Permits for trade in protected species

The Canadian Wildlife Service (CWS) invites all applicants to continue to submit their CWS permit applications through the regular channels during the COVID-19 outbreak. While CWS will continue to strive to meet the published service standards, we would like to advise applicants that they may experience delays in obtaining a decision.

Any import, export or re-export of Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES)-listed species has to be authorized through a permitting system.  Environment and Climate Change Canada and its partners are responsible for issuing CITES permits and certificates. A specimen of CITES-listed species may be imported or exported (or re-exported) only if the appropriate permit or certificate has been obtained and presented for clearance at the port of entry or port of exit.

Important note to all exporters and importers

All required CITES permits or certificates must be obtained prior to exporting and importing the CITES-listed specimens. Permits or certificates will not be issued retroactively. As well, a CITES permit or certificate will not be issued to release CITES-listed specimens which have been detained by customs due to lack of required documents.

Note to all exporters and importers

Please be advised that in addition to holding a Canadian CITES permit or certificate it is your obligation to obtain any license, permit or certificate required under any other Canadian or foreign law for the transport, possession, import or export of the specimens.

Note to all exporters concerning shipments in transit

Please be advised that there may be additional constraints set by foreign countries should your shipment transit through those jurisdictions on route to its final destination.  It is your obligation to verify the route taken by the expeditor in order to ensure that the permit and/or certificate is applicable.

Please consult the appropriate information note to learn about the Canadian requirements to export these species:

If you have any questions, comments, or concerns about CITES permits or if you need assistance completing an application form, please contact us at or at 1-855-869-8670.

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