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Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations

Wildlife Act Review

Controlled Alien Species Regulation

General Questions

NOTE: As of March 16, 2009, it is an offence to breed your Controlled Alien Species unless you are an accredited zoo, education or research institution OR you have been granted a permit to do so. It is also an offence to possess a Controlled Alien Species if that animal was not already in B.C. on March 16, 2009, unless you obtained a permit before bringing it into to B.C.

All owners of Controlled Alien Species will require a permit by April 1, 2010.

  • What is the Controlled Alien Species Regulation?
    The Wildlife Act’s new Controlled Alien Species Regulation is a regulation that controls the possession, breeding, shipping and releasing of alien animals (i.e. that are not native to BC) that pose a serious risk to the health or safety of people.  Under Sections 6.4 and 6.5 of the Wildlife Act, the Minister of the Environment has authority to designate species as Controlled Alien Species and to regulate these species.  You can find the Regulation here and the Amended Regulation here (PDF/119 KB).
  • Why did the Province create the Controlled Alien Species Regulation?
    The provincial government has the responsibility of ensuring public safety and the listed animals pose a serious risk to that safety. The regulation protects the public while also ensuring that recognized institutions can continue to possess these animals. The BC SPCA, the Union of BC Municipalities and the Office of the Chief Coroner all requested the control of alien species.
  • Are Controlled Alien Species different from British Columbia s wildlife?
    Controlled Alien Species are species that are NOT native to British Columbia and are therefore NOT considered wildlife.
  • Who will be affected by the Controlled Alien Species Regulation?
    The Controlled Alien Species Regulation mainly affects the owners and breeders of Controlled Alien Species, the film industry, circuses, zoos, educational and research institutions, pet stores and rescue centres. In essence, anyone who is in possession of a Controlled Alien Species is affected by this regulation.
  • What animals are considered to be controlled alien species?
    A detailed list of Controlled Alien Species can be found on our website. Here you will find the list organized into both scientific and common names.

    The legislated list of Controlled Alien Species may be found here and Amended Regulation here (PDF/119 KB).

  • How many species are listed as Controlled Alien Species?
    There are roughly 1,200 species on the Controlled Alien Species list.  A detailed list of Controlled Alien Species can be found on our website.  Here you will find the list organized into both scientific and common names.
  • Are hybrids included in this regulation?
    Yes, the same rules apply to hybrid animals that have an ancestor within four generations that is a species designated as a Controlled Alien Species.
  • Why are some animals not included e.g. zebras?
    At this time, the Ministry of Environment is only regulating those animals that pose the greatest threat to human health and safety.
  • How many of these animals are presently in British Columbia?
    The exact number is unknown. As these species have been largely unregulated, no count or census has been done. When Alberta introduced their regulations, they issued roughly 1200 permits.
  • I have an animal on the list of prohibited Controlled Alien Species. What should I do?
    If the Controlled Alien Species was in B.C. on or before March 16, 2009, you will need to have for a permit for that animal before April 1, 2010. You can start applying for these permits on November 1, 2009. To ensure compliance with the regulation, and obtain your permit before the March 31, 2010 deadline, we suggest you submit your completed application on or before February 1, 2010. Please see the area of our website that best applies to you as there are different requirements for different situations.
  • Does the new Controlled Alien Species regulation take precedence over municipal by-laws?
    NO. Municipal by-laws can be more restrictive than the provincial regulation. The Controlled Alien Species regulation is now a minimum standard across the province. .
  • Who is responsible for the listed Controlled Alien Species?
    The person who possesses the Controlled Alien Species is responsible for its well-being and for public safety.
  • Can a conservation officer or constable seize a Controlled Alien Species?
    Conservation Officers and constables have the authority to seize or destroy Controlled Alien Species. Typically, this would occur where there are strong reasons to do so e.g. where the animal presents an immediate threat to the health or safety of a person.

    A conservation officer or constable may seize a Controlled Alien Species if the person in possession of the animal (a) does not have a possession permit, (b) contravenes any condition of their permit, or (c) contravenes any aspect of the Controlled Alien Species Regulation.

  • What are the fines associated with offences?
    The penalties associated with breeding or releasing for a first time offender are:
    • fines ranging from $2,500 to a maximum of $250,000; or
    • a term of imprisonment not exceeding two years; or
    • both a fine and a sentence.
    The penalties for possession without a permit for a first time offender are:
    • fines up to a maximum of $100,000; or
    • a term of imprisonment of one year; or
    • both a fine and a sentence.
  • When will I need to obtain a possession permit?
    If you possessed one of the listed species on or before March 16, 2009, you may be able to get a possession permit that will be valid for the life of the animal. All owners of Controlled Alien Species will require a possession permit after April 1, 2010. If the animal was not already in B.C. on or before March 16, 2009, its possession is illegal unless you obtain a possession permit from the B.C. Ministry of Environment before bringing it into B.C.
  • Is there a fee for the permit?
    No, currently, there are no fees for permits issued before April 1, 2010
  • How long will it take to obtain a permit?
    B.C. Ministry of Environment's Permit and Authorization Service Bureau (PASB) will be accepting permit applications for Controlled Alien Species after November 1, 2009. Please allow 60 working days for us to review and process your application. For this reason, we suggest that you submit your application on or before February 1, 2010, to ensure compliance with the regulation and that you have your permit in place before the April 1, 2010 deadline.
  • When will B.C. Ministry of Environment s Permit and Authorization Service Bureau be accepting applications for permits?
    B.C. Ministry of Environment's Permit and Authorization Service Bureau (PASB) will be accepting permit applications for Controlled Alien Species after November 1, 2009. To ensure compliance with the regulation, and that you obtain your permit before the April 1, 2010 deadline, we suggest that you submit your permit application on or before February 1, 2010.
  • Where do I submit my permit application?
    Please submit your permit applications to the following address:

    ATTENTION: Controlled Alien Species Permits
    Permit and Authorization Service Bureau
    Ministry of Environment
    PO Box 9372 STN PROV GOVT
    Victoria B.C., V8W 9M3
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