New Migratory Birds Regulations, 2022

The Migratory Birds Regulations have been modernized, and the new Migratory Birds Regulations, 2022 came into force on July 30, 2022.

Background

The objective of the Migratory Birds Regulations is the conservation of migratory birds, including their eggs and nests, in Canada. Implemented in 1918, the regulations were first developed to address the overharvesting and unregulated commerce of migratory birds. This is the first time that the Migratory Birds Regulations have been comprehensively updated or revised. The modernization was necessary to better respond to the current challenges facing migratory birds.

Details on the changes made, including rationale, feedback received during the consultation on the proposal, as well as benefits and costs, can be found in the Regulatory Impact Analysis Statement, published in the Canada Gazette, Part II on June 8, 2022.

The implementation of the Migratory Birds Regulations, 2022 is the first step in the modernization of the regulations. Future regulatory amendments are being planned, beginning with amendments to the eligibility for damage or danger permits.

What has changed with the introduction of the Migratory Birds Regulations, 2022

Below are some of the main changes made with the introduction of the Migratory Birds Regulations, 2022.

General

Increased clarity by updating outdated language, incorporating current legal standards, eliminating errors, inconsistencies and ambiguities, and restructuring the regulations by placing related information into distinct parts

Nest protection

Temporary possession of a migratory bird

Indigenous peoples

  • Recognition of existing Aboriginal and treaty harvesting rights recognized and affirmed under section 35 of the Constitution Act, 1982
  • Modernized language to ensure that the Migratory Birds Regulations, 2022 more fully represent Indigenous peoples and their Aboriginal and treaty rights specifically, the use, gifting, sale or exchange of feathers, the right to hunt, gift or exchange migratory birds, and the right to harvest their eggs

Migratory game bird hunting

  • Introduction of the free Migratory Game Bird Hunting Permit and Canadian Wildlife Habitat Conservation Stamp for youth/minors (under 18 years of age)
  • Concept of preservation of harvested birds introduced, with preserved birds (except for murres) no longer counting towards the possession limit. Preserved birds do not need to be labelled
  • Harvested birds may be donated for charitable purposes
  • Cross bows may be used to hunt migratory birds
  • Minimum requirements introduced for arrows and bolts
  • The use of drones for hunting migratory birds is prohibited
  • Choice to leave either a fully feathered head or wing on unpreserved birds
  • Birds found shot and picked up count in the hunter’s daily bag limit (even if shot by someone else)
  • Prohibition on the abandonment of harvested birds
  • The temporary possession of murres by a third party is limited to twice the daily bag limit
  • Open season, bag and possession limit tables (Schedule 3) have been re-formatted so that it is easier to see all of the required information by hunting district/zone

Other migratory birds permits

  • Change in requirements for who may obtain a Scientific Permit means that more people who have the relevant skills are eligible
  • New Charity Permit allows the permit holder to accept harvested preserved birds, and to serve them as a meal (charitable dinner or soup kitchen) or to give them to customers of a food bank
  • Toxic shot may not be used or possessed under a damage or danger permit for the purposes of scaring or killing birds
  • Birds taken under certain damage and danger permits may be gifted

Next steps: Continued evolution of the Migratory Birds Regulations, 2022 - Future amendments under consideration

With the coming into force of the Migratory Birds Regulations, 2022, Environment and Climate Change Canada has began the process of evaluating and monitoring its implementation, and continues to engage with stakeholders.

Several regulatory amendment initiatives to the Migratory Birds Regulations are currently under consideration. Some are part of the regular process, such as the biennial migratory birds hunting amendments, while others are to deal with issues that have long, or recently, been identified as priorities.

For more information

If you have questions on the Migratory Birds Regulations, 2022 you may contact us at ReglementsFaune-WildlifeRegulations@ec.gc.ca.

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