Updated:  18 Jan 2008


Ministry of Natural Resources

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R.C.S. Animal Care
Dorchester, ON



The Ministry of Natural Resources and itís history with maintaining election/platform promises has been sad where Wildlife Rehabilitators are concerned.  Operating under the rules and regulations of the Fish & Wildlife Act, the policies and procedures for Wildlife Custodians change every time thereís an election; however, the last changes this Ministry wanted to make caused an uproar with the wildlife custodians across the province.

On December 12, 2004, with prior consultation only from the Canadian Co-operative Wildlife Health Centre; OWREN, and the Rabies Advisory Council, an Environmental Registry Proposal #PB04E6022 proposal was put forward.  After an in-depth review of the proposal by some of our members, it appeared that the Ministry was intending to put into place, some unconceivable regulations about the W5 of raising wildlife.  Some of the more major issues were: Release Restriction (releasing between 1km to 5km of where animal was found; Elimination of Foster Families (reducing the already limited number of AWCís available to handle the workload; Acceptance Restriction (denying/accepting animals found beyond 50km; and, Reporting & Monitoring.

In our south-west region alone, the EBR proposal, identifying changes to be made on how wildlife is to be dealt with, enraged rehabbers and made things quite difficult for those custodians to do their job.  In order to help better serve the animals we had in care; along with supporting the rehabbers caring for those animals, some members of the original VWC felt it was necessary to pursue the political aspect and become actively involved in an attempt to bring our concerns to the political powers with the hope they may amend their policies.   This group kept the original VWC name and embarked on their political regime by sending letters and petitions to local MPPs.  

During this time, as some members felt that the MNR would never change and regardless of the new conditions, just wanted to continue rehabbing; others felt they didnít have the conviction to continue rehabbing under the new proposed conditions.  The group, as we knew it, subsequently divided and renamed themselves Wildlife Guardians.  Personally, seeing the group split was a very difficult time for me.  While I agreed that a political aspect was required, and, at one point, was embarrassed and actually ashamed that Iíd become a rehabber in the first place, it was no longer in my nature to get involved politically and felt more comfortable continuing to do what I thought was best and let the political group go ahead and do what they thought was best.

Since the split, VWC has persisted with sincere dedication with letter and petition campaigns focused on trying to bring the unreasonable rules and regulations to the Ministryís attention and encouraging them to provide more positive working conditions.  Of late, in response to the EBR, VWC submitted a paper.   Fortunately, as a result, while not all of the suggestions submitted were agreed to, some minor changes were made.  For a more, in-depth review of what the EBR has proposed, please click here.

Regardless of where each rehabber stands, I personally believe that the progress this group has made is nothing short of incredible and their determination and commitment cannot go unrecognized.  While I know my integrity for rehabbing within the MNR guidelines was questioned and challenged by VWC, I hope all will respect my decision as I have nothing but the utmost respect for them and know they will only be of help to me and other rehabbers in the future.  My hat goes off to them all for their hard work!

MNR Regions and Districts
Click on map to enlarge (pdf).

Ministry regulations for raising wildlife have changed over the last couple of years; and, more recently, have, in the view of not all rehabbers, made it more difficult for those interested in rehabbing.  The controversy will continue until some of the regulations are amended to reflect a more conducive working relationship between rehabber and Ministry officials.