CITES. The definition of “plant” and “animal” would be broadened for the purposes of section 8 of WAPPRIITA. Section 8 of WAPPRIITA prohibits the possession of CITES-listed animals imported, transported inter-provincially or offered/distributed for sale in contravention of other laws (foreign or domestic). The prohibition would be broadened to include all species of plants and as well as animals not listed under CITES.

Allows ECCC to take enforcement action related to other foreign and domestic species not included under CITES Appendices


Implementation of a New Requirement for Document Retention

New requirement that documents relating to the import into Canada of a CITES-listed species be kept for a minimum of five years after the specimen was imported. This will ensure that regulatees can prove to enforcement officers they comply with the Act and the Regulations after an initial move, redistribution or transaction of a specimen.

Will support ECCC in enforcing import-related prohibitions.


Clarification of Criteria Relating to Possession Exemptions

Provision (13)(1) under paragraph (c) of WAPTR regarding the possession exemptions would be amended to ensure that foreign specimens that were not imported into Canada legally should not be able to benefit from this exemption.

Allows ECCC to take enforcement action on potentially illegally imported species


New Possession Exemption

New exemption would be added for the possession of species that are Crown property as a result of previous enforcement action.

Allows ECCC to more effectively manage forfeited items


Definition of Hunting Trophy and Clarification of Exemption

Clarification of the definition of “hunting trophy”. For the purposes of the initial import to Canada, or initial export from Canada to a hunter’s country of residence, the specimen qualifies as a “hunting trophy”. In all subsequent cross-border movements, the specimen is no longer considered a “hunting trophy”.

The hunting trophy exemptions in paragraphs 15(2)(a) and (b) of WAPTR would only apply to the hunter who harvested the bear or Sandhill crane and who accompanied the bear or Sandhill crane specimen, part or derivative at the time of the border crossing.

Alignment with CITES definition

Allows ECCC to more effectively conduct enforcement actions


Implementation of Permit Validity Requirements

Original permits would need to accompany any specimen that is imported while surrendering the documents to Canadian authorities at entry. In addition, upon import, permits would have to be presented to Canadian authorities for endorsement along with the imported specimen.

Allows ECCC to more effectively conduct enforcement actions

3. Miscellaneous Amendments






Division of Schedule II into Two Separate Categories

The purpose of Schedule II is to protect Canadian ecosystems from invasive species and foreign-born diseases. Given that most species listed in Schedule II only constitute a threat in the case of import of live specimens, this proposed amendment would divide the list of species into two categories; one requiring an import permit at all times and the other category requiring an import permit only for live specimens. Schedule II currently makes no distinction between the previously listed two categories.

Allows ECCC to better monitor and enforce actions on trade in species that represent a high risk to Canadian ecosystems or other domestic species


Updates to Schedule III

Schedule III of WAPTR would be updated to list species that are currently listed as “Threatened” or “Endangered” under Schedule I of the Species at Risk Act (SARA).

Allows ECCC to update the list of at-risk Canadian species that are also regulated by CITES while also excluding them from exemptions


Broaden Hunting Trophy Exemption for black bear to include all types of bones

The hunting trophy exemption would be broadened to explain that all bones of black bears fall under the exemption. Organs would continue to be excluded from the exemption.

Allows ECCC to clarify exemption about black bear bones and organs


Consistency between the English and French versions of the definition of “tourist souvenir”

The definition of “tourist souvenir” under WAPTR would be consistent between the English and French versions, by clarifying the term “sojourn” refers to an individual staying outside the country for a period of at least 24 hours.

Allows ECCC to align the tourist souvenir definition in both official languages


Demonstrating a species was bred in captivity or artificially propagated

The onus of proving that a species has been bred in captivity or artificially propagated would be placed on the owner in order to demonstrate compliance with this requirement.

Allows ECCC to more effectively enforce exemptions concerning species bred in captivity or artificially propagated

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