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Simon Shields,
LLB

Barrister and Solicitor
(Retired)
LSUC #37308N


simonshields@isp.com

Legal Writing and Research


Wildlife Law of Canada

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Park-Related Acts (Saskatchewan)

(current to 15 August 2016)

Note Re Application of the:
  • The Parks Act
  • The Ecological Reserves Act
  • The Wildlife Habitat Protection Act
  • The Conservation Easements Act
All of these statutes bear, directly or indirectly, on the preservation of wildlife habitat, and to a lesser degree protection of wildlife within designated park or other lands.

These laws bear on the wildlife issues of:
  • HABITAT
  • PROTECTION
  • IMPORT/EXPORT/RELOCATION
  • HABITAT
  • HUNTING
The full current text of this legislation (including regulations) may be viewed at the Saskatchewan statute website

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Table of Contents
1. Overview
2. Provincial Parks
(a) Overview
(b) Wildlife and Habitat-Related Provisions
3. Ecological Reserves
4. Wildlife Habitat Protection
5. Conservation Easements
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1. Overview

Saskatchewan's park and habitat-protection legislation is spread over four separate statutes. This module address each statute in turn.


2. Provincial Parks

(a) Overview

There are four different categories of parks under the Parks Act ('PA'): historic parks [Part A], recreation parks [Part B], natural environment parks [Part C] and wilderness parks [Part D] [PA 2(1)(h)]. They are listed in the respective Parts of the Schedule to the Parks Act noted (scroll down) [PA 4], and may be explored further at this website Our Parks.

Additionally, the Parks Act creates Crown land 'protected areas' to "be used primarily for the protection and preservation of their natural, prehistoric or historic resources of interest or significance" [Schedule II of the Parks Act] [PA 5], and 'park land reserves' "for the purpose of protecting those lands while a determination is made as to whether or not the lands should be established as a provincial park or protected area"[PA 9].

Park lands are "dedicated to the people of saskatchewan and visitors to saskatchewan for their enjoyment and education", and it is intended that"(t)he natural, prehistoric and historic resources of park land ... be maintained for the benefit of future generations" - so there is an indirect element of habitat preservation involved [PA 3].

The Minister may issue 'dispositions' (primarily for recreational purposes) ["permits, leases, licences, easements or other authorizations": PA 2(1)(d)] "for the use and occupation of park land for a term not exceeding five years" (leases for up to 21 years) [PA 15].

The Parks Act is enforced by enforcement officer [PA 28] who have the powers of peace officers such as entry, search, seizure [PA 30]. The Act contains a broad offence provision for prosecution of any violations [PA 34].

(b) Wildlife and Habitat-Related Provisions

The parks system is primarily concerned with recreational use, though there are a few wildlife and habitat-related provisions as follows:
  • the roaming of domestic animals (cattle, dogs and cats) at large in parks is prohibited [Parks Regulations 1991 ('P Regs') 33(1)];

  • where a domestic animal is "a nuisance or danger to the life, safety, health or comfort of any person, any wildlife, as defined in The Wildlife Act" in park lands then an enforcement officer may prohibit it's entry, or order it's removal, or - where it is running at large - impound it [P Regs 33(3)];

  • it is prohibited in park lands to "feed, harass, capture or hunt any wildlife" without permission or as allowed under the Wildlife Act (see that module) [P Regs 35(1)];

  • 'wildlife attractants' (typically, food and food-related items) may be removed, either by direct action or order of an enforcement officer, from park lands (other than private dwellings) [P Regs 2(1)(v), 35.1(1)];

  • "(n)o person shall pollute, contaminate or cause injury to waters in or adjacent to park land" [P Regs 39];

  • carrying on a business in a park is prohibited without prior written consent of authorities [P Regs 52];

  • it is prohibited to, without permission "take, damage or destroy a flower, plant, shrub, tree or any other natural vegetation on park land" [P Regs 59(a)];

  • it is prohibited to, with prior written consent, "alter the natural state of any part of park land" [P Regs 59(b)].

3. Ecological Reserves

An 'ecological reserve' is designated Crown land "which sustains or is associated with unique or representative parts of the natural environment" [Ecological Reserves Act ('ERA') 2(c)]. For these purposes, 'environment' means "air, land or water, and plant and animal life, including man" [ERA 2(d)]. Entry into and activities in an ecological reserve are generally prohibited, subject to allowances in the regulations or by permit [ERA 8].

The Representative Area Ecological Reserves Regulation ('RAER Regs' 4) further establishes ecological reserves whose purposes include "to create representative areas to serve as benchmarks for measuring environmental change in, and the ecological health of, other areas in Saskatchewan by ... preserving the ecological resources of representative areas" [RAER Regs 3].

The following activities are, subject to reserve-specific rules and if otherwise authorized by law, legal within a representative area ecological reserve (in groups of 10 persons or less) [RAER Regs 5]:
  • trapping;
  • hunting;
  • angling;
  • walking, hiking, backpacking and nature observation and appreciation.
Introduction of any plant or animal species into a representative area ecological reserve is generally prohibited, subject to local reserve rules [RAER Regs 5(3)].

For more information see Saskatchewan's Representative Areas Network.


4. Wildlife Habitat Protection

The Wildlife Habitat Protection Act ('WHPA') allows the province to designate any "Crown lands as wildlife habitat and ecological lands" [WHPA 3].

A variety of agricultural, forestry, commercial, industrial and resource extraction activities and alterations are restricted within such lands as set out in the The Wildlife Habitat Lands Disposition and Alteration Regulations.


5. Conservation Easements

The Conservations Easements Act ('CEA') allows for the creation of agreements, registered on title, between grantors (landowners), on the one part, and holders (Canada, Saskatchewan, municipalities or non-profit organizations) on the other part. Such agreements restrict grantor rights in favour of conservation goals such as "the protection, enhancement or restoration of natural ecosystems, wildlife habitat or habitat of rare, threatened or endangered species" and are binding and enforceably on both present subsequent purchasers of the land [CEA 3-6].

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.

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