Protecting Wildlife and Our Natural Environment

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Environment Canada plays an important role in protecting our environment.

Our officers ensure that organizations and individuals comply with the laws and regulations administered by Environment Canada that protect the natural environment, its biodiversity and the health of Canadians.

Our work is carried out across Canada--with offices in every province and territory--in cooperation with other federal, provincial and territorial governments, and with international enforcement organizations.

Hundreds of our officers work across the country to gather intelligence, conduct inspections and investigate alleged violations to ensure that poachers, polluters and wildlife smugglers are brought to justice.

Strong and effective enforcement of Canada’s environmental and wildlife protection laws is one of the concrete ways the Government of Canada is acting on its commitment to clean air, clean water and the conservation of wildlife species and their habitat.

Wildlife protection

From National Wildlife Areas, to our many border ports, to courtrooms across Canada, wildlife enforcement officers make a real difference in protecting our environment every day.

Through ongoing enforcement under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES), Canada works with other nations and partners such as Interpol to control illegal international wildlife trade in endangered species from every part of the globe. This helps ensure that offenders cannot escape justice simply by crossing a border.

Our wildlife enforcement officers undertake important and challenging work to protect plant and animal species that are threatened by illicit actions such as:

  • Poaching migratory birds
  • Killing or trafficking endangered species
  • Illegally importing or exporting wildlife
  • Activities that are harmful to protected wildlife species or habitats

Environmental protection

Our environmental enforcement officers enforce laws and regulations governing the use of toxic substances, and their release into our air, water or land. They are everywhere, from industrial facilities in our biggest cities to metal mines in our most remote locations. They also enforce laws that govern the import and export of substances that present a hazard or risk to the environment and/or human health. Through their actions environmental enforcement officers fight pollution and make communities across Canada healthier and safer.

Every year our enforcement program gets stronger!


The Government of Canada committed $22 million in new funding for Environment Canada to hire and train 106 new enforcement officers.


The Government of Canada dedicated an additional $21 million over two years to Environment Canada for new measures to assist enforcement officers and legal staff in investigations. Some of these tools include:

  • Enhanced training for enforcement officers
  • Better forensic support
  • Expanded capacity to track and report on enforcement results
  • Enhancement of Environment Canada’s data management system

The Government of Canada introduced Bill C-16 (the Environmental Enforcement Act). The Act will strengthen existing environmental laws.


The Environmental Enforcement Act comes into force! The Act provides tougher measures for those who would harm the environment, including:

  • Raising maximum fines
  • Doubling fines for repeat offenders
  • Authorizing the suspension and cancellation of offender licences, permits or other authorizations upon conviction
  • Requiring corporate offenders to report convictions to shareholders
  • Mandating the reporting of corporate offences on a public registry

The Environmental Damages Fund

The Environmental Enforcement Act also directs all fines to be paid to the Environmental Damages Fund. Following the "polluter pays principle," this fund helps ensure that those who cause damage to the environment take responsibility for their actions, and helps connect enforcement actions to investments in the repair of harm caused to our environment and wildlife.

The Environmental Damages Fund program provides funding to:

  • Organizations to undertake projects to restore the environment in the areas where damage has occurred
  • Improve environmental quality
  • Conduct research and development
  • Undertake education projects related to environmental restoration

Visit for more information about the Environmental Damages Fund.

Observe, report!

If you see someone poaching wildlife or polluting the environment, please contact us:

Tel.: 1-800-668-6767 (in Canada only) or 819-997-2800
TTY: 819-994-0736

For more information

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