The Wildlife Act is the foundation for conserving and managing wildlife in British Columbia. Wildlife is an integral part of First Nations’ heritage and culture and provides enjoyment and economic benefits for British Columbians.
Last updated: March 9, 2022
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The Wildlife Act provides for the conservation and management of wildlife and wildlife habitats, including hunting/fishing. This includes:
- setting out licence and permit requirements and fees for applications for trapping, angling and hunting
- establishment of wildlife related offences
- designation wildlife management areas
- setting out the powers of a conservation officer
The Act is supported by multiple Wildlife Act Regulations.
The Province has introduced legislative amendments to the Wildlife Act aimed to support reconciliation and greater collaboration with Indigenous peoples in wildlife stewardship in B.C. These amendments were developed in partnership with the First Nations-BC Wildlife and Habitat Conservation Forum and are part of implementing Together for Wildlife.
These amendments are a first step in demonstrating government’s commitment to reconciliation under the Wildlife Act and is an important step as we move toward co-management of wildlife. The Province consulted extensively with First Nations, indigenous-led organizations and others on the policy intentions, heard their viewpoints and made improvements to the Bill.
The amendments, introduced on March 9, 2022, include:
- Definitions for “first nation”, “governing body”, “guest”, “host first nation” and “sheltering agreement”
- Incorporation of Indigenous Knowledge in decision-making under the Wildlife Act, and protection and confidentiality of that Indigenous Knowledge
- Establishing jurisdiction for the Province, through the Minister, to enter into agreements with First Nation governance structures regarding Protocol Hunting and Sheltering
There is more work to do and more consultation will occur with First Nations, stakeholders, other partners and staff as these amendments are implemented.
More information on the amendments can be found in the Wildlife Act - Indigenous Amendments, 2022 summary document (PDF, 232KB)
The full text of the amendments can be found in Bill 14 – 2022: Wildlife Amendment Act, 2022
The Province wishes to recognize that the late Bill Blackwater Jr., a dedicated member of the First Nations-BC Wildlife and Habitat Conservation Forum from its inception, was critical to this work, specifically in leading the changes for the use of Indigenous Knowledge in Wildlife Act decisions. His contribution and legacy are recognized in the words of his brother-in-law, Brian Williams:
“Bill was a distinguished Leader as Simo’ogit Ma uus. He was a kind and articulate person that valued the Gitxsan culture and heritage very much. His participation within the Wildlife forum was to engage with the world the importance and value wildlife was for the Gitxsan nation. We only take what we need to feed our families. He was instrumental talking with the government on Gitxsan Ayookw (law). Last but not least a fighter to the end. He fought through 5 surgeries to stay in this world for his family, for his Wilp (housegroup) and for the Gitxsan Nation as a Gitxsan Chief, Ma uus, a father, grandfather, brother and my dear Brother in Law."