Instruction sheet: Applying for a National Wildlife Area permit under the Wildlife Area Regulations

General information

The application form titled “Application for a National Wildlife Area permit under the Wildlife Area Regulations” is the form to use when applying for a National Wildlife Area permit, except for the Scott Islands marine National Wildlife Area. If you are applying for a project within this protected area, please consult the document “Instruction Sheet: Applying for a Protected Areas permit under the Scott Islands Protected Marine Area Regulations”, as well as the accompanying permit application.

A National Wildlife Area (NWA) permit issued under the Wildlife Area Regulations (WAR) authorizes the permit holder to undertake an activity that would otherwise be prohibited in a NWA under Sections 3 and 3.3 of the WAR. A NWA permit does not allow the permit holder to contravene all regulations in Sections 3 and 3.3 of the WAR, only the regulations listed on the permit.

Note: The permit holder must ensure compliance with the Species at Risk Act (SARA) when undertaking any actions affecting species, or their residences or habitat, that are listed as threatened, endangered or extirpated pursuant to Schedule 1 of SARA. Please consult the SARA to determine if an additional external authorization is required. Some projects may also require additional assessment under the authority of the Impact Assessment Act (IAA). The permit holder must also consult other existing laws and regulations that may prevail and apply, depending on the proposed activities.

When completing an application for a Protected Area permit, please note that:

1. All applicable sections must be completed accurately and precisely. Incomplete or illegible application forms will not be accepted and will result in a delay in the processing of the application.

2. Additional sheets may be attached (if the space provided is insufficient) as well as relevant supporting documents such as photographs, proven survey/mitigation methodology references,  and detailed maps. All additional documents and supplemental responses must be noted in Appendix A.

3. The applicant must sign Section 7 of the application; unsigned applications will be considered incomplete.

Once the application is complete it should be sent to the Canadian Wildlife Service (CWS) office of the region where the protected area is situated. Any questions may also be directed to the appropriate regional CWS office. A complete list of regional CWS offices is included at the end of this document.  

Please consult the Current National Wildlife areas website at to learn more about all NWAs in Canada.

Certain NWAs in Canada are within settled land claim areas. All NWAs across Canada are located in asserted Indigenous territories and the process of consulting on permit applications will differ depending on whether or not there is a ratified modern treaty in place.

Applications may need to be reviewed by territorial, federal or indigenous review boards before a permit can be issued. This may take some time, therefore it is recommended for the application to be submitted in advance.

Please consult the application deadlines below.

Permit application deadlines for northern regions:

Nunavut: February 1st is the deadline to apply for a NWA permit for a project/activity that will begin between June 1 and October 31.For all other times of the year, a permit application must be submitted a minimum of 4 (four) months in advance of the proposed project/activity start date.

Northwest Territories and Yukon: No deadline; however, review processes external to the CWS process can take several months to complete. It is advisable to submit the application a minimum of 4 (four) months in advance of the proposed project start date.

For all other regions, there are no permit application deadlines. Please refer to service standards for permit processing timeframes.

The service standard for applying for NWA permits is 40 (forty) calendar days. Our service standards inform applicants of the amount of time it takes for 90% of applications to be processed and for a response to be delivered. If the application is incomplete, the applicant will be notified and the service standard time will be paused until all missing information is received.

For more information on service standards, please visit the Government of Canada website.

Section 1: Applicant information

1.1 Applicant contact information

The applicant is the individual to whom the permit is issued (i.e., the person who signs the permit). The applicant is responsible for ensuring that permit terms and conditions are met, as well as for reporting on activities, in accordance with the terms of the permit. Please note that the applicant cannot be an organization. In addition to the applicant’s contact information, the applicant must also state which “organization” (e.g., government, university, museum, company, etc.) the applicant is from/applying on behalf of.

Other participants covered under this permit must be listed as nominees, in Appendix C.

1.2 Previous permits

If you have previously been issued a permit by the CWS, please indicate so here. Please indicate the identification number of all previous permit(s).

1.3 Current application

Please check the box for the type of permit for which you are applying.

If this is a new project/activity, please complete the entire application.

If this is a continuing project/activity for which a permit has not expired and you are requesting a permit renewal (up to 2 years), please contact the office that originally issued the permit to determine if it will be required to fill out an application, In addition, please indicate your current permit number when corresponding with the office.

If this is a continuing project for which a permit has expired, a new permit application is required.

If this is an amendment to an existing permit, please fill only sections 1.1, 1.2 and the section that address the changes you are requesting and provide the permit number. If the modification is substantial (e.g. nature of the activities, etc.), a new application may be required – please contact the issuing CWS office if you have any questions. Administrative changes, such as a change to a mailing address, phone number, or nominee, can be requested by emailing the issuing office.

Additional authorizations required to undertake the project (eg. Species at Risk Act permit, Migratory Birds Regulations permit, etc.). Provide a list of all provincial and federal permits that will be necessary to undertake this project.

Section 2: Scope of project

2.1 Project description

Describe the type of project (e.g., monitoring, surveying, research, stewardship, interpretation, assets management, construction, restoration, etc.).

Provide details on:

Please note that the project duration can differ from the duration of the permit. If your project will take longer than the duration of the permit, please indicate so in this section.

A permit may be issued only if the Minister is of the opinion that the proposed activities are consistent with the purpose for which the Canadian Wildlife Act protected area was established, as reflected in the relevant legislations, regulations, and management plan.

2.2 National Wildlife Area information

This section should include all information relevant to the location of the protected area. If there is more than one site or protected area, indicate all names and coordinates involved. Please provide geographic coordinates in UTM or latitude/longitude formats.

2.3 Proposed permit duration

Indicate a proposed permit duration. Your permit validity period will be determined based on an evaluation of the level of risk associated with the project activities. CWS may issue, at its discretion, a permit with a period of validity less than the one requested by the applicant.

Multi-year permits will be issued on the conditions that the project/activity does not substantially change over the term of the permit. If there is a proposed change to your project/activity over the course of your permit, you must apply for an amendment to your existing permit according to the time frames mentioned above.

An extension may be requested for a continuing project for which the permit has not yet expired. Please provide your proposed permit start and end dates, and provide details regarding the timing, duration, and frequency of your visits.

2.4 Proposed activities

Check the boxes of all activities that you will be conducting within the protected area. These will help determine which activities from the Wildlife Area Regulations will be allowed under your permit. Applicants should review the list of Authorized Activities in Schedule I.1 of the Wildlife Area Regulations to determine if a permit is required for that activity.

Please check all activities, including possible auxiliary activities, such as picnicking if spending full days in the NWA.

For the purpose of this permit, a conveyance is defined as a means of transporting. A ‘conveyance’ means: a vehicle, a bus, ship, airplane, truck, train, helicopter or automobile, canoes, kayaks, ATVs, and snowmobiles.

Entry is prohibited into certain NWAs as indicated in sections 3.3(1) (a)-(l) and 3.3(2) of the WAR:

3.3(1) (a) Îles de la Paix National Wildlife Area, as set out in item 3 of Part III of Schedule I;

(b) Eleanor Island National Wildlife Area, as set out in item 2 of Part IV of Schedule I;

(c) Wellers Bay National Wildlife Area, as set out in item 6 of Part IV of Schedule I;

(d) Scotch Bonnet Island National Wildlife Area, as set out in item 9 of Part IV of Schedule I;

(e) St-Denis National Wildlife Area, as set out in item 4 of Part VI of Schedule I;

(f) Meanook National Wildlife Area, as set out in item 2 of Part VII of Schedule I;

(g) Canadian Forces Base Suffield National Wildlife Area, as set out in item 4 of Part VII of Schedule I;

(h) Akpait National Wildlife Area, as set out in item 1 of Part XI of Schedule I;

(i) Ninginganiq National Wildlife Area, as set out in item 2 of Part XI of Schedule I;

(j) Qaqulluit National Wildlife Area, as set out in item 3 of Part XI of Schedule I;

(k) Nanuit Itillinga National Wildlife Area, as set out in item 4 of Part XI of Schedule I; and

(l) Nirjutiqarvik National Wildlife Area, as set out in item 5 of Part XI of Schedule I.

3.3(2) No person shall enter Mohawk Island National Wildlife Area during the period beginning on April 1 in any year and ending on August 31 in the same year except in accordance with a permit issued under section 4.

2.5 Environmental impacts

Describe all potential environmental impacts of the project, including any potential negative environmental effects your project may have on migratory birds, species at risk and other wildlife species and their habitat.

You must consider all direct, indirect, incidental and cumulative effects. For example, consider noise from your equipment, the timing of your activities that may disturb nesting, light pollution that may affect migration, habitat degradation, soil compactness, etc.

You may attach additional documents to your application, if necessary, and list them in Appendix A.

2.6 Consideration of alternatives

Outline all reasonable alternatives to the activity that would reduce the impact on the wildlife and wildlife habitat in the NWA.

Include sound rationale for not pursuing less disturbing methods. Explain why this project’s benefits outweigh the potential impacts to the NWA’s wildlife, wildlife habitat or environment.

Explain why this project must be conducted in a NWA. Provide your reasons for not conducting this activity in a different, non-protected location.

2.7 Mitigation measures and risk management

Explain how the project avoids, or mitigates disturbance to soil/land resources, water resources, vegetation, air quality, and wildlife and wildlife habitat (e.g., carrying out work after the bird nesting period, minimum setback distances, cleaning machinery to avoid introducing invasive species, etc.).

Explain how these precautions minimize the danger to the wildlife and environmental resources. Include any methods considered that could be less damaging to the NWA’s wildlife, wildlife habitat and environment (e.g. least risk timing windows).

Include details on how any fuel or hazardous materials will be properly stored and what precautions will be taken to prevent a spill from occurring.

Include mitigation measures in case of an accident (e.g. hazard mapping, response kits in the event of a hydrocarbon spill).

Describe how the effectiveness of these measures will be monitored throughout the project.

Describe how all feasible measures to avoid or mitigate the impact on wildlife and the environment that have been taken into consideration.

Section 3: Equipment use and waste management

3.1 Equipment use

If the project requires the use of a firearm, check the “Yes” box.

As per the Criminal Code of Canada, a firearm is defined as “a barreled weapon from which any shot, bullet or other projectile can be discharged and that is capable of causing serious bodily injury or death to a person, and includes any frame or receiver of such a barreled weapon and anything that can be adapted for use as a firearm”.

List all equipment, such as generators, large tent structures, excavators, brush cutters, firearms and research equipment that will be used during the project and/or installed in the NWA.

Describe any hazardous materials to be used. Include details on the size and/or amount of all equipment and hazardous materials listed and their proposed use. Attach additional records on a separate sheet to application and list the documents in Appendix A, if required.

Please note that CWS reserves the right to refuse or limit the authorization of fuel storage or hazardous material within a NWA, if deemed appropriate.

3.2 Conveyances, devices and fuels

List all conveyances, such as land vehicles, aircraft, boats, ATVs, etc.

Include remotely piloted aircraft and self-propelled terrestrial or aquatic devices, whether those devices are remotely controlled or autonomous.

Please include conveyances that are not motor-operated, such as canoes and kayaks.

List all fuels to be used. Ensure that your project start date and end date accounts for fuel drum delivery and removal, if applicable.

Include details on the size and/or amount of all equipment listed and its proposed use.

3.3 Waste disposal

Describe any waste that may be produced, the quantity produced and your proposed disposal method. Include garbage, grey water, sewage, hazardous waste, and biological waste, if applicable.

Section 4: Wildlife management

4.1 Likely effects to wildlife or habitat

If you answer yes to this question, you may require additional authorizations. Please consult the regional CWS office for more details. If you have supporting documents, attach them to the application and list in Appendix A.

As part of this application process, please note that:

Wildlife means any animal, plant or other organism belonging to a species that is wild by nature or that is not easily distinguishable from such a species; and the habitat of any such animal, plant or other organism as based on the Section 2(4) of the Canadian Wildlife Act.

As per section 2(1) of the SARA, “habitat” means:

a) in respect of aquatic species, spawning grounds and nursery, rearing, food supply, migration and any other areas on which aquatic species depend directly or indirectly in order to carry out their life processes, or areas where aquatic species formerly occurred and have the potential to be reintroduced; and

b) in respect of other wildlife species, the area or type of site where an individual or wildlife species naturally occurs or depends on directly or indirectly in order to carry out its life processes or formerly occurred and has the potential to be reintroduced

4.1.1 Provide a justification for taking, killing, capturing and/or disturbing the animals in the NWA.

Provide a justification for damaging, destroying, harvesting or removing plants. Provide a justification for destroying or damaging wildlife habitats and/or residences.

4.1.2 Provide the methods to be used for taking, killing, capturing or disturbing the wildlife in the NWA.

Please indicate all techniques, tools and equipment to be used.

Attach relevant protocols and references to the application form and list it in Appendix A.

4.1.3 Provide the common name and the scientific name for the species you will be taking, killing, capturing or disturbing in the first two columns.

If you will be damaging, disturbing, removing or harvesting a plant, please list the species here.

Provide the approximate number of individuals of each species that will be affected by your project.

If you need more space to list the affected species, there is a table for continuation in Annex B.

Species listed in Schedule 1 of the Species at Risk Act.

If the SARA checkbox is checked, please be aware that a separate Species at Risk Act authorization will be necessary for the following activities: killing, harming, harassing, capturing or taking an individual of a wildlife species that is listed as an extirpated species, an endangered species or a threatened species and damaging or destroying the residence or critical habitat of one or more individuals of a wildlife species that is listed as an endangered species or a threatened species.

A SARA authorization will also be necessary for possessing, collecting, buying, selling or trading an individual of a wildlife species that is listed as an extirpated species, an endangered species or a threatened species, or any part or derivative of such an individual.

For more information, or to apply for a permit, please consult the Species at Risk Act permits website.

In some situations (e.g. building a trail, repairing damaged infrastructure, etc.), it may be difficult to provide all species that will be affected and an exact number of individuals. In such circumstances, a best estimate should be provided.

4.1.4 Provide qualifications, as well as relevant experience for this project. Relevant experience or qualifications might include a previous similar project, letters of recommendation from experts, completion of a course in a relevant field, a CV, relevant publications.

Attach any documents of proof at the end of the application, and list them in Appendix A.

Applicants may be required to produce references during the application process.

4.2 Bird banding

If bird banding is not required during the course of this project, please check the “no” box.

If you or another individual is to carry out banding for this project, check the “yes” box and provide the number(s) along with a copy of the applicable Scientific Permit(s) to Capture and Band. The species you are planning on capturing and banding in the NWA must be the same as the species listed on the banding permit.

Bird banding permits are obligatory if the project involves the capture, banding, marking and/or collection of biological samples of federally protected migratory birds or provincially protected wild birds (with the exception of upland gamebirds).

To apply for a bird banding permit, please visit the Bird Banding Office website or contact the Bird Banding Office at

Please note, that for bird banding activities, at least one permit holder must be on site during any banding activity. The permitted bander will oversee any other individuals, such as a volunteer or trainee, undertaking any activities related to banding.

Provide a copy of your valid Animal Care Committee (ACC) approval with your application, if applicable.

Section 5: Nominee(s)

Nominees are individuals (paid or volunteers) who will be undertaking the permitted activities with or on behalf of the permit holder. All nominees must carry a copy of the permit on their person when conducting the permitted activities.

Nominees must understand and adhere to all permit requirements.

The permit holder is responsible for ensuring that the nominees are properly qualified and instructed/supervised for the tasks they will be undertaking.

Please note, that there must always be an individual present on site at all times during the banding operations who has a banding permit.

Please provide their Scientific Permit to Capture and Band number.

If you need to add or change a nominee after the permit has been issued, you must request an amendment to the permit from the issuing CWS office.

Any new nominee will need to carry a copy of the email/letter from CWS authorizing the addition, along with a copy of the permit signed by the permit holder, on their person while conducting permitted activities.

If there will be nominees on the site, check the “yes” box, and list your nominees in Appendix C. Include their name and position, their organization, telephone number for either the person or the organization and their qualifications.

Section 6: Signature of the applicant

The name in this section must match the name of the applicant in Section 1 of the application form.

The signature binds the applicant to the statement of certification. Please ensure that all information is correct and that the statement is read before signing and dating the application.

NOTE: If the applicant does not sign the application, the application cannot be processed and will be returned to the applicant.


Appendix A

List the other documents attached to the application (e.g. proof of qualifications or experience, maps, etc.).

Please indicate the number of pages for each attachment and label them clearly.

Appendix B

Continuation of section 4.1.3, list the species that will be taken, killed, captured or disturbed during this project. Include their common name, their scientific name, and the amount of individuals of one species that will be affected.

Appendix C

Please list all nominees that may undertake these activities. You should include their full names, the organization they represent, a telephone number of either the nominee or their organization and the nominee’s qualifications in relation to the project. Qualifications might include a previous similar project, letters of recommendation from experts or completion of a course in a relevant field. Attach any documents of proof at the end of the application, and list them in Appendix A.

If an organization has many employees and are not certain which one will be carrying out the activity, it is sufficient to indicate “Employees of” in the space for the individual’s name. In this instance, the qualifications of the company must be given. A company’s qualifications might include years of experience in the field or awards given to the company.

A nominee does not need to be affiliated with an organization.

Canadian Wildlife Service regional permitting offices

Atlantic Region Newfoundland and Labrador, Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia, and New Brunswick

17 Waterfowl Lane
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

Box 280
Simpson SK  S0G 4M0

Telephone: 306-836-2022

Pacific Region British Columbia

60 Front Street, L3
Nanaimo BC V9R 5H7

Telephone: 250-327-4101

Northern Region Northwest Territories, Nunavut and Yukon

P.O. Box 1870
Suite 301-933 Mivvik St.
Iqaluit NU X0A 0H0

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

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