Wild animal and plant trade and protection act 2019 annual report: chapter 1

1. Introduction

The Wild Animal and Plant Protection and Regulation of International and Interprovincial Trade Act (WAPPRIITA) annual report fulfills the Minister of the Environment's obligation, under section 28 of WAPPRIITA, to report annually on the administration of the act. This report covers the administration of the act for the year 2019.

This section provides information on WAPPRIITA and outlines the responsibilities of Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC) in administering the act. Subsequent sections discuss the following:

1.1 WAPPRIITA and CITES

Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) came into force in 1975 and it has been adopted by over 180 countries. CITES sets controls on the trade in and international movement of animal and plant species that are, or may become, threatened with over-exploitation because of trade pressures. Such species are identified by the Parties to the Convention and are listed in one of three appendices to the Convention according to the degree of protection they need.

Appendix I

Species that are threatened with extinction

Appendix II

Species that are not currently threatened but may become so unless trade is restricted

Appendix III

Species included upon request of a country to seek cooperation of other countries

WAPPRIITA and the Wild Animal and Plant Trade Regulations (WAPTR) came into force on May 14, 1996, and provide Canada with the authority to regulate trade in animal and plant species, helping Canada meet its international obligations under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES).

WAPPRIITA’s main purpose is to protect certain species of animals and plants, by implementing CITES, regulating international and interprovincial trade in animals and plants, and safeguarding Canadian ecosystems from the introduction of harmful species. WAPPRIITA also regulates the interprovincial trade of plants and animals as well as prohibiting the import of species taken, possessed, distributed or transported in contravention of any law of any foreign state.

WAPTR includes authorities to issue permits, provide exemptions to permitting requirements, and to define the animals and plants that are subject to permitting. While the focus is mainly on CITES, WAPTR also has provisions for controlling the import of species which may be deemed injurious to Canadian ecosystems through a permitting regime. Species whose trade is controlled in Canada are listed on the three schedules of the WAPTR.

Schedule I

Includes all animals listed as fauna and all plants listed as flora in the three CITES appendices. These species require permits for import/export unless otherwise exempted.

Schedule II

Lists other plant and animal species which do not necessarily appear in the CITES appendices but require an import permit. These are species that may pose a risk to Canadian ecosystems.

Schedule III

Lists the Schedule I species that are recognized as endangered or threatened within Canada.

1.2 Responsibilities in administering WAPPRIITA

ECCC is responsible for administering WAPPRIITA, and is the designated Management Authority and Scientific Authority for the purpose of CITES.

As the Management Authority, ECCC has overall responsibility for verifying and validating requests for international trade of specimens of animals and plants that are regulated under CITES originating from or destined for Canada. This responsibility includes issuing CITES permits and certificates.

As the Scientific Authority, ECCC has overall responsibility in Canada for determining whether the international trade of a species is detrimental to its survival. This responsibility includes monitoring the international trade of wild animals and plants to and from Canada to ensure that current levels of trade are sustainable.

Fisheries and Oceans Canada is responsible for the issuance of permits and validation of export requests for specimens of CITES-listed aquatic species. Natural Resources Canada serves as an advisor on CITES issues related to timber and tree species. Further information on the roles and responsibilities of federal departments in the implementation and administration of CITES can be found online.

ECCC oversees the enforcement of WAPPRIITA, which is carried out in cooperation with other federal agencies, such as the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA), and with provincial and territorial wildlife agencies. Border officials play an important role at ports of entry, manually verifying and validating permits, and referring shipments to ECCC personnel for inspection, as required.

ECCC maintains enforcement agreements and memoranda of understanding with Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta, British Columbia, the Northwest Territories and Nunavut. Under the agreements and memoranda of understanding, these four provinces and two territories are responsible for enforcing WAPPRIITA with respect to interprovincial wildlife trade within their jurisdictions.

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