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Violation ticket fines increasing to strengthen wildlife protection

June 17, 2024 at 4:28 pm  BC, News, Politics, Provincial

Those who commit offences that harm wildlife and fish, including illegal hunting and angling, will soon face higher fines.

Violation ticket fines issued under the Wildlife Act help discourage unlawful activities that harm fish and wildlife. The new fine amounts better reflect the serious nature of these offences and recognize the importance of wildlife to everyone living in British Columbia.

Fines under the Wildlife Act and its regulations have not been substantially updated in more than two decades. Effective June 18, 2024, the new fines for violation tickets range from $345 to $1,495, a significant increase from the current range of $115 to $575. Approximately 200 violation ticket fines are increased. The highest new fine amount, $1,495, will apply to people hunting wildlife defined as big game during a closed hunting season, the unlawful possession of big game or the unlawful possession of threatened or endangered species, as well as other serious offences under the Wildlife Act and its regulations.

Violations of the Wildlife Act can have negative impacts on fish and wildlife and the habitats they rely on to survive and thrive. Other offences include: unlawful trapping, hunting and angling; hunting without a licence; operating a motor vehicle in an area where motor vehicles are prohibited; damage to wildlife habitat; and illegal trafficking of wildlife.

This change to the violation ticket fine structure is supported by stakeholders throughout the natural-resource sector, including hunters, anglers, conservationists, guide outfitters, trappers and others, as well as many First Nations partners that welcome harsher penalties for people who demonstrate a lack of respect for fish, wildlife and their habitats.

The Conservation Officer Service is part of the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Strategy and is the lead agency that enforces the Wildlife Act and its regulations throughout the province. BC Parks rangers, RCMP officers and Fisheries and Oceans Canada officers are also authorized to enforce this legislation.

Penalties for Wildlife Act violations include warnings, violation tickets, court prosecution and community justice forums. The Province’s conservation officers will continue to recommend court appearances and formal charges for serious offences where issuing a violation ticket is not appropriate. Penalties higher than a violation ticket fine will continue to be sought in those circumstances.

Quick Facts:

  • The B.C. government reviewed comparable fine amounts in other jurisdictions in Canada and in the western United States to help guide adjustments to the Violation Ticket Administration and Fines Regulation in British Columbia.
  • The number of violation tickets issued under the Wildlife Act is consistently one of the highest totals for all legislation enforced by the Conservation Officer Service.
  • More than 1,000 tickets for various Wildlife Act offences were issued in 2023, resulting in more than $200,000 in fines.
  • As part of its Together for Wildlife Strategy, the Province initiated a review of the Wildlife Act in 2022 to improve the conservation and stewardship of wildlife and the protection of important wildlife habitats in British Columbia, while also recognizing the interests of rights and title holders.
  • Setting out clear, measurable objectives for wildlife and habitat stewardship will support focused action to help avoid declines in wildlife populations and address the needs of species at risk.

Learn More:

For more information about the B.C. Conservation Officer Service, visit

For more information on the Province’s review of the Wildlife Act, which is expected to be competed in the spring of 2026, visit:

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