Canada enhances Migratory Birds Regulations to protect biodiversity


Almost 400 species of migratory birds come to Canada, and they are crucial for Canadian biodiversity

Dennis Donohue /

Dennis Donohue /

Steven Guilbeault, minister of Environment and Climate Change announced, in an organizational release,1 it is modernizing the Migratory Birds Regulations (MBR) as part of the Canadian government’s commitment to protecting and conserving migratory birds. The objective of the MBR is the conservation of migratory birds, including their eggs and nests.2 This update will come into effect starting July 30, 2022.

The MBR was first enacted in 1918 and the early developments were intended to address the overharvesting of migratory birds. Since then, the challenges migratory birds face has evolved and the new modernization of the MBR was necessary to reflect that.

The main changes of the regulations are increasing clarity and compliance, recognizing Indigenous rights, and protecting nests with conservation value. The modernized MBR will also ensure that Indigenous Peoples are accurately represented and that their existing harvesting rights, recognized, and affirmed under the Constitution Act, 1982, are reflected. This includes the right to use, gift, sell, or exchange feathers; the right to hunt, gift, or exchange migratory birds; and the right to harvest their eggs.

"Birds are the chorus that comes with Canadians' love of nature. Their protection concerns us all. When the rules are clearer, it is easier for everyone to take the right actions. Modernizing the Migratory Birds Regulations will improve the ability to protect birds and complement conservation actions taken by our government. It's also an important step in reconciliation with Indigenous Peoples, to which our government is committed," Guilbeault stated in the release.1

The Canadian government is hoping this new update will find a balance between protecting birds, hunting, land use, and conservation in collaboration with Indigenous Peoples, partners, hunters, and other stakeholders.

Graham Saul, executive director of Nature Canada stated in the release, “We need policies that are clear and efficient, and the new regulations are good for bird and biodiversity conservation. Our organization fully supports their promulgation and implementation."1

The Government of Canada is protecting habitat for migratory birds by making progress toward conserving 25 percent of lands, freshwater, and oceans in Canada by 2025, and 30 percent by 2030.1

“These represent important improvements to the regulations, such as removing all ambiguity about the fact that it is prohibited to capture or harass a migratory bird,” Patrick Nadeau, president and chief executive officer of Birds Canada, stated in the release.1


  1. Canada improves regulations that protect migratory birds in Canada. News release. Environment and Climate Change Canada. June 9, 2022. Accessed June 10, 2022.
  2. Modernization of the Migratory Birds Regulations. Government of Canada. June 9, 2022. Accessed June 10, 2022.
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