Explore environmental careers.
As a conservation officer, you have a variety of responsibilities, including promoting compliances with environmental legislation through public education, public involvement, and awareness. You are often responsible for enforcing provincial and federal environmental regulations governing the protection of wildlife, fisheries, and natural resources, and have the authority afforded that of a peace officer as outlined under the criminal code of Canada. You are always on call to respond to public complaints and protect our natural resources.
At a glanceImagine it is barely dawn and the warm morning temperature promises that today will be another scorcher, even at your remote station. You jump into your four-wheel-drive Jeep and start off down an old logging trail. You are a conservation officer and today you are headed to a section in the northeast part of your patrol. You have been receiving reports of campfires in that area, even though there is a complete fire ban in the district. With the dry summer conditions, campfires are extremely dangerous: one errant spark could start a blazing forest fire. This morning you hope to find the group responsible and stop them before they light another fire. As one of a small group of conservation officers in this district, you know the area fairly well. From reports received, you have a good idea where this group is. You head out to that area and find campers boiling water for their morning coffee over an illegal fire. You explain to the group the dangerous consequences of their campfire and issue them a ticket. They seem receptive enough, but since you will be in the area all day, you make a note to visit them again in the evening, to make sure they don't start any more fires. In the meantime, you make your rounds among the area's few residents. Part of your job as a conservation officer is to build strong relationships with the public, so you work hard to maintain a friendly rapport with your neighbours. Often they are your eyes and ears in areas where you can't be everyday, so they report illegal activity such as campfires and poaching. By enforcing the campfire ban and laws prohibiting wildlife poaching, you are working to ensure the conservation of Canada's environment.
Job dutiesDuties vary significantly from job to job, but the following list includes typical job duties one might encounter as a conservation officer:
- Patrol natural areas to ensure their conservation and protection.
- Enforce all environmental legislation, including issuing tickets and subpoenas.
- Check hunting and fishing parties for licenses, bag limits, and compliance with safety regulations, for example boating safety, firearm safety, and snowmobile and ATV safety.
- Investigate complaints of non-compliance with natural resource laws, including pollution of waters, destruction of fish and wildlife habitat, importation of endangered or non-native species, and poaching reports.
- Prepare files for court briefings, continuity of evidence, and consultations with the Crown Prosecutor.
- Administration of Crown land, including road allowances, land issues, intercept feeding, and lake stocking.
- Advise the public on safety issues, for example campfires and potentially dangerous wildlife.
Work environmentConservation officers work in a variety of locations, including, but not limited to: In the field:
- Patrolling areas and investigating complaints
- Monitoring and enforcing compliance with environmental regulations, and issuing tickets to offenders
- Responding to emergency situations
- Doing paperwork and documenting complaints and actions taken
- Communicating on the phone and in meetings with government departments and the public
Where to workMost conservation officers are employed by federal or provincial/territorial agencies responsible for environmental legislation and enforcement.
Education & requirementsIf you are a high school student considering a career as a conservation officer, you should have strong marks or an interest in:
- Physical Education/Outdoor Education
- Legal Studies
- Renewable Resource Management
- Natural Resource Management
- Fish and Wildlife
- Ecosystem Management
- Biology and Environmental Studies