Controlled Alien Species for Film Industry & Circuses
Exotic animals are known as controlled alien species in B.C. Controlled alien species in the province may be displayed for entertainment purposes under some circumstances and with a permit.
For the purposes of the Controlled Alien Species Regulation, the B.C. Government considers the film industry to include those involved in providing entertainment by means of print, television or commercial film.
Commercial film includes all images captured on film, videotape, disk or by others means, undertaken with the intent of monetary return or for use as public educational, entertainment, promotional or advertising material.
The film industry requires a permit to possess a controlled alien species that is in B.C. for use in commercial filming.
For the purposes of the Controlled Alien Species Regulation, the B.C. Government considers a circus to include any company of performers providing live entertainment that may include the public display of controlled alien species.
The B.C. government does not issue permits to possess controlled alien species in B.C for the purposes of circus performance.
Apply for a Permit as Film Industry
If the controlled alien species resides in British Columbia, the owner of the animal must apply for and obtain a Personal Possession Permit, and the film industry organization must apply for and obtain a Commercial Filming Possession Permit.
Fill out the following application to request a Commercial Filming Possession Permit for possession of a prohibited controlled alien species for the purpose of commercial filming:
If the controlled alien species does not reside in British Columbia, and the person or film industry organization wanting to bring the animal into the province does not already hold a B.C. possession permit, that person or film industry organization must apply for and obtain a Transitory Possession Permit, prior to the animal arriving in B.C. The terms of the permit dictate that the controlled alien species can remain in B.C. only for a short period time, and then must leave B.C. within a specified time frame.
Fill out the following application to request a Transitory Possession Permit for temporary possession and transportation of a prohibited controlled alien species:
Applicants have three options for submitting their permit applications:
- Mail your permit application to
ATTN: Controlled Alien Species Permit
Wildlife & Habitat Branch
PO Box 9391 STN PROV GOVT
- Email your application to ControlledAlienSpecies@gov.bc.ca
- Fax your application to 250 387-0239
There are currently no fees for controlled alien species permits in B.C.
Please allow a minimum of 60 business days for your application to be reviewed and processed.
Rules for Possession
Once a Commercial Filming Possession Permit has been granted, a person or film industry organization will be able to:
- Possess a controlled alien species for the purpose of commercial filming
- Ship or transport a controlled alien species in B.C., accompanied with its permits
- Part C of the Commercial Filming Possession Permit application must be filled in
- Temporarily possess a controlled alien species with a Transitory Possession Permit
- Temporarily ship or transport a controlled alien species into B.C. with a Transitory Possession Permit
Film industry organizations will be prohibited from:
- Breeding controlled alien species
- Releasing controlled alien species
- Exhibiting or displaying controlled alien species to the public
The penalties associated with breeding or releasing for a first time offender are one of the following:
- Fines ranging from $2,500 to a maximum of $250,000
- A term of imprisonment not exceeding two years
- Both a fine and a sentence
The penalties for possession without a permit for a first time offender are one of the following:
- Fines up to a maximum of $100,000
- A term of imprisonment of one year
- Both a fine and a sentence
There are over 22 local governments in British Columbia that have bylaws dealing with controlled alien species. It is the obligation of both the film industry operator and the individual owner of the animal to comply with municipal bylaws.
It is the obligation of both the film industry and the individual owners of the controlled alien species to comply with any federal requirements such as the Convention on International Trade In Endangered Species of Wild Fauna & Flora (CITES), and Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) Acts and Regulations.