University of Saskatchewan

September 18, 2014   

Provincial and Federal Permit Information

Here is an outline for the basic information about the types of permits needed to undertake field research on wildlife in Canada. One must first determine what regulatory agency has jurisdiction over the animal you plan to study. Research on federally protected migratory birds will primarily fall under the jurisdiction of the federal government, specifically the Canadian Wildlife Service (CWS) of Environment Canada.  Most other species of birds, which are not protected by the federal government, are protected by the provincial/territorial government(s). It is the applicants’ responsibility to determine ahead of time which government organization they need to contact in order to apply for the bird research permits.

Migratory Bird Banding Permits
Authorization to band migratory birds and for the use of auxiliary markers (radios, color markers, etc.) is accomplished through a Bird Banding Permit, which is issued by the CWS Bird Banding Office in Hull, Quebec. The appropriate telephone number for obtaining Bird Banding Permit information is 819-997-4213 or 819-997-1121. The e-mail address is The fax number is 819-953-6612. Banders with a valid U.S. Banding Permit must be reminded that they need to obtain a Canadian Banding Permit (or sub-permit if their research is done in conjunction with an active Master Banding Permit holder) to band anywhere in Canada. That request should also be made through the Bird Banding Office. Every researcher banding birds in Canada must carry their Bird Banding Permit (or sub-permit) with them in the field. Such permits are invalid unless signed, which insures that banders are aware of the conditions of their particular permit. Failure to comply with the above stated guidelines could result in criminal charges, with penalty ranging from a fine to jail time. To apply for a Bird Banding Permit (or sub-permit) the applicant must send the following to the Bird Banding Office: 1) an application form, 2) a detailed research proposal, and 3) two testimonial letters from other banders who have banded with him /her. In addition, an annual Animal Care Committee review and approval is also required for projects involving the use of auxiliary markers such as radio transmitters, neck collars, patagial tags, nasal disks, and other experimental markers. The animal care approval must be in possession of the bander prior to any banding taking place. Application forms and additional information concerning Bird Banding Permits can be obtained at this website:

Migratory Bird Research Permits

Many research projects will also require an Environment Canada (CWS) Scientific Research Permit. Scientific Research Permits are issued from Environment Canada Regional Offices, which occur in every province/territory in Canada except Prince Edward Island. In western provinces the population assessment division of Environment Canada handles permit applications.

Other Wildlife Permits

For non-migratory birds and other wildlife you must consult with the specific provincial/territorial authorities where the work is to be carried out.

Research associated with a college or university using wildlife animals are advised to get approval form their IACUC

Northern provinces and territories

Scientific research in a park must be authorized by the park authorities. The document entitled Scientific Research in Nunavik’s National Parks: A Researchers’ Guide is available to any researcher who intends to submit a research authorization application for a park in Nunavik.

British Columbia

Persons, agencies or institutions wishing to conduct research involving wildlife in Alberta must obtain a Wildlife Research Permit or Collection License from the Fish and Wildlife Division of Alberta Sustainable Resource Development. Information and application forms are available at

Guidelines and information related to working with fish, wildlife, and habitat in Alberta are
available at


Information and application forms for permits related to wildlife are at

A permit is required for possession of dead wild animal, including specimens taken for scientific research. The application form is at

Trapping information can be found at

All researchers working out of the Churchill Northern Studies Centre are automatically covered
by a blanket authorization issued when they arrive and subject to certain restrictions (primarily to
do with use of all-terrain vehicles). Although formal community consultation is not required in
Manitoba, it is highly recommended that researchers new to the area make every effort to inform
the public of their planned activities. The Churchill Northern Studies Centre assists researchers in
communicating their work to the local public. Contact Dr. LeeAnn Fishback, Scientific
Coordinator, at (204) 675-2307 or


A number of parks are currently being developed in northern Quebec, in cooperation with
aboriginal nations. For the latest status of these parks and for regulations related to their use,
check the website of the Ministère des Ressources naturelles et de la Faune at

Newfoundland and Labrador
Questions about research and permitting should be addressed to the Natural Areas Biologist.
Contact information is at

General information about working in provincial protected areas is at
The research permit application form is online at

Principal Websites
Environment Canada –
Department of Fisheries and Oceans Canada –
Parks Canada –
Government of Newfoundland and Labrador –
 Government of Quebec –
Government of Ontario –
Government of Manitoba –
Government of Saskatchewan –
Government of Alberta –
Government of British Columbia –
Nunavut Research Institute –
Aurora Research Institute –
Prince of Wales Heritage Centre Archaeology Programs –
Government of Yukon Heritage Resources –
Wildlife Management Advisory Council (North Slope) –
Association of Canadian Universities for Northern Studies (ACUNS) –
Churchill Northern Studies Centre