We are pleased to present Environment and Climate Change Canada’s (ECCC) 2015-2016 Annual Summary for the Wildlife Enforcement Directorate (WED) which covers the reporting period from April 1, 2015 to March 31, 2016.

This Summary is divided into four main sections: Enforcement Highlights, Our People, Our Partners and Our Resources.

In these sections, you will find key enforcement statistics for the year, an overview of our achievements and a detailed account of many of the enforcement actions taken by WED in the fiscal year 2015-2016.

This report also provides current information about some of the species and habitats across Canada that WED is mandated to protect and conserve under the federal legislation we enforce.

WED’s 2015-2016 Accomplishments

  • Over the course of the year, we conducted over 4,900 inspections and over 240 investigationsunder the legislation we enforce.

  • These inspections resulted in 908 enforcement measures, which include prosecutions, tickets, warnings and compliance orders.

  • Investigations regarding alleged offenders led to 158 convictions and 167 new prosecutions.

  • Our work resulted in over $1.1 million in penalties, which is the most ever in our history.

  • Our largest penalty was $750,000, which was imposed against a natural gas facility for its role in killing approximately 7,500 migratory birds that came into contact with burning natural gas from a flare stack. You can learn more about this case on page 6 of this report.

What Legislation is WED Responsible for?

In Canada, wildlife and its habitat are governed by several pieces of important federal, provincial and territorial legislation. The Wildlife Enforcement Directorate (WED) of ECCC’s Enforcement Branch (EB) is responsible for enforcing five federal acts and their related regulations:

  • Species at Risk Act (SARA)

  • Canada Wildlife Act (CWA)

  • Migratory Birds Convention Act, 1994 (MBCA)

  • Wild Animal and Plant Protection and Regulation of International and Interprovincial Trade Act (WAPPRIITA)

  • Provisions of the Antarctic Environmental Protection Act concerning wildlife

Together, these pieces of legislation protect plant and animal species in Canada and aim to conserve vulnerable ones in particular. The laws control human interventions, such as hunting or trade that could adversely affect long term wildlife conservation if not properly regulated. In many jurisdictions our officers may also have authority to enforce the Fisheries Act or provincial / territorial wildlife legislation.

We work very closely with EB’s Environmental Enforcement Directorate (EED), which is responsible for enforcing the federal government’s pollution and hazardous substances laws: the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999, as well as the pollution prevention provisions of both the Fisheries Act and the Antarctic Environmental Protection Act. Areas of collaboration include joint investigations of habitat and pollution crimes, training, operational assistance, intelligence as well as in program supporting functions. Learn more about EED and the important work they do every day for Canadians and the environment.

How Does WED Enforce Legislation?

WED has a team of 85 wildlife enforcement officers across Canada that have the legal authority and powers to enforce the legislation we are responsible for. These wildlife officers conduct inspections to verify compliance with legislation, undertake investigations when non-compliance is suspected, and enforce applicable legislation throughout Canada in collaboration with other provincial, territorial and federal government departments, as well as international agencies.

Our enforcement operations are informed and supported by a team of 15 skilled criminal intelligence professionals who use techniques and software to understand and predict patterns of non-compliance to better target enforcement interventions and compliance promotion efforts.

Finally, WED has a robust team of support staff who provide a foundation for our operations and programs.

WED’s Vision

To be a highly regarded law enforcement agency, respected for its effectiveness in the protection of wildlife and their habitat in Canada and for its contribution on the world stage.

WED’s Mission

To protect, respect and conserve wildlife and their habitat through the effective enforcement of federal wildlife legislation.

WED’s Guiding Principles


  1. Achieving maximum deterrence by preventing and stopping crime, and prosecuting offenders.
  2. Demonstrating leadership and vigilance locally, nationally and globally.
  3. Engaging our partners to ensure our common goals are realized.
  4. Engaging our staff at all levels to develop a national program and recognize the importance of individual contributions to this effort.



WED’s 2015-2016 Priorities

WED focusses its enforcement efforts on species at high conservation risk and/or at high risk for non-compliance. While routine and complaints-based inspections remain an important part of our enforcement program, our planned and targeted inspections are prioritized using a risk-based approach with information provided by our intelligence program. Combining these factors helps enable us to identify potential offenders who cause the most damage and to protect species at the highest risk from non-compliant human activities.

Our three priorities for 2015-2016 included:

Priority 1

Canadian species at high conservation risk and/or at high risk for non-compliance

Priority 2

Foreign species at high conservation risk and/or at high risk for non-compliance

Priority 3

Habitats or protected areas at high conservation risk and/or at high risk for non-compliance

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