Government of Canada expands list of minor fishery offences subject to a ticket
April 28, 2021
Ottawa, ON - Starting on April 28, 2021, federal fishery officers will be able to issue tickets for minor fishery offences in the provinces of British Columbia, Québec, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Newfoundland and Labrador, and Prince Edward Island.
For many years, minor fishery offences required both the accused and the fishery officer to go through a formal court process. Now, thanks to changes to the Contraventions Regulations, fishery officers have the discretion to issue tickets for more minor fishery offences, rather than having to go to court. This will allow officers and courts to focus on more serious offences and, as a result, improve the effectiveness of courts in delivering timely justice to Canadians. The expansion of the list of minor offences will lessen the burden on all parties, including the courts, fishery officers, and commercial and recreational harvesters, by providing an efficient alternative for the prosecution of minor offences.
This expansion of ticketable offences has been long sought after. For some provinces such as Newfoundland and Labrador, the amendments will allow for ticketing of minor federal fishery offences for the very first time. The Government of Canada will continue to look to expand this approach in other regions.
Tickets are an additional tool to ensure compliance with fishery regulations. With these changes, fishery officers maintain the discretion to take the required enforcement action deemed appropriate. For example, a fishery officer may issue a warning instead of a ticket, lay charges, or choose to proceed through court when necessary. The enforcement action depends on a number of factors, such as the severity of the offence, or whether the accused has received previous warnings.
Fishery officers continue to respect public health advice, use appropriate personal protective equipment, and follow best practices to prevent a potential spread of COVID-19.
“Fishery officers are vital members of our team who help ensure our fisheries are orderly and marine life protected. The new changes mean Canada’s officers will now have the ability to ticket minor offences directly, resulting in less time in court and more time on the water. I want to thank all officers for their efforts and work in ensuring regulations are understood and complied with.”
The Honourable Bernadette Jordan, Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard
The amended Contraventions Regulations will incorporate 373 minor fisheries-related offences contained in the:
- Fishery (General) Regulations;
- Atlantic Fishery Regulations, 1985;
- Pacific Fishery Regulations, 1993;
- Newfoundland and Labrador Fishery Regulations;
- British Columbia Sport Fishing Regulations, 1996; and
- Fisheries Act (Subsection 43.4(1) only).
Fishery officers will be able to issue tickets for minor fishery offences, with base fines ranging from $100 to $750.
DFO held two rounds of public consultations between November 2018 and January 2019 on the project. Canadians, industry stakeholders, Indigenous groups, and provincial partners broadly support this expansion. Most of the input indicated that the shift to ticketing is overdue.
Tickets can already be issued in various provinces in Canada. In Ontario, tickets can be issued by Provincial Conservation Officers under the Contraventions Act for offences of the Ontario Fishing Regulations. DFO fishery officers in the Maritime provinces can issue tickets under the Contraventions Act for offences of the Maritime Provinces Fishing Regulations. In British Columbia, tickets can already be issued under the Fisheries Act for offences of the British Columbia Sports Fishing Regulations, which will now be incorporated into the Contraventions Regulations.
Examples of common minor fishery offences that may now result in a ticket in all the affected regions are:
- Failing to comply with the conditions of a licence, which could result in a $750 ticket;
- Failing to carry and produce on demand a licence, which could result in a $100 ticket;
- Or wasting fish that is suitable for human consumption could result in a $200 base fine for the first fish, plus $50 per additional fish wasted.
Office of the Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard
Fisheries and Oceans Canada
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