Do you know it’s prohibited to harass a migratory bird?
Regulations covering migratory birds are being modernised so that it’s easier for people to understand and comply with the regulations as well as for the government to manage and protect the birds better.
As Canadians mark Environment Week, Minister of Environment and Climate Change Steven Guilbeault today announced it is modernizing the Migratory Birds Regulations (MBR) as part of the Government of Canada’s commitment to protecting and conserving migratory birds. The regulations are in addition to Canada’s commitment to protect 25 percent of lands and waters by 2025, working toward 30 percent by 2030.
The changes will make it easier for Canadians to understand and comply with the regulations, first enacted in 1918, and will improve the government’s ability to effectively manage and protect migratory birds in Canada. The modernized MBR will also ensure that Indigenous Peoples are accurately represented and that their existing harvesting rights, recognized and affirmed under the Constitution Act, 1982, are reflected. This includes the right to use, gift, sell, or exchange feathers; the right to hunt, gift, or exchange migratory birds; and the right to harvest their eggs.
The modernization of the MBR responds to the current challenges facing migratory birds. The modernized MBR will offer a balanced approach between protecting birds, hunting, land use, and conservation. It is the result of many years of collaborative work and consultations with provinces and territories, Indigenous Peoples, partners, hunters, and other stakeholders.
The modernized regulations were published in the Canada Gazette, Part II, on June 8, 2022, and will come into force on July 30, 2022. The current Migratory Birds Regulations remain in effect until then.
“Birds are the chorus that comes with Canadians’ love of nature,” said Guilbeault. “Their protection concerns us all. When the rules are clearer, it is easier for everyone to take the right actions. Modernizing the Migratory Birds Regulations will improve the ability to protect birds and complement conservation actions taken by our government. It’s also an important step in reconciliation with Indigenous Peoples, to which our government is committed.”
“Nature Canada is delighted that Environment and Climate Change Canada is promulgating long-overdue amendments to correct flaws to regulations under the Migratory Birds Convention Act,” said Graham Saul, Executive Director, Nature Canada. “We need policies that are clear and efficient, and the new regulations are good for bird and biodiversity conservation. Our organization fully supports their promulgation and implementation.”
“Birds Canada is very pleased that the amendments to the Migratory Birds Regulations are now being approved,” said Patrick Nadeau, President and CEO, Birds Canada. “These represent important improvements to the regulations, such as removing all ambiguity about the fact that it is prohibited to capture or harass a migratory bird.”
“Delta Waterfowl applauds this major update and the re-envisioning of the regulations around migratory birds,” Jim Fisher, Vice President of Canadian Policy, Delta Waterfowl. “Delta has long been an advocate for these changes, which we believe are positive developments for waterfowl hunters. We are excited that they will be in place for the upcoming hunting season. We are most pleased with the simplification for transporting birds once they’ve been processed and the new Charity Permit that will make it easier to share birds with soup kitchens and food banks.”
“As President of our Métis Nation–Saskatchewan government, I am pleased to endorse the decision by Environment and Climate Change Canada and the Canadian Wildlife Service to extend full harvesting rights to the Métis Nation,” said Glen McCallum, President, Métis Nation–Saskatchewan. “Respect and recognition of our rights are the foundation of our Nation, and this long-awaited change will have a tremendous positive impact on our citizens and communities.”
Some main changes of the Migratory Birds Regulations, 2022
1. The existing Migratory Birds Regulations protect the nests of all migratory birds, at all times, for as long as they exist, which means that many nests have been protected when the no longer benefit migratory birds. The new Migratory Birds Regulations, 2022, provide protection to migratory bird nests when they are considered to have a higher conservation value for migratory birds.
2. In certain situations, it will be authorized to temporarily possess dead, injured or live migratory birds.
3. Modernized language to ensure that the Migratory Birds Regulations, 2022 more fully represent Indigenous peoples and their Aboriginal and treaty rights specifically; the use, gifting, sale or exchange of feathers, the right to hunt, gift or exchange migratory birds, and the right to harvest their eggs.
4. The use of drones for hunting migratory birds is prohibited.
5. Prohibition on the abandonment of harvested birds.
6. Change in requirements for who may obtain a scientific permit which means that more people who have the relevant skills are eligible.
7. New Charity Permit allows the permit holder to accept harvested preserved birds, and to serve them as a meal (charitable dinner or soup kitchen) or to give them to customers of a food bank.
For complete information, refer to the Canada Gazette publication of the final Migratory Birds Regulations, 2022