Government of Canada / Gouvernement du Canada
Symbol of the Government of Canada


Migratory Birds Convention Act, 1994 (S.C. 1994, c. 22)

Act current to 2021-06-28 and last amended on 2017-12-12. Previous Versions

Migratory Birds Convention Act, 1994

S.C. 1994, c. 22

Assented to 1994-06-23

An Act to implement a Convention for the protection of migratory birds in Canada and the United States

Her Majesty, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate and House of Commons of Canada, enacts as follows:

Short Title

Marginal note:Short title

 This Act may be cited as the Migratory Birds Convention Act, 1994.


Marginal note:Definitions

  •  (1) In this Act,

    Canadian vessel

    Canadian vessel means a vessel

    • (a) that is registered, listed or licensed under the Canada Shipping Act, 2001,

    • (b) that is not registered, listed or licensed under the Canada Shipping Act, 2001 or under the laws of another state but is owned by one or more persons each of whom is

      • (i) a Canadian citizen,

      • (ii) in the case of a vessel that is not required to be registered, listed or licensed under that Act, a person who is resident and domiciled in Canada, or

      • (iii) a corporation incorporated under the laws of Canada or a province, that has its principal place of business in Canada, or

    • (c) that is not registered, listed or licensed under the Canada Shipping Act, 2001 but is owned or operated by Her Majesty in right of Canada; (bâtiment canadien)

    Chief Review Officer

    Chief Review Officer means the review officer appointed as Chief Review Officer under subsection 244(1) of the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999 and includes any review officer designated under subsection 244(3) of that Act to perform the functions of the Chief Review Officer; (réviseur-chef)


    Convention means the Convention set out in the schedule, as amended from time to time; (convention)


    conveyance means a vehicle, aircraft, vessel or any other contrivance that is used to move persons or goods; (moyen de transport)


    deposit means any discharging, spraying, releasing, spilling, leaking, seeping, pouring, emitting, emptying, throwing, dumping or placing; (immersion ou rejet)


    environment means the components of the Earth and includes

    • (a) air, land and water,

    • (b) all layers of the atmosphere,

    • (c) all organic and inorganic matter and living organisms, and

    • (d) the interacting natural systems that include the components referred to in paragraphs (a) to (c); (environnement)

    fixed platform

    fixed platform means an artificial island or a marine installation or structure that is permanently attached to the seabed for the purpose of exploration or exploitation of resources or for other economic purposes; (plate-forme fixe)

    foreign national

    foreign national has the same meaning as in subsection 2(1) of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act; (étranger)

    foreign vessel

    foreign vessel means a vessel that is not a Canadian vessel; (bâtiment étranger)


    master includes every person who has command or charge of a vessel but excludes a licensed pilot within the meaning of section 1.1 of the Pilotage Act; (capitaine)

    migratory bird

    migratory bird means a migratory bird referred to in the Convention, and includes the sperm, eggs, embryos, tissue cultures and parts of the bird; (oiseau migrateur)


    Minister means the Minister of the Environment or, in respect of any matter related to the Northern Pipeline referred to in the Northern Pipeline Act, the member of the Queen’s Privy Council for Canada designated as the Minister for the purposes of that Act; (ministre)


    nest means the nest of a migratory bird and includes parts of the nest. (nid)


    operator, in respect of a vessel, means a person other than an owner who has, either by law or by contract, the possession and use of the vessel; (exploitant)


    owner, in respect of a vessel, means an actual owner of the vessel if the vessel is not registered or listed, or a registered owner if it is registered or listed; (propriétaire)


    vessel means a boat, ship or craft designed, used or capable of being used solely or partly for navigation in, on, through or immediately above water, without regard to the method or lack of propulsion, but does not include a fixed platform. (bâtiment)

  • Marginal note:Possession

    (2) For the purposes of this Act,

    • (a) a person has anything in possession when the person has it in their personal possession or knowingly

      • (i) has it in the actual possession or custody of another person, or

      • (ii) has it in any place, whether or not that place belongs to or is occupied by the person, for their own use or benefit or for the use or benefit of another person; and

    • (b) where a person has anything in their possession or custody with the knowledge and consent of another person or other persons, it is in the possession and custody of each and all of them.

  • Marginal note:Aboriginal and treaty rights

    (3) For greater certainty, nothing in this Act shall be construed so as to abrogate or derogate from any existing aboriginal or treaty rights of the aboriginal peoples of Canada under section 35 of the Constitution Act, 1982.

  • 1994, c. 22, s. 2
  • 2005, c. 23, ss. 1, 43, 44
  • 2009, c. 14, s. 94


Marginal note:Application

 This Act applies in Canada and in the exclusive economic zone of Canada.

  • 2005, c. 23, s. 2

Her Majesty

Marginal note:Binding on Her Majesty

 This Act is binding on Her Majesty in right of Canada or a province.


Marginal note:Purpose

 The purpose of this Act is to implement the Convention by protecting and conserving migratory birds — as populations and individ­ual birds — and their nests.

  • 1994, c. 22, s. 4
  • 2005, c. 23, s. 3


Marginal note:Prohibition

 Except as authorized by the regulations, no person shall, without lawful excuse,

  • (a) be in possession of a migratory bird or nest; or

  • (b) buy, sell, exchange or give a migratory bird or nest or make it the subject of a commercial transaction.

Marginal note:Prohibition

  •  (1) No person or vessel shall deposit a substance that is harmful to migratory birds, or permit such a substance to be deposited, in waters or an area frequented by migratory birds or in a place from which the substance may enter such waters or such an area.

  • Marginal note:Prohibition

    (2) No person or vessel shall deposit a substance or permit a substance to be deposited in any place if the substance, in combination with one or more substances, results in a substance — in waters or an area frequented by migratory birds or in a place from which it may enter such waters or such an area — that is harmful to migratory birds.

  • Marginal note:Saving

    (3) Subsections (1) and (2) do not apply if

    • (a) the deposit is authorized under the Canada Shipping Act, 2001; or

    • (b) the substance is of a type and quantity, and the deposit is made under conditions, authorized under an Act of Parliament other than the Canada Shipping Act, 2001, or authorized by the Minister for scientific purposes.

  • 2005, c. 23, ss. 4, 45
Date modified: