Scientific permits

A Scientific Permit issued by Canadian Wildlife Service (CWS) under the Migratory Bird Regulations, 2022, (MBR) may, for scientific purposes, including banding, or for rehabilitation or educational purposes, authorize the permit holder to:

Application and report forms

Service standards for Scientific permits are that 90% of decisions are made within 40 calendar days or 20 days before the permit is required, whichever is later. A 90-day service standard applies to any permit applications which may affect a species protected by the Species at Risk Act (SARA).

Scientific permits are free of charge and are valid until the expiry date indicated on the permit or December 31 of the year in which it was issued if no expiry date is listed.

To submit an application, see How to submit a Scientific permit application.

What application modules are required

Module 1 and Module 2 are mandatory for all applicants. The two modules must be submitted with any other relevant modules.

Which additional application module(s) should I submit

Your proposed activities for your project/program determine which module(s) to submit with the required modules. The scenarios listed below should provide you with a better understanding of which modules may be relevant to your application.

Possible scenarios for submitting a Scientific Permit application


Corresponding modules

You are collecting migratory bird nests for a museum display or collection

4 and 6

You are a biologist studying a migratory bird species under the SARA for a research paper, which requires handling invasive individuals to take samples

3, 4, 5, 6, and 7

You are applying on behalf of a wildlife centre that rehabilitates injured migratory birds

5, and 7

You wish to band birds independently or as part of a larger project

3, and 7

You are a researcher studying wild migratory birds that you capture, hold temporarily in captivity, and band at release months later

3, 5, and 7

Please refer to the How to submit a scientific permit application section for more information on how to submit a completed application.

Activities that do not require a Scientific Permit

Activities that do not require a Scientific Permit include:

Who can apply

Scientific Permits are only issued to individuals who are qualified to undertake the proposed activities related to studies aimed at developing scientific knowledge in a given sector. Permits cannot be issued to organizations, a qualified individual (employee, volunteer, etc.) must apply on behalf of the organization.

Depending on the Scientific purpose and proposed activities, you may also be required to obtain additional certifications, licenses and/or provincial/territorial permits. Possible supporting documentation include:

Nominees are individuals who will be undertaking the permitted activities with, or on behalf, of the permit holder. If a permit is issued, the permit holder is responsible for the actions of the nominees under their supervision while conducting the activities authorized under the permit, and for ensuring that the nominees are properly qualified and instructed for the tasks they will be undertaking. Nominees cannot be added and will not be authorized on Scientific permits issued for bird banding purposes.

What kind of Scientific permit do I need

A Scientific Permit may be issued to a person who acts with a Scientific purpose, meaning that the purpose of the project is related to studies and systematic investigations that are aimed at developing scientific knowledge, including migratory bird conservation and management, in a given sector. Scientific permits are issued for four purposes, as described in the MBR.

Bird banding

As part of the North American Bird Banding Program, the Canadian Bird Banding Office in Ottawa issues Scientific Banding Permits to capture and band migratory birds in Canada under the authority of the Migratory Birds Convention Act and the Species at Risk Act . A Scientific Banding permit can authorize the capture, banding and marking of birds with federal bird bands, electronic devices or other auxiliary markers, the collection of biological samples from free-living birds and other activities.

For more information on banding permits, visit the Bird banding permits webpage.

Relevant application modules are 3 and 7.

Non-Banding scientific purposes

Non-Banding Scientific Permits authorize their holders to conduct activities involving migratory birds for the advancement of scientific knowledge. A permit is required to undertake a scientific research activity that would alter or influence the activities of the migratory birds under study. For instance, removing a migratory bird nest and dissecting it to study its composition.

Additional eligibility requirements to process an application may include:

Relevant application modules are 4, 6 and 7.

Rehabilitation purposes

A Scientific Rehabilitation Permit authorizes the temporary care of injured, sick or oiled migratory birds for purposes of treatment and care or for the rescue of displaced migratory birds, and their subsequent release to appropriate habitats in the wild.

Additional eligibility requirements to process an application may include:

Relevant application modules are 5 and 7.

Educational purposes

A Scientific Educational permit authorizes the use of live migratory birds or mounted or preserved birds for training and/or to promote conservation and increase knowledge of migratory birds. Specimens, eggs or nests are used either passively as a display or actively through interactive demonstrations.

Additional eligibility requirements to process an application for non-living specimens collections include:

Additional eligibility requirements to process an application for live collections include:

Relevant application modules are 5, 6 and 7.

How to submit a Scientific permit application

Complete the application form and attach all required documentation. Where you submit your completed application form for a new permit or renewal depends on your Scientific purposes(s) and location. If you are applying for:

Contact information for regional CWS offices is found below.

Reporting requirements

It is the responsibility of a Scientific permit holder to record the exact number of birds, eggs and/or nests and their species affected by the activities carried out under the permit in the annual report. Report due dates are indicated on the issued permit.

Contact information for Canadian Wildlife Service offices (by region)

Bird Banding Office
1125 Colonel By Drive (Raven Rd)
Ottawa ON K1A 0H3

Telephone: 613-998-0524

Atlantic region: New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia, and Prince Edward Island
17 Waterfowl Lane
P.O. Box 6227
Sackville NB E4L 1G6

Telephone: 506-364-5068
Fax: 506-364-5062

Quebec region
801-1550 Avenue d'Estimauville
Quebec QC G1J 0C3

Telephone: 418-649-6129
Fax: 418-648-4871

Ontario region
335 River Road
Ottawa ON K1V 1C7

Telephone: 613-990-8355
Fax: 613-990-8400

Prairie region: Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba
115 Perimeter Road
Saskatoon SK S7N 0X4

Telephone: 306-975-6794
Fax: 306-975-4089

Pacific region: British Columbia
60 Front Street L3
Nanaimo BC V9R 5H7

Telephone: 250-327-4101

Northern region: Northwest Territories, Nunavut and Yukon
PO Box 1870
Suite 301, 933 Mivvik St.
Iqaluit NU X0A 0H0

Telephone: 867-975-4636
Fax: 867-975-4645

Related links

Page details

Date modified: