Compliance and enforcement policy for wildlife legislation

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Wildlife and its habitat are very important to Canadians. They are reflected in the image Canadians have of themselves and of their country. They have great aesthetic value and provide recreation and relaxation benefits. They are an integral part of the cultural heritage of aboriginal peoples and are a resource of significant economic value. For these and other reasons, Canadians are determined to conserve their wildlife heritage.

Wildlife in this policy refers to all wild organisms and their habitats.

In order to protect wildlife and its habitat, to maintain and restore biological processes and biodiversity, and to ensure that all uses of wildlife are sustainable, Canadians have taken on local, national, and international obligations.

Environment Canada (EC) has the responsibility and authority to implement certain legislation:

  • the Canada Wildlife Act, by maintaining and protecting National Wildlife Areas;
  • the Migratory Birds Convention Act, 1994, by managing and protecting certain species of migratory birds that inhabit Canada during the whole, or any part of the, year;
  • the Wild Animal and Plant Protection and Regulation of International and Interprovincial Trade Act, by protecting certain species of wildlife for the conservation of Canadian and foreign species and preventing the introduction of species potentially harmful to Canadian ecosystems; and
  • the Species at Risk Act, by protecting species at risk in Canada, their residences and their critical habitat.

This document describes EC's compliance and enforcement policy that is required to guide overall implementation of these four acts. The guidelines contained in this policy will assist in ensuring efficient, fair, and consistent compliance and enforcement of wildlife legislation under the mandate of the Department.


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