Wildlife Area Regulations: frequently asked questions

The Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) below are meant to provide Canadians and Canadian businesses with basic information about the Wildlife Area Regulations.

1. What is the purpose of these regulations?

The purpose of the Wildlife Area Regulations is to restrict activities in designated National Wildlife Areas in order to allow for the conservation of migratory birds and other wildlife and their habitat.

2. What are the key elements of these regulations?

The Wildlife Area Regulations designate and establish National Wildlife Areas, which are identified in Schedule I of the regulations. The regulations prohibit certain activities in National Wildlife Areas, unless the Minister of the Environment has issued a permit or posted a public notice at the entrance to the wildlife area or on its boundary or in a local newspaper authorizing the activity.

The prohibited activities listed in the regulations are:

  • hunting or fishing;
  • possession of any firearm, slingshot, bow and arrow, shot other than non-toxic shot or any instrument that could be used for the purpose of hunting;
  • possession of any lead sinkers or jigs that weigh less than 50 grams while fishing;
  • possession of an animal, carcass, nest, egg or a part of any of those things;
  • damage, destruction or removal of a plant;
  • conducting any agricultural activity, grazing livestock or harvesting any natural or cultivated crop;
  • allowing any domestic animal to run at large;
  • swimming, picnicking, camping or carrying on any other recreational activity or lighting or maintaining a fire;
  • operating a conveyance;
  • destroying or molesting animals or carcasses, nests or eggs thereof;
  • removing, defacing, damaging or destroying any artifact, natural object, building, fence, poster, sign or other structure;
  • carrying on any commercial on industrial activity;
  • disturbing or removing any soil, sand, gravel or other material; or
  • dumping or depositing any rubbish, waste material or substance that would degrade or alter the quality of the environment.

3. How do these regulations affect Canadian businesses?

Given that there are generally no fees or restrictions associated with entry into a National Wildlife Area (except for the Cap Tourmente National Wildlife Area in Quebec) this regulation can be beneficial to eco-tourism related businesses. In fact, some National Wildlife Areas are popular tourist destinations as they provide opportunities for interpretation and recreational activities in natural areas that are abundant in wildlife.

As National Wildlife Areas are found throughout Canada, impacts on specific businesses depend on their specific location. Businesses who wish to undertake a prohibited activity in a National Wildlife Area must obtain a permit by contacting the appropriate regional office of Environment Canada's Canadian Wildlife Service. A permit would generally be issued for an activity if it aligns with the Policy when Considering Permitting or Authorizing Prohibited Activities in Protected Areas Designated under the Canada Wildlife Act and Migratory Birds Convention Act, 1994. No fee is charged for permits issued under the Wildlife Area Regulations.

4. What is the timeline for implementation?

The Wildlife Area Regulations, made under the authority of the Canada Wildlife Act, came into force in 1977 and were last amended in 2010.

5. Where can I get more information?

More information on the National Wildlife Areas and on the Environment Canada protected area network can be found online.

For more information on the Wildlife Area Regulations, please contact Environment Canada's Canadian Wildlife Service by email cwspermit.permisscf@ec.gc.ca or toll free at 1-855-869-8670. The appropriate regional office may also be contacted in writing.

Environment Canada's Canadian Wildlife Service Regional Offices

Atlantic Region
Canadian Wildlife Service
Environment Canada
17 Waterfowl Lane,
Sackville, NB
E4L 1G6

Quebec Region
Canadian Wildlife Service
Environment Canada
1550 d'Estimauville Avenue
Québec, QC
G1J 0C3

Ontario Region
Canadian Wildlife Service
Environment Canada
4905 Dufferin Street
Toronto, ON
M3H 5T3

Prairie and Northern Region
Canadian Wildlife Service
Environment Canada
Eastgate Offices
9250 49 Street NW,
Edmonton, AB
T6B 1K5

Pacific and Yukon Region
Canadian Wildlife Service
Environment Canada
5421 Robertson Road
Delta, BC
V4K 3N2

This document is intended to provide contextual information on the Wildlife Area Regulations. It does not replace the Canada Wildlife Act or the Wildlife Area Regulations. If there is a discrepancy between this document and the Canada Wildlife Act or the Wildlife Area Regulations, the Act and Regulations prevail.

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