Migratory game bird hunting: consultation on proposed service fees

Official title: Proposed service fees for the Migratory Game Bird Hunting Permits and Canadian Wildlife Habitat Conservation Stamp

From February 22 to March 21, 2018.

We want to hear from you

As an individual or organization with an interest in the Migratory Game Bird Hunting Permit and/or the Canadian Wildlife Habitat Conservation Stamp, your comments are requested on proposed service fees outlined in this document. We value your feedback and would appreciate hearing from you.


The Canadian Wildlife Service of Environment and Climate Change Canada is responsible for the management of migratory bird hunting in Canada. The Migratory Birds Regulations (the Regulations) require both a Migratory Game Bird Hunting Permit and an affixed Conservation Stamp for the hunting of any listed migratory bird.

The Canadian Wildlife Service is proposing to increase the price of the Conservation Stamp and Permit. This will help support greater habitat conservation efforts and cost recovery for the program. For example, Wildlife Habitat Canada uses proceeds raised by Conservation Stamp purchases to conserve, enhance and restore wildlife habitat across Canada. Current information can be found at the Migratory Game Bird Hunting webpage.


The purpose of this document is to seek your feedback on the proposed fee increases.       

Objectives and context

Legislative authority

The 2014 Migratory Bird Regulations under the 1994 Migratory Birds Convention Act authorize the Minister of the Environment and Climate Change Canada to issue permits for the hunting of migratory game birds. Hunters applying for permits must pay a fee as stipulated in Schedule II of the Regulations, and must also purchase a habitat conservation stamp affixed to the permit.

Current service fees and use of revenue

The current fee for the Migratory Game Bird Hunting permit is $8.50, while the Conservation Stamp is also priced at $8.50. Approximately 200,000 Permits and Stamps are sold annually. Stamp revenues support conservation activities for migratory bird habitat through a contribution agreement with Wildlife Habitat Canada. Wildlife Habitat Canada uses these funds contributed by waterfowl hunters to conserve, enhance and restore wildlife habitat across Canada. Permit revenues support efforts by the Government of Canada to manage the take of migratory game birds while ensuring healthy populations of these species.

Drivers for service fee increases

Fees and fee revenue have not kept pace with increasing costs

Fees associated with the Conservation Stamp have not increased since 1991; as such, their contribution to the conservation of wetlands and migratory bird habitat has diminished over time. It is estimated that the real value of the Stamp has decreased over 50% since 1991, reducing conservation benefits.

Fees associated with the Migratory Game Bird Hunting Permit have not increased since 1998. Current revenue from the Permit covers only about 27% of the cost of Canadian Wildlife Service activities associated with administering the migratory bird hunting program. It also fails to recover costs associated with recent measures to improve services and provide additional benefits for hunters, such as efforts to enable online permit and stamp sales.

If the fees had kept pace with inflation, the total cost of the Stamp and Permit since the last increases in these fees would the equivalent of $27.66 in 2021. This is calculated using the Bank of Canada Inflation Calculator and using a forecast of 2.1% from the Conference Board of Canada:

Hunting and Angling Advisory Panel recommended fee increases

Proposed increases to the price of the Conservation Stamp are consistent with the recommendations of the former Minister of the Environment’s Hunting and Angling Advisory Panel, which recognized the benefits associated with generating more resources to conserve wetlands and waterfowl populations. In December 2014, this Panel (which included representatives from provincial and territorial hunting and angling associations, as well as conservation and related industry associations), proposed a price increase for the Conservation Stamp, with proceeds going to Wildlife Habitat Canada. The proposed increase was $2.00 in the first year and $2.00 in the second year (from $8.50 to $12.50 in total), with annual price increases thereafter based on the Consumer Price Index.

Fees should be comparable to other countries

Although comparisons across jurisdictions can be challenging given differing land ownership patterns, permit regimes, and overlapping permit requirements between different levels of government, the current fees for the Permit and Stamp are lower than in other jurisdictions.  An increase in fees for the Conservation Stamp would be comparable to what other countries are doing; for example, the United States recently increased the cost of its federal Duck Stamp to $25.00 US dollars. Existing Permit fees are also lower than other federal permits where they exist (such as in New Zealand) and also lower than many similar migratory bird permit fees at the U.S. state or Canadian provincial and territories levels. As such, an increase in fees would bring permitting fees for Migratory Game Bird Hunting in line with fees in other similar jurisdictions.

Fees should support program cost recovery

The Migratory Game Bird Hunting Permit program provides unique services to a select group of individuals. Buying a Migratory Game Bird Hunting Permit and an affixed Conservation Stamp provides these individuals the benefit of a sustainable hunt of listed migratory birds and conserves migratory bird habitat to sustain hunting activities.  As such, program costs should be covered by those who benefit directly from the services (i.e., hunters), and not the general taxpayer, in line with the intent of the new Service Fees Act.

Departmental costs for administering the Migratory Game Bird Hunting Permit program are detailed in the table below.  As the department moves more towards e-permitting, costs are expected to be reduced for activities associated with providing hunting regulation summaries and delivery of the permit itself.  Both core program costs and total program costs are provided in Table 1 below, with core costs excluding all enforcement costs and excluding 25% of the cost of conducting waterfowl surveys (which serves other program needs).

Table 1: Projected program costs reflecting gradual Increase in the use of e-permits
Projected program Program activities Costs ($)

Physical permits and e-permits

Costs ($)

Physical permits and e-permits

Costs ($)

Physical permits and e-permits

Costs ($)

Physical permits and e-permits

Costs ($)

E-permit only
Core program activities Regulatory Revisions 323,754 323,754 323,754 323,754 323,754
Core program activities Hunting Summaries 95,425 93,425 91,425 89,425 65,425
Core program activities Permitting 1,399,633 1,553,118 1,197,252 1,106,386 217,260
Core program activities Wildlife Habitat Canada Oversight and Partnership 41,980 41,980 41,980 41,980 41,980
Core program activities Harvest Survey 467,231 467,231 467,231 467,231 467,231
Core program activities Crop Damage Prevention Program 186,043 186,043 186,043 186,043 186,043
Core program activities Waterfowl Surveys (75%) 2,199,045 2,199,045 2,199,045 2,199,045 2,199,045
blank Core costs 4,713,111 4,864,596 4,506,730 4,413,864 3,500,738
Broader program activities Enforcement 853,820 853,820 853,820 853,820 853,820
Broader program activities Waterfowl Surveys (25%) 733,015 733,015 733,015 733,015 733,015
Broader program activities Sub-total 1,586,835 1,586,835 1,586,835 1,586,835 1,586,835
blank Total costs 6,299,946 6,451,431 6,093,565 6,000,699 5,087,573

Proposal to increase service fees

Environment and Climate Change Canada is proposing to increase the services fees to both the Conservation Stamp and Permit at the same rate. This would build on the proposal from the Hunting and Angling Advisory Panel ($2.00 in Year 1, $2.00 in Year 2), and include an additional increase in the third year of $1.50. This would result in a combined Stamp and Permit cost of $28.00 by 2021.

In addition, new fees would be introduced to cover the costs of producing and/or mailing physical products to customers, including:

By 2021, these fees would generate estimated increased annual revenue of $960,000 for Wildlife Habitat Canada and $1,653,500 for Environment and Climate Change Canada.

Note that future increases in the fees would be tied to the Consumer Price Index and take place on a four-year interval basis. The Department would re-examine its expenditures every 4 years to ensure that fees collected do not total more than internal program costs, as costs may decrease with increased e-permitting.

Table 2: Proposed service fee increases
blank Stamp fee Permit fee Total fee Total estimated revenue

Wildlife Habitat Canada
Total estimated revenue

Environment and Climate Change Canada
% of government program cost recovery achieved
Current $8.50 $8.50 $17.00 $1.700 M $1.700 M 36% of core costs
27% of total costs
Aug 2019 to
June 2020
$10.50 $10.50 $21.00 $2.100 M $2.816 M 58% of core costs
44% of total costs
Aug 2020 to
June 2021
$12.50 $12.50 $25.00 $2.500 M $3.149 M 70% of core costs
52% of total costs
Aug 2021 to
June 2022Footnote 1
$14.00 $14.00 $28.00 $2.660 M $3.354 M 76% of core costs
56% of total costs
Additional fees Physical permit: $5.00Footnote 2  
Physical stamp: $2.00Footnote 3
blank blank blank blank blank

Rationale for fee increases

Service fee increases are recommended for the following reasons:


Performance standards

Current service standards for Migratory Game Bird Hunting Permits are as follows:

These standards are measured by tracking the number of complaints received against the total number of Migratory Game Bird Hunting Permits sold in a given fiscal year. The target is set at 99%. Applicants are encouraged to contact Canadian Wildlife Service in the event that they encounter any difficulties when attempting to purchase an Migratory Game Bird Hunting Permit (whether in person or online).

Remission provisions

If a customer is not provided with a permit within 2 days (or 48 hours from the time of application) during hunting season, then the customer may apply by email for a refund.  The refund will be on the permit component only (which represents 50% of the total fee [the total fee includes both the permit and the conservation stamp fees]). Applications will be assessed as eligible for a refund as follows:

Table 3: Remission provisions
Delay in receiving permit during hunting season % refund

% of permit fee
% refund

% of total fee
2 to 5 days (48 to 120 hours) 50% 25%
More than 5 days (121 hours or more) 100% 50%

Customers will not be eligible for a refund on the Permit fee if:

No refund will be provided on the Stamp fee as the revenue goes to a not-for-profit organization outside of government which will deliver the service for which the revenue has been collected.

Next steps

All comments received on this proposal to increase service fees will be reviewed and considered in determining future service fees increases for the Migratory Game Bird Hunting Permit and affixed Conservation Stamp.

Any changes to service fees will require an amendment to the Migratory Birds Regulations. If service fees are to be increased, the following process will be followed and this process allows for further public input:

Table 4: Next steps
Task Timing
Regulatory Proposal Development March to June 2018
Canada Gazette I Publication and 30-day Comment Period October 2018
Final Regulatory Proposal Development October 2018 to April 2019
Canada Gazette II Publication Spring 2019

We want to hear from you

Request for feedback

The Canadian Wildlife Service wishes to solicit feedback on this proposal to ensure that all viewpoints have been considered before final proposals are drafted.

As you read through this document, we ask that you consider:

These questions are by no means exhaustive and are not intended to limit the amount, depth or focus of your feedback. They are simply suggestions to help guide your thinking, and to support us in achieving uniformity and alignment in implementing the feedback we receive.

Please note: Environment and Climate Change Canada will not be able to respond directly to those who submit comments, but please be assured that your input will be carefully considered in the decisions that will be made.

We value your feedback on the options and would appreciate hearing from you

Please ensure that Environment and Climate Change Canada receives your comments no later than March 21, 2018:

By email to:  ec.ReglementsFaune-WildlifeRegulations.ec@canada.ca

By mail to:

Wildlife Management and Regulatory Affairs Division
Canadian Wildlife Service
Environment and Climate Change Canada
351  St-Joseph Boulevard 16th floor
Place Vincent Massey
Gatineau QC K1A 0H3

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