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Simon Shields,
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Wild Animal Law of Canada

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Wild Animal and Plant Protection and Regulation of International and Interprovincial Trade Act ('WAPPRIITA') (Canada)

(current to 01 October 2016)

Note Re Application of WAPPRIITA

WAPPRIITA, in addition to applying to private parties, is also binding on Canada and all provinces [ACT 3].

For all WAPPRIITA purposes:
  • 'animal' means "any specimen, whether living or dead, of any species of animal that is listed as “fauna” in an appendix to the Convention, and includes any egg, sperm, tissue culture or embryo of any such animal"; and

  • 'plant' means "any specimen, whether living or dead, of any species of plant that is listed as “flora” in an appendix to the Convention, and includes any seed, spore, pollen or tissue culture of any such plant".
This law bears on the wildlife issues of:
  • SALE
  • ADMINISTRATIVE
  • IMPORT/EXPORT/RELOCATION
  • TRANSPORTATION
The full current text of WAPPRIITA and it's Regulation may be viewed at the Canada statute website.

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Table of Contents
1. Overview
2. The CITES-WAPPRIITA Permit Regimes
(a) CITES Appendices and Permit Requirements
(b) WAPPRIITA Schedules and Permit Requirements
3. Main Prohibitions
4. Export of Non-CITES-Listed Animals
5. Enforcement
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1. Overview

The purpose of the Wild Animal and Plant Protection and Regulation of International and Interprovincial Trade Act ('WAPPRIITA') is "to protect certain ['listed'] species of animals and plants, particularly by implementing the Convention [on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora] ('CITES') and regulating international and interprovincial trade in animals and plants" [ACT 4]. As such, WAPPRIITA is primarily concerned with the import, export and interprovincial transportation of CITES-listed species, and the issuance of permits for such activities.

The Convention, with Appendices, is linked here: CITES full text.

The larger international administrative scheme of CITES, including lists of plants and animals, is set out in the CITES Website.

Canada's WAPPRIITA legislation both implements CITES with respect to CITES-listed animals and plants and extends it's provisions into the interprovincial movement of those animals and plants.


2. The CITES-WAPPRIITA Permit Regimes

(a) CITES Appendices and Permit Requirements

The CITES regime lists animals into three categories (CITES Appendices I,II and III) (note that differently-located populations of the same species may be listed in different Appendices):
  • Appendix I

    These 1200 or so animals are threatened with extinction ('endangered'), and commercial trade in them is prohibited. Scientific and conservation import and export of these animals requires permits as required by local (ie. national) legislation.

  • Appendix II

    This category of animals, about 21,000 may not be threatened with extinction but of nonetheless of such special concern that commercial trade requires regulation ('special concern'). Import permits may or may not be required under local legislation, but export permits are required by CITES.

  • Appendix III

    These are about 170 species specifically requested to be listed by individual countries ('national concern') who wish to control a commercial trade. Import permits may not be required under local legislation, but export permits are required by CITES.
(b) WAPPRIITA Schedules and Permit Requirements

WAPPRIITA then overlays it's own treatment on top of these Convention Appendices and requirements, as follows [Schedule references are to the three Schedules of the Wild Animal and Plant Trade Regulations] ('WAPT Regs'):
  • Appendix II animals (of 'special concern' in the Convention) which are also listed in Schedule II require a Canadian import permit, even if an export permit has been granted from the country of origin [WAPT Regs 6(1)];

  • Appendix III animals (of 'national concern' in the Convention) which are also listed in Schedule II require a Canadian import permit, even if an export permit has been granted from the country of origin [WAPT Regs 6(2)];

  • Appendix III animals (of 'national concern' in the Convention) which are not listed in Schedule II, but which are listed in Schedule I with a listing country noted in Column III, do not require a Canadian import permit if an export permit has been granted from the listing country [WAPT Regs 6(3)].

3. Main Prohibitions

The main WAPPRIITA provisions prohibit [ACT 6-8]:
  • Importation into Canada of Where Illegally Taken

    The importation into Canada of "any [listed] animal or plant that was taken, or any animal or plant, or any part or derivative of an animal or plant, that was possessed, distributed or transported in contravention of any law of any foreign state" [ACT 6(1)].

  • International Importing and Exporting Without Federal Permit

    The international importing and exporting of listed animals and plants is illegal without the holding of an appropriate federal permit [permit issuance is governed by ACT 10] [ACT 6(2)].

    Non-Canadian residents do not need an export permit where they import a pet animal for non-commercial purposes and then subsequently export it, if they have a CITES-compliant "permit, certificate or other written document" from their country of residence "authorizing the export from, and subsequent import into, that country of the pet" [WAPT Regs 17]. However this exemption is conditional on them not selling or disposing "of the pet that is the subject of the exemption outside of the individual’s ordinary country of residence within 90 days after the date of import or export, as the case may be" [WAPT Regs 18(2)]. For these purposes, a 'pet' means a living animal that an individual owns as a personal pet and that is listed in Part I of Schedule I, but not in Schedule II (other species requring an import permit)" [WAPT Regs 14].

  • Interprovincial Transport Without Federal Permit

    The interprovincial transportation of listed animals and plants, if their transportation is regulated or prohibited by the destination province, is illegal without the holding of an appropriate federal permit [permit issuance is governed by ACT 10] [ACT 6(3)]. However where all required provincial permits are obtained, the federal permit is not required [WAPT Regs 11].

  • Interprovincial Transport Without Provincial Permit

    Where a province requires permits for transportation of animals or plants between provinces transport without such a permit [ACT 7(1)].

  • Interprovincial Transport Where Taken, Possessed, Distributed or Transported in Violation of Provincial Law

    Transportation of an animal or plant between provinces where they are taken or "possessed, distributed or transported, in contravention of any provincial Act or regulation" [ACT 7(2)].

  • Possession Where Imported or Exported in Violation of WAPPRIITA

    The knowing possession an animal or plant imported or transported in contravention of this Act [ACT 8(a)].

  • Possession for the Purpose of Illegal Interprovincial Transportation

    The knowing possession an animal or plant "for the purpose of transporting it from one province to another province in contravention of this Act or exporting it from Canada in contravention of this Act" [ACT 8(b)].

  • Possession of Appendix I Animals or Plants for the Purpose of Illegal Distribution

    The knowing possession an animal or plant "for the purpose of distributing or offering to distribute it if the animal or plant, or the animal or plant from which the part or derivative comes, is listed in Appendix I to the Convention" (see the link in s.1 above) [ACT 8(c)]. This provision is exempted in the following situations [WAPT Regs 13(1,2)]:

    • "the person who possesses it establishes a reasonable probability that it or, in the case of a part or derivative, the animal or plant from which it comes, was taken from its habitat before July 3, 1975";

    • "the person who possesses it establishes a reasonable probability that it was legally imported into Canada"; or

    • "the person who possesses it establishes a reasonable probability that the distributing of it or the offering to distribute it would be in accordance with any applicable federal and provincial laws that relate to the conservation and protection of the animal or plant";

    • with respect to animals, "the animal was bred in captivity or is part of a captive breeding program".

4. Export of Non-CITES-Listed Animals

Non-CITES listed animals and plants may be exported from Canada without a federal export permit where the province from which it is being exported either (1) does not require authorization for it being transported out of that province, or (2) where authorization (ie. permit or certificate) is required it has been granted [WAPT Regs 8].


5. Enforcement

WAPPRIITA has a typical range of enforcement provisions. For purposes of enforcement, 'officers' may be designated (with the powers of peace officers: ACT 12), things being imported or exported (or transported interprovincially) may be detained until their WAPPRIITA status is determined [ACT 13], officers may enter and inspect premises with and without warrants [ACT 13-15]. Additional powers allow forfeiture of plants and animals on conviction [ACT 19] and the issuance of enforceable removal notices [ACT 18].

Such officers are immune from liability for "anything they do or omit to do in good faith under this Act" [ACT 12(5)].

A broad offence provision exists to facilitate prosecution of WAPPRIITA violation [ACT 22].

Additionally - where a person import, exports, or transports interprovincially - they shall keep, in Canada, the required documentation for the animal [ACT 9].

A public registry of "all convictions of corporations for offences under this Act" [ACT 27.1] required to be maintained[SS: unable to locate link at 11 October 2016].


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