Proposals to reduce regulatory burden within the wildlife management program

ERO number
Notice type
Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act, 1997
Posted by
Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry
Notice stage
Proposal Updated
Proposal posted
Comment period
June 9, 2020 - July 24, 2020 (45 days) Closed
Last updated

There is no requirement to post this notice on the Environmental Registry of Ontario, but we want to hear your thoughts. Submit a comment and tell us what you think. Learn about the consultation process and types of notices on the registry.

Update Announcement

A decision for this proposal has been published as a Bulletin under ERO# 019-2714 on November 27, 2020.

This consultation was open from:

June 9, 2020
to July 24, 2020

Proposal summary

We are proposing amendments to regulations under the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act to reduce regulatory burden and streamline requirements related to trapping and airports that experience conflict or public safety issues associated with deer or elk.

Why consultation isn't required

On April 1, 2020, the Ontario Government made a temporary regulation to respond to the COVID-19 outbreak. Ontario Regulation 115/20 exempts all proposals for policies, acts, regulations and instruments from posting requirements under the EBR until 30 days after the declared emergency is terminated.

Proposal details

Our province is home to an incredible abundance of natural beauty and resources, and the Ontario government is committed to protecting this important heritage for future generations, while making sure our trapping sector can continue to thrive, prosper and create jobs.

The province is proposing changes to reduce regulatory and administrative burden related to trapping in Ontario, which will streamline requirements for trappers so they can continue to make a living, while ensuring the necessary protections are in place so that trapping can be pursued humanely.

Each of the proposals is described below.

  1. Streamlining fur dealer records submissions

  • Ontario Regulation 666/98 (Possession, Buying and Selling of Wildlife) currently requires licensed fur dealers to record transactions (e.g. buying, selling of furs) as they occur and submit records monthly to the ministry.  Licensed fur dealers are also required to obtain ministry permission/approval to submit these records electronically to the ministry.
  • We are proposing to streamline requirements for fur dealer submission of records, which includes removing of the regulatory requirement to obtain ministry permission prior to submitting records electronically, and reducing the frequency of records submission to annually, rather than monthly.
  • The proposal is intended to provide licensed fur dealers greater flexibility for record submission and reduce burden associated with record submissions to the ministry. 
  1. Enabling persons to hold both a trapping licence and fur dealer’s licence

  • Ontario Regulation 667/98 (Trapping) currently prohibits individuals from holding a Trapping Licence and a fur dealer’s licence (or farmer’s licence to sell pelts and carcasses) at the same time.  There is a limited exception if the ministry determines that the person is meeting specific criteria (e.g. keeping specific records, separate storage of pelts, etc).
  • We are proposing to remove the prohibition preventing individuals from holding these licences at the same time, subject to certain conditions on the licence.  These conditions include separate pelt storage and identification/labelling, as well as keeping separate records for trapping and fur dealing activities.
  • This proposal is intended to provide trapping businesses greater flexibility and opportunity, while removing the administrative burden for some businesses.
  1. Enabling the use of firearms at night for dispatch of trapped furbearers

  • The Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act (FWCA) generally prohibits a person from possessing a firearm in an area usually inhabited by wildlife during the period from half an hour after sunset to half an hour before sunrise (i.e. at night), unless the firearm is unloaded and encased. There are limited exceptions to this prohibition (e.g. use of firearms at night for protection of property and for raccoon night hunting using certain caliber firearms).
  • We are proposing to allow the use of firearms at night by licensed trappers or farmers for humane dispatch of lawfully trapped furbearing mammals, subject to certain limitations to address potential safety concerns, such as:
    • Requirement to keep firearms encased and unloaded until in the immediate vicinity of a trapped furbearer to be dispatched and be unloaded and encased immediately following dispatch.
    • Restrict the firearms permitted for this purpose to rimfire rifles only.
    • Make associated changes to permit the use of any rimfire rifle for raccoon night hunting for consistency among hunting and trapping activities permitting the use of firearms at night
  • The proposal is intended to continue to support humane trapping and reduce barriers for licensed trappers, while providing for public safety.
  1. Exempting airports from obtaining a deer removal authorization

  • The FWCA allows for the harassment, capture or killing of wildlife if it is damaging or about to damage the person’s property. Clause 31(3)(b) of the Act requires persons to obtain an authorization, or follow applicable rules in regulation, to harass, capture or kill white-tailed deer or American elk in protection of property.
  • We are proposing to allow authorized airports to harass, capture or kill white-tailed deer or American elk in protection of property without ministry authorization.  This approach is consistent with managing protection of property for other wildlife species on an airport for human health and safety.
  • The proposal is intended to reduce administrative burden for airports who experience conflict or public safety issues associated with deer or elk.

The ministry is proposing amendments to Ontario Regulation 665/98 (Hunting), Ontario Regulation 666/98 (Possession, Buying and Selling of Wildlife) and Ontario Regulation 667/98 (Trapping) under the FWCA to implement the changes should the proposals proceed.

Regulatory impact statement

The anticipated environmental and social consequences of the proposal are neutral. The proposed changes do not impact Ontario’s regulatory framework for hunting and trapping or management of provincial wildlife for sustainability. The proposed changes are intended to reduce regulatory burden while maintaining protections for public health, safety and the environment. The proposal to enable persons to use firearms at night to dispatch trapped furbearing mammals by licensed trappers is intended to enable trappers checking traps at night to use more ethical and humane methods of dispatching legally trapped furbearing mammals.

The anticipated economic consequences of the proposal are neutral or positive as the proposed changes are intended to reduce regulatory burden to lower business operating costs and increase competitiveness. The proposed changes combined offer potential administrative cost savings for business of up to approximately $30,000 annually.

Supporting materials

View materials in person

Some supporting materials may not be available online. If this is the case, you can request to view the materials in person.

Get in touch with the office listed below to find out if materials are available.

MNRF Fish and Wildlife Policy Branch – Wildlife Section

300 Water Street
5th Floor, North Tower
Peterborough, ON
K9J 3C7

Office phone number


Commenting is now closed.

The comment period was from June 9, 2020
to July 24, 2020

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Public Input Coordinator

Phone number
MNRF Fish and Wildlife Policy Branch – Wildlife Section

300 Water Street
5th Floor, North Tower
Peterborough, ON
K9J 3C7

Office phone number

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