Legal protection of migratory birds: overview

This section provides an overview of the legal protection of migratory birds in Canada.

To protect migratory birds, the Government of Canada:

  • develops and implements policies and regulations
  • manages hunting of migratory game birds
  • works with partners to conserve migratory birds and their habitats
  • provides permits for specific activities

The Migratory Bird Convention Act, 1994:

  • protects migratory birds, their nests and eggs anywhere they are found in Canada, including ocean waters
  • prohibits the dumping of substances harmful to birds in waters or areas frequented by them

The Migratory Birds Convention Act, 1994 is implemented through two regulations:

In addition, migratory birds might also be protected by other laws and regulations, such as:

  • Species at Risk Act
  • provincial and territorial law

When you are planning activities that might affect migratory birds, it is your responsibility to know which laws and regulations apply. Some relevant provincial and territorial laws are linked below. This is not a complete list of all relevant laws.

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