Salamander permitting policy

You cannot import any specimen of the order Caudata without a permit issued by the Minister of the Environment. The order Caudata includes species commonly called salamanders, newts or mudpuppies, here referred to as “salamanders.”

“Specimen” in this policy means:

  • living or dead salamanders
  • salamander eggs, sperm, tissue culture or embryos
  • any part or derivative of a salamander

The goal of this permitting policy is to protect native salamander species. Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC) is setting two risk categories based on the best available scientific knowledge. ECCC has identified a low risk category and a high risk category. If you plan to import any salamander specimen into Canada, you must submit the application form that corresponds to the appropriate category and provide all the information requested.

 A proposed importation will generally be in the low risk category if both of the following conditions are met:

  • the species is found in the List of salamanders low risk category that is provided on the ECCC website
  • the specimen of any species either did not originate or transit through the Eurasia region

In addition, the following will also be considered in the low risk category if either of the following apply:

  • extracted DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid) regardless of the species, region of origin or where it has transited
  • any specimen in one of the following preservation agents: solutions that have a concentration ≥ 70% of ethanol, ≥ 10% formalin or formalin-fixed paraffin

All other imports will generally be considered high risk.

Importers applying to import a specimen in the low risk category need to complete the low risk category application form and to provide the requested details.

Importers applying to import a specimen in the high risk category need to complete the high risk category application form, provide the requested details and clearly show that both of the following conditions are met:

  • the imported salamander specimen(s) will not be released into Canadian ecosystems
  • appropriate measures will be in place to avoid the spread of the Batrachochytrium salamandrivorans (BSAL) fungus into Canadian ecosystems

To be eligible for a permit, organizations or individuals will also need to show that they can comply with the terms and conditions set out by ECCC. 

Each permit application will be assessed on a case-by-case basis using the best available information. This policy provides guidance on the factors that the Minister may consider when deciding whether to issue a permit.

This policy may evolve as information regarding the BSAL fungus develops.


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