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Simon Shields,
LLB

Barrister and Solicitor
(Retired)
LSUC #37308N


simonshields@isp.com

Legal Writing and Research


Wild Animal Law of Canada

----------------------------

Park-Related Acts (Manitoba)

(current to 01 September 2016)

Note Re Application of the:
  • The Provincial Parks Act ('PPA')
  • The Ecological Reserves Act ('ERA')
  • The Conservation Agreements Act ('CAA')
  • The Fish and Wildlife Enhancement Fund Act ('FWEFA')
  • The Manitoba Habitat Heritage Act ('MHHA')
The PPA applies to both private and public (Crown) lands within designated provincial parks in Manitoba [PPA 2,7, PA Regs 2]. While wild animals are impacted by the habitat protection influence of the parks system, for explicit PPA purposes 'animals' are only domestic animals in their capacity as nuisances within park land (the definition of 'animals' incldes both domestics and "an animal that is wild by nature but has been domesticated"). The PPA makes little express reference to 'wildlife', the primary being being their implicit inclusion in the ecosystem and biodiversity conservation purposes of the Act.

The Ecological Reserves Act ('ERA') creates a similar park-like regime, though with greater environmental protections.

The Conservation Agreements Act ('CAA') is a conventional conservation easements act, which allows governmental and NGO parties to enter into agreements with private landowners to provide environmental protections over private land.

The Manitoba Habitat Heritage Act ('MHHA') and the Fish and Wildlife Enhancement Fund Act ('FWEFA') are government initiatives directed at supporting and funding private sector (eg. NGO) initiatives to preserve and enhance habitat and wildlife populations.

These laws bears on the wildlife issues of:
  • PROTECTION
  • HABITAT
  • HUNTING, TRAPPING AND FISHING
  • CIVIL LIABILITY
The full current text of these statutes and their Regulations may be viewed at the Manitoba statute website.

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Table of Contents
1. Overview
2. Provincial Parks
(a) Overview
(b) Types of Provincial Parks
(c) Land Use Categories Within Parks
(d) Protective Provisions Within Parks
(e) Civil Liability
(f) Enforcement
3. Ecological Reserves
4. Conservation Agreements (Easements)
5. Habitat and Wildlife Initiatives
______________________________________


1. Overview

Manitoba's park and habitat-protection legislation is spread over five separate statutes. This module necessarily addresses each piecemail.


2. Provincial Parks

(a) Overview

The purposes of the provincial park system include to [PPA 5]:
  • conserve ecosystems and maintain biodiversity;

  • preserve unique and representative natural, cultural and heritage resources;

  • provide outdoor recreational and educational opportunities and experiences in a natural setting.
Ministerial 'management plans' are in place for each park, addressing resource protection, use, development and any other matters [PPA 11].

(b) Types of Provincial Parks

The different types of provincial parks are [PPA 7(2)]:
  • Wilderness Parks

    Whose main purpose is to preserve representative areas of a natural region.

  • Natural Parks

    Whose main purpose is to both preserve areas of a natural region and to accommodate a diversity of recreational opportunities and resource uses.

  • Recreation Parks

    Whose main purpose is to provide recreational opportunities.

  • Heritage Parks

    Whose main purpose is to preserve an area of land containing a resource or resources of cultural or heritage value.
Specific provincial parks are designated in the Provincial Parks Designation Regulation.

Manitoba's Parks and Protected Spaces Branch website gives a more practical view of the park system.

(c) Land Use Categories Within Parks

Additionally, when a provincial park is designated, land within it shall also be categorized into one of several 'land use categories', which include [PPA 7(3)]:
  • Wilderness

    Where the main purpose of the categorization is to protect representative or unique natural landscapes in an undisturbed state and provide recreational opportunities that depend on a pristine environment.

  • Backcountry

    Where the main purpose of the categorization is to protect examples of natural landscapes and provide basic facilities and trails for nature-oriented recreation in a largely undisturbed environment.

  • Resource Management

    Where the main purpose of the categorization is to permit commercial resource development or extraction in a manner that does not compromise the main purpose of the park classification (as above).

  • Recreational Development

    Where the main purpose of the categorization is to accommodate recreational development.

  • Heritage

    Where the main purpose of the categorization is to protect a unique or representative site containing a resource or resources of cultural or heritage value.

  • Access

    Where the main purpose of the categorization is to provide a point or route of access in a provincial park or a location for a lodge and associated facilities.
(d) Protective Provisions Within Parks

The following protective and restrictive provisions respecting park land apply:
  • no park land may be used for logging [PPA 7(6), FA 15.1];

  • no park land may be used for the commercial development of peat [PPA 7(7)];

  • Wilderness parks and any wilderness, backcountry or heritage category land in any park may not be used for mining or the development of oil, petroleum, natural gas or hydro-electric power [PPA 7(5)];

  • park land may only be occupied or used by private parties under lease or permit authorizing the activity [PPA 15,16];

  • no owner or occupier of land in a provincial park shall construct, erect or place a building or excavation or other operation on, over or under the land or change the use or intensity of use of the land, a building or premises [PPA 17(1)];

  • "no person shall damage, destroy, deface or remove an object in a provincial park or undertake any activity that damages or alters the land or significantly interferes with the environment in a provincial park, except under the authority of a permit issued by the minister" [PA Regs 8(1)];

  • permits are required for any of the following activities in a provincial park [PA Regs 8(2)]:

    • constructing private roads or trails;
    • establishing winter roads;
    • grooming snowmobile trails;
    • snow clearing on roads, trails or bodies of water;
    • excavating, blasting or drilling;
    • cutting trees;
    • burning for the purpose of clearing trees or brush;
    • applying pesticide;
    • drilling wells;
    • installing septic systems, plumbing systems or water lines.

  • "(n)o person shall carry on a business or sell or offer for sale any article in a provincial park except under the authority of a permit or licence issued by the minister for that purpose, or on a commercial lot where that activity is permitted by the minister [PA Regs 11(1)];

  • no person shall make an alteration in the surface of land in a provincial parkthat obstructs or interferes with the natural drainage pattern in the park, without a permit to that effect [PA Regs 13];

  • "(n)o person shall use an area of a provincial park in such a way as to contaminate or pollute waters, or to cause injury to waters within a provincial park [PA Regs 14];

  • "(n)o person shall, in a provincial park, bathe, or clean clothing, fish, cooking or eating utensils, vehicles or other equipment on a beach or at or near a public standpipe, well, drinking fountain or pump [PA Regs 15];

  • fires shall not be unattended or allowed to spread, and must be extinguished (including hot coals and smouldering materials) before leaving them [PA Regs 21,22];

  • fireworks, firecrackers or sky lanterns must not be possessed or ignited in a park, except with a permit [PA Regs 23(1)];

  • domestic animals (invariably, dogs) in parks must be leashed and otherwise controlled in parks except insofar as they are allowed under the Wildlife Act (hunting dogs, see that module) [PA Reg 26];

  • domestic animals shall not be trained in provincial parks [PA Regs 28];

  • grazing of livestock in a provincial park without a permit is prohibited [PA Regs 30];

  • camping outside of designated areas in a provincial park is prohibited [PA Regs 37(1)];

  • hunting, or discharging firearms, is prohibited within 300 yards "of a development or improvement in a provincial park that is used or capable of being used for a residential, commercial, administrative or recreational purpose" [PA Regs 54(2)].
(e) Civil Liability

The Minister, officers and any one acting on the instructions of an officer, are immune from liability for anything done without negligence in the normal course of an officer's authority under the PPA [PA Regs 58.2(5)].

(f) Enforcement

The Minister may appoint 'officers' for purposes of enforcing the Act (conservation officers are automatically so appointed) [PPA 1, 23(1)]. Officers have the general authorities of peace officers [PPA 23(2)], including to enter (with warrant where practicable) and inspect lands, vehicles and premises and seizure [PPA 24(1), 25(1)].

Officers also have authority to make Orders removing unauthorized structures from park land, and that a person "cease or refrain from any action, omission or conduct that is dangerous to life or property or detrimental to the use and enjoyment of the provincial park by other persons" [PPA 24(1)].

The PPA has a broad offence provision that allows for prosecution of violations [PPA 31(1)].


3. Ecological Reserves

A system similar to that for provincial parks [s.2 above], though with better environmental protections, exists under the Ecological Reserves Act ('ERA').

Purposes of the ecological reserve system include [ERA 3]:
  • to afford opportunities for and to encourage the study of and research into the ecological features of the province;

  • to afford opportunities for and to encourage the enjoyment by residents of the province and visitors to the province of the educational and aesthetic benefits of the ecological features of the province;

  • to preserve, for the above purposes, and for posterity:
    • unique and rare examples of botanical, zoological and geological features of the province;
    • examples of natural habitats of rare or endangered plants and animals that are native to the province;
    • representative examples of natural ecosystems in the province;
    • representative examples of ecosystems in the province that have been modified by man and that offer opportunities for the study of and research into the recovery of the ecosystems from modification.
For these purposes [ERA 1]:
  • "ecology" means the study of the inter-relationship of living things, including humans and plants, with their respective environments;

  • "ecosystem" means an ecological system consisting of living things, including humans and plants, together with their respective environments;

  • "environment" means natural or man-made surroundings, or natural surroundings modified by man.
An Ecological Reserves Advisory Committee is appointed in order to consider, and recommend to the Minister, respecting ecological reserves [ERA 9(1,6)].

Existing ecological reserves are as designated in the Ecological Reserves Designation Regulation [ERA 2(2)], and are linked in the 'Parks and Protected Spaces' link in s.2(b).

Entry into, and practically all possible activities within a reserve are highly regulated by a permit system [ERA 8(1)]. Details of this regulation specific to each reserves are set out in the
Ecological Reserves Regulation ('ER Regs'), and permits are primarily only issued for "scientific, research or educational" purposes [ER Regs 2(1)].


4. Conservation Agreements (Easements)

While it speaks of 'conservation agreements', Manitoba's Conservation Agreements Act ('CAA') is essentially a provincial conservation easements statute, similar to several others across the country.

It allows for the creation of agreements, registered on title, between grantors (landowners), on the one part, and holders (Canada and it's agencies, Manitoba, municipalities or non-profit organizations) on the other part. Such agreements restrict grantor rights in favour of conservation goals such as "protection and enhancement of natural ecosystems, wildlife or fisheries habitat, and plant or animal species" [ER Regs 2(2)], and are binding and enforceable on both present subsequent purchasers of the land [CAA 3(2)].

It is the nature of a conservation easement that the terms of it's conservation protections are specific to each agreement and the land to which it relates [CAA 2(3)].


5. Habitat and Wildlife Initiatives

The Manitoba Habitat Heritage Act ('MHHA') establishes the Manitoba Habitat Heritage Corporation (the 'Corporation'), whose objects are "the conservation, restoration and enhancement of Manitoba fish and wildlife habitat and the fish and wildlife populations thereof in a manner not inconsistent with The Fisheries Act and The Wildlife Act" (see those modules) [MHHA 3].

The Corporation may manage habitat both on Crown land and on private land with agreement of the owner, and may by way of financial grants or "making available the advice and services of habitat experts or otherwise, assist an owner of private land to provide effective management of any habitat thereon" [MHHA 5].

Similar funding for the following fish and wildlife initiatives is available under the Fish and Wildlife Enhancement Fund Act ('FWEFA') [FWEFA 1, 2(5)]:
  • to conserve or increase populations;

  • to protect, manage or restore habitats;

  • to study of populations or habitats;

  • angler, hunter and trapper education programs; and

  • the acquisition, by purchase, lease or other means, of property or an interest in property in order to protect a critical habitat.

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