City Birds

ECCC looks to expand protections for migratory birds

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC) recently proposed changes to the  Migratory Birds Regulations (Regulations), which will replace the existing regulations under the Migratory Birds Convention Act (Act).

According to the ECCC’S statement, the new Regulations contain many changes that can be classified as modernizing or administrative in nature, some of which will provide clarity that has been previously lacking. However, there are also proposed changes to the prohibitions which, if registered and enforced as written, could have a significant impact on industrial, commercial and individual activities across Canada.

The conditions which allow the hunting of migratory birds have been modernized and the additional circumstances where birds may be deliberately killed or scared when they are causing damage have been clarified and slightly expanded. But the Regulations have not been amended in a way that would enable permits or other regulatory instruments to allow for activities that result in non-direct, incidental harm to birds or their nests.

The expanded prohibition on incidental harm to birds has the potential to cause significant challenges for practically any activities carried on outdoors in Canada. If implemented as currently proposed, clearing land, operating heavy machinery, farming, operating energy projects, building high-rise buildings, using nighttime lighting, setting off fireworks, or even driving cars, all have the potential to cause the prohibited harm to birds and result in contravention of the Act.

Read more about the proposed changes here.  ECCC is seeking input on the proposed new regulations until July 31, 2019.

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