Public notice: hazing of migratory birds in environmental emergencies

We are informing the public of the exceptions to paragraph 5(1)(a) and subsection 27(1) of the Migratory Birds Regulations, 2022.

“Hazing" is the act of deterring migratory birds away from a location for conservation purposes, and is a key tool in preventing migratory birds from contacting hazards during an environmental emergency (e.g., during an oil spill). While hazing is recognized as a beneficial practice to prevent harm to migratory birds in environmental emergencies, the activities that constitute hazing including harassing, chasing, pursuing, worrying, following after or on the trail of, and lying in wait for are prohibited under paragraph 5(1)(a) and subsection 27(1) of the Migratory Birds Regulations, 2022.

The Minister of the Environment issues this notice under the authority of section 20 of the Migratory Birds Regulations, 2022 to vary the application of paragraph 5(1)(a) and subsection 27(1) of the Migratory Birds Regulations, 2022. This notice applies during environmental emergencies, which are uncontrolled or unexpected incidents involving the release of a substance that is harmful to migratory birds, into any location frequented by migratory birds, that results, or may result, in an immediate or long-term harmful effect to migratory birds. These environmental emergencies are to be reported to the designated authorities operating for the respective province or territory to which notifications are to be made.

The notice applies to any person or organization who is responsible for the source or cause of an environmental emergency (known as the “responsible party”); any personnel or organization responding on behalf of the responsible party; and the governmental authority that regulates or has authority over their response and its appropriateness (known as the “lead agency”).

The notice permits the above-mentioned individuals or organizations, in environmental emergencies as described above, to temporarily chase, pursue, worry, follow after or on the trail of, lie in wait for, or harass (also known as “haze”) migratory birds, using non-lethal methods, in order to deter the migratory birds away from the location affected by the environmental emergency. For each individual incident, hazing activities may occur for as long as there is a danger to migratory birds caused by the environmental emergency, and must cease once that danger has passed. The hazing must be reported to the designated authorities operating for the respective province or territory to which notifications are to be made.

In all other circumstances, the prohibitions in paragraph 5(1)(a) and subsection 27(1) remain in effect. This notice comes into force for a period of one year from October 27, 2023. The Government of Canada is responsible, under the Migratory Birds Convention Act, 1994, to ensure that populations of migratory birds are maintained, protected, and conserved.

Related links

Page details

Date modified: