Trapping Series

Trapping Regulations

How is trapping regulated in Canada? Throughout chapter three, you will learn how commercial trapping is regulated on both a provincial and federal level within Canada.

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How is Trapping Regulated in Canada?


Wildlife trapping is not governed federally, but instead, is governed by provincial, territorial, and municipal regulations¹. The Canadian Furbearer Management Committee (CFMC), under the direction of the Canadian Wildlife Directors Committee, coordinates trapping and furbearer management among Canadian jurisdictions². This committee is composed of Provincial and Territorial furbearer managers, the “competent authorities,” and ECCC, the lead department of the Government of Canada, and is responsible for implementation of the AIHTS (as defined in section 3.2) in Canada².

As of Fall 2023, the CFMC is composed of²: 

* Dave Kay, Chair, Canadian Furbearer Management Committee (CFMC) & AB Representative -
Heather Sayine-Crawford, Canadian Wildlife Directors Committee -
* Doug Chiasson, Executive Director, Fur Institute of Canada (FIC) -
* Pierre Canac-Marquis, Trap Research and Development Coordinator, FIC -
* Gerad Hales, BC Representative – CFMC -
* Stephen MacIver, BC Representative – CFMC -
Travis Williams, SK Representative – CFMC -
* Dean Berezanski, MB Representative – CFMC -
Darwin Rosien, ON Representative – CFMC -
* Aaron Walpole, ON Representative – CFMC -
* Emmanuel Dalpe-Charron, QC Representative – CFMC -
* Jonathan Cormier, NB Representative – CFMC -
* Garry Gregory, PE Representative – CFMC -
* Glen Parsons, NS Representative – CFMC -
* Bruce Rodrigues, NF Representative – CFMC -
* Catherine Pinard, YT Representative – CFMC -
* Ryan Sealy, YT Representative – CFMC -
Gila Somers, NT Representative – CFMC -
* Zoya Martin, NU Representative – CFMC -
Caroline Ladanowski, ECCC Representative - CFMC -
Michael Brown, ECCC Representative – CFMC -
Cynthia Pekarik, ECCC Representative – CFMC -

*This individual is or has been openly connected to the Fur Institute of Canada, their respective provincial trapping and hunting association, or other hunting and trapping organizations. 

Trapping regulations are also indicated in Wildlife Acts & Regulations for each province and territory. Here are the relevant Wildlife Acts & Regulations and guides for western Canada:


British Columbia


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January 15, 2024

International Trapping Standards (AIHTS)


The Agreement on International Humane Trapping Standards (AIHTS - the “Agreement”) was signed in 1997 and ratified by Canada in 1999. The Agreement was originally an agreement between the European Community, Canada, and Russia, to establish humane trapping methods, improve communication and cooperation between the parties, and facilitate fur-trade between parties (Article 2)¹. 

The Agreement applies to trapping methods and the certification of traps for the trapping of wild terrestrial or semi-aquatic mammals for¹: 

(a) wildlife management purposes including pest control;
(b) obtaining fur, skin, or meat; and,
(c) the capture of mammals for conservation.

In essence, the Agreement sets out a process to certify humane traps and establish a timeline to improve current trap methods and trap device design standards. Generally, the welfare of animals captured in killing devices of any type is based on ‘time-to-death’, while the welfare of animals captured in live-restraining devices is evaluated based on injury scores². 

Such standards of certified ‘humane’ traps include¹:

  • for restraining traps: the level of indicators beyond which the welfare of trapped animals is considered poor; and, 
  • for killing traps: the time to unconsciousness and insensibility and the maintenance of this state until death of the animal.

A killing trapping method would meet the standards if¹: 

(a) the number of specimens of the same target species from which the data are derived is at least 12;
(b) at least 80% of these animals are unconscious and insensible within the time limit, and remain in this state until death; and,
(c) the time limit for an animal to become unconscious is 300 seconds. 

AIHTS states that this acceptable time limit will be evaluated by the CFMC at a three-year review to reduce killing trap time limits from 300 seconds (5 minutes) to 180 seconds (3 minutes). This review has not occurred since the signing of the Agreement in 1997.

According to the CFMC³: 

“Canada is the recognized leader among AIHTS signatories for its trap research and development program, providing the scientific foundation to help satisfy its responsibilities under the AIHTS as well as supporting collaborative efforts with the European Union, Russia, and the United States of America to advance humane trapping. To date, the primary focus of this program has been on certifying manufactured traps to the established standards. Given these priorities, there have been no efforts yet made by the AIHTS signatories to refine these standards”.

In essence, this means that hundreds to thousands of animals unnecessarily suffer in outdated and ineffective snare and trap configurations each year. Although this is known by the CFMC and the ECCC, they are not taking steps to increase the effectiveness of snares and reduce their time-to-death killing limits. Refer to section 3.3 below for further information on Canada’s trap and research development program.

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January 15, 2024

Canada’s Trap Research and Development Program


In addition to trapping being regulated by the CFMC, its protocols and practices are designed by the Trap Research and Development Program¹. The Trap Research and Development Program is coordinated by the FIC and implemented by the Alberta Research Council and its subsequent iterations (now InnoTech Alberta) since 1983¹. 

The InnoTech Alberta facility is located in Vegreville, Alberta. The facility itself is heavily guarded with a no fly zone in the airspace around it, security guards, no phones/devices allowed within the facility, a gated secure entryway, and prison-like barbed wire fenced walls surrounding the building complex. It is here where research is conducted on the design and effectiveness of traps used within Canada. The research itself is funded by taxpayer dollars through the ECCC and administered by the FIC². We submitted a Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy (FOIP) Act request to learn more about the research and methodologies conducted at the facility. Out of the 735 page document received from this request, all but 8 pages were redacted. Further efforts to communicate with the FIC regarding the research conducted at InnoTech Alberta have either gone unanswered or responses have been heavily redacted. 

In the past 23 years, only four papers have been published by InnoTech, with none being published in the last 17 years. Only two of the four papers were properly peer-reviewed. The most significant paper was to replace research on live animals with computer model simulations. This paper is not properly peer-reviewed and the few details provided raise significant concerns regarding the validity of this method. This approach has been applied to additional pieces without any published documentation that can be reviewed. 

Specifically, species-specific computer simulation models have eliminated the need for live animal testing for the certification of manufactured traps, aligning with the wildlife guidelines of the Canadian Council on Animal Care¹. There are a few major flaws with the computer simulation model. Firstly, the computer simulation models assume that conditions in the lab replicate the conditions found in the natural environment. Secondly, it also assumes that trappers set traps correctly, which takes many years of practice and expertise. Thus, it cannot be assumed that a killing trap set in the wild meets the humane standards found in a lab and is species-specific. The result is the unnecessary suffering of wildlife.

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January 23, 2024

Next Chapter In Series...

The Case Against Neck Snares


Chapter four focuses on neck snare traps. In this chapter, you will learn what neck snares are, how they work, their effects on the environment, and more. Ethical and humane considerations of neck snares will also be explored in detail.

End of Series

The Case Against Neck Snares

You've reached the end of this series! We hope you feel more informed, and better prepared to discuss the topics covered to help educate those around you.