Management plans and activities for National Wildlife Areas


Management of National Wildlife Areas (NWAs) is undertaken to protect habitat for the benefit of migratory birds, species at risk, and other wildlife of national importance. Guided by the Wildlife Area Regulations, NWAs are managed according to the conservation objectives as set out in each site management plan.

Although each protected area is managed individually in accordance with the specific characteristics of the site and local area, all NWAs share the same overall management strategy, which is “to protect and maintain habitat vital for wildlife and to improve habitat when necessary for wildlife use.”

What is a management plan

Management plans provide the framework in which management decisions are made. Management plans are used by Environment and Climate Change Canada staff to guide decision making on the monitoring of wildlife, the maintenance and improvement of wildlife habitat, the enforcement of regulations, the maintenance of facilities, and permitting.

Each NWA management plan specifies activities that are allowed, including those that may be undertaken by permit only. Where measures are carried out for the conservation of wildlife, they must be consistent with any law respecting wildlife in the province or territory in which the NWA is situated.

Management plans are developed in consultation with Indigenous Peoples, stakeholders and the public, and respect the rights of Section 35 and Treaty rights holders and allowable practices specified under land claims agreements.

Activities and entry

To ensure that habitat is protected for the benefit of wildlife, human activities are controlled and human impacts are minimized in NWAs through the implementation of the Wildlife Area Regulations. While most NWAs are open to public, some might have restricted access for conservation purposes. We encourage members of the public to visit one of our 10 Connecting Canadians with Nature sites, or to consult specific NWA web pages prior to planning a visit. Please note that the Wildlife Area Regulations [subsection 3(1)] set out activities that are prohibited in NWAs.

Prohibited activities and authorizations and permits

The amended Wildlife Area Regulations include a new Schedule I.1, which lists the activities that are authorized in certain NWAs without a permit. The prohibited activities listed in the regulations are:

Under certain conditions, the activities listed above may be authorized through a permit issued by the Minister. Permits may be issued only if the Minister is of the opinion that:

Additional terms and conditions governing the activity may be added to the permit to protect and minimize the impact of the proposed activity on wildlife and wildlife habitat. In addition, depending on the type of activity, other federal or provincial permits may be required.

Please note that a proposed permitting guidance document is forthcoming. When published, it will be available for public review and comment until March 31st, 2021.

Contact information

For more information on National Wildlife Areas please contact the Environment and Climate Change Canada office assigned to your province or territory as per the list below. Please note that all requests must be made through the Inquiry or to one of the following addresses:

Environment and Climate Change Canada - Atlantic RegionFootnote 1 
Canadian Wildlife Service
17 Waterfowl Lane
P.O. Box 6227
Sackville NB E4L 1G6

Telephone: 506-364-5068 / Fax: 506-364-5062

Environment and Climate Change Canada - Quebec Region
Canadian Wildlife Service
801-1550 d’Estimauville Avenue
Québec QC G1J 0C3

Telephone: 418-649-6129 / Fax: 418-648-4871

Environment and Climate Change Canada - Ontario Region
Canadian Wildlife Service
335 River Road
Ottawa ON K1V 1C7

Telephone: 613-990-8355 / Fax: 613-990-8400

Environment and Climate Change Canada - Prairie Region
Canadian Wildlife Service
115 Permiter Road
Saskatoon SK S7N 0X4

Telephone: 306-975-4090 / Fax:306-975-4089

Environment and Climate Change Canada - Pacific RegionFootnote 2 
Canadian Wildlife Service
60 Front Street, L3
Nanaimo BC V9R 5H7

Telephone: 250-327-4101

Environment and Climate Change Canada – Northern Region
Canadian Wildlife Service
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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