Compliance and enforcement policy for wildlife legislation: chapter 7

Inspections and Investigations

The purpose of an inspection is to verify compliance with wildlife acts and regulations. Should an inspection suggest a violation, the officers will take appropriate action.

To enter and inspect premises other than a private dwelling, officers must have reasonable grounds to believe that they contain wildlife, their parts or products, or records relevant to the legislation or its administration.

During an inspection, officers may inspect wildlife, their parts or products. They may also open and examine receptacles, containers or packages, take samples, and examine and copy records.

If, during an inspection, officers have reason to believe that a violation is occurring or has taken place, they will select an appropriate response as described in the section "Responses to Violations" that is most likely to achieve the desired result. The officers may decide to act immediately or to initiate a further investigation.

To inspect a private dwelling, officers must obtain the consent of the occupant or present a warrant prepared by a justice of the peace.

Wildlife populations in Canada are under considerable stress. Reasons include loss and degradation of habitat, overharvesting and poaching, disease, and the impact of toxic substances.


Officers will conduct investigations when they have reasonable grounds to believe that an offence has been, is being, or is about to be committed under the legislation. Investigations will involve gathering evidence and information relevant to a suspected violation. Searches are components of investigations but require warrants in all but the most urgent circumstances that is, when the delay in obtaining a warrant could risk the introduction of species potentially harmful to Canadian ecosystems or cause loss or destruction of evidence.

During a search, officers may seize and detain any item that they reasonably believe may have been used to commit an offence under the legislation, is related to the commission of or will provide evidence of an offence. Officers will use their powers of seizure and detention when they believe that the seizure is necessary and in the public interest.

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