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On occasion I'm asked about collecting regulations in Ontario and other provinces. This got me thinking what are the regulations across Canada. Listed below are various regulations pertaining to fossil collecting in different provinces across Canada. The information is merely an amalgamation of different sources with the sources linked or stated. I do not have the legal training to state whether fossil collecting is legal or not in each province but have put forth information that can help one come to a conclusion. Collecting fossils in Canada Fossils hold a great deal of scientific significance and can be the key to uncovering the lost linkage between ancestral organisms providing answers to modern day life. As a student geologist I work with beautiful specimens that have been properly catalogued for scientific research. As a member of a local geology club I have been searching for fossils for many years. Collecting fossils is a fun way to enjoy the outdoors but it is important that proper cataloguing and information be obtained when collecting. It is also important to understand local laws when collecting. In Canada every province has a different perspective on collecting fossils, ranging from provinces where collecting in forbidden to others with limited regulations. Ontario Sourced from the Fossil Forum: “Ontario is one of the less restrictive Canadian provinces. In speaking to one of the Paleobiology curators from the Royal Ontario Museum, you can take a fossil out of the province without a permit, if it is valued under $500 Canadian.” Source: http://www.thefossilforum.com/index.php?/topic/46868-fossil-collecting-laws-and-crossing-the-border/ Ontario has been doing a good job at promoting the province as a great source for recreational geology. For more information on recreational geology check out: http://ohto.ca/wp-content/uploads/Informational-Resources_FINAL.pdf British Columbia Source from the British Columbia government website: “Amateur collectors bring many important discoveries to the attention of professional paleontologists. The contribution of amateur collectors is becoming increasingly important for scientific discovery as the number of professional paleontologists in the field decreases. Recreational or amateur collecting is restricted to the collection of small amounts of the types of fossils that are common at the site. When unusual or rare specimens are discovered or when small quantities of fossils are present at a site, amateur collectors are encouraged to assist by reporting the findings to determine if they are significant. Under the Ministry of Lands, Parks and Housing Act, the Minister has the authority to grant a general permission to the public to collect fossils, and to affix terms and conditions to that permission. Until the Minister’s formal permission is provided, minor collecting may continue as long as the amounts are small, the fossils are common at the site, the fossils are kept for personal use, and are not sold, or removed from BC. Exceptions to this general permission to collect fossils from the surface are where the land is in a park or protected area, or where exclusive rights have been issued to another party. The Crown retains ownership of fossils collected by amateur collectors. Amateur collectors may retain possession of the fossils as long as they do not sell them or export them from the Province without permission. The permission to collect for recreational purposes does not apply to the removal of vertebrate skeletal fossils or fossil tracks. The removal of these fossils must be undertaken by a qualified person holding a research permit. Guidelines will be developed and made publicly available to assist amateur collectors in following the guidelines relating to quantity and type of fossils that are allowed to be gathered.” Source: http://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/employment-business/natural-resource-use/land-use/fossil-management/collection-and-use Alberta Sourced from the Royal Tyrrell Museum: “If you live in Alberta, and legally surface collected, you may keep the material as a custodian of the fossil, although ownership remains within the Province of Alberta. The Historical Resources Act prohibits removal of fossils from the province without a Disposition Certificate issued by the Government of Alberta.” Surface collected: the act of collecting a fossil that requires no ad (no use of tools) and can be picked up freely. Source: http://www.tyrrellmuseum.com/research/fossils_law.htm Manitoba Reading The Heritage Resources Act from Manitoba it appears that all fossils, which fall under “Heritage object,” are protected and collecting is not permitted. Sourced from Manitoba Laws The Heritage Resource Act: Section 51 - “No person shall destroy, damage or alter any heritage object, whether or not the person is the owner thereof, or any human remains.” Section 52 – “No person shall remove a heritage object from the province, whether or not the person is the owner thereof, except pursuant to a heritage permit and in accordance with such terms and conditions as may be prescribed by the minister and set out in or attached to the heritage permit.” Source: http://web2.gov.mb.ca/laws/statutes/ccsm/h039-1e.php Saskatchewan Sourced from The Heritage Property Act: Section 66.1 – Ownership of vertebrate fossils is by the crown. Section 66.2 (7) “No person shall buy, sell, offer for sale, trade, or otherwise dispose of or remove from Saskatchewan any archaeological object or palaeontological object found in or taken from land in Saskatchewan without the written permission of the minister.” Section 67 appears as though the act of searching for and removing fossils requires a permit. Source: http://www.qp.gov.sk.ca/documents/English/Statutes/Statutes/H2-2.pdf Quebec Sourced from Cultural Property Act: Looking over the Cultural Property Act it appears as though Quebec has the most ambiguous rules pertaining to paleontological items. There is numerous use of “Archaeological property” but under the definition section there is no mention of fossils or palaeontological objects concluding that this wouldn’t apply. Typing in palaeontology or fossils, no record shows up. Sources: http://www2.publicationsduquebec.gouv.qc.ca/dynamicSearch/telecharge.php?type=2&file=/B_4/B4_A.html New Brunswick Sourced from New Brunswick government website: “The importance of our palaeontological record is officially recognized in the Heritage Conservation Act. Formally asserting provincial ownership of all palaeontological objects, it stipulates that any fossils discovered in the Province must not be destroyed or removed from sites where they are found, without the required permit.” “Any activity carried out for the purpose of obtaining and documenting data on fossils, including excavation and/or removal, is defined by the Act as palaeontological field research. Exacting standards must be met under any permit authorizing such research in regard to observation, collection, preservation and recording techniques.” “Individuals who wish to study fossils, but who are not considered professionals, may also apply for field research permits. To qualify, they must demonstrate basic understanding of palaeontology, as well as appropriate knowledge of current collection and reporting techniques. The relevant application form is accessible here. Enquiries from all those interested in such palaeontological research in New Brunswick should contact the New Brunswick Museum.” Source: http://www2.gnb.ca/content/gnb/en/departments/thc/heritage/content/heritage_conservationact/palaeontological.html Nova Scotia Sourced from the Nova Scotia Government website: Nova Scotia is very similar to New Brunswick. Collecting fossils in Nova Scotia is only to be carried out by those with a “Heritage Research Permit.” This permit allows you to search for fossils, document, and photograph. Collected specimens are to be deposited at the Nova Scotia Museum. Source: https://cch.novascotia.ca/exploring-our-past/special-places/palaeontology-permits-and-guidelines Prince Edward Island Sourced from Government of P.E.I. Under the Heritage Places Protection Act fossils fall within “historical resource” as palaeontological. Going through the act I was unable to see any distinct mentioning of how the law applies to collecting and maintaining of fossils. Source: http://www.gov.pe.ca/law/statutes/pdf/h-03_1.pdf Newfoundland Sourced from the Geological Survey of Canada, also Natural Resources: It appears as though the Geological Survey has a good section describing various collecting tips indicating that collecting is permitted in Newfoundland. I did not come across any regulations pertaining to the removal of fossils from Newfoundland. “When looking for fossils, it important to remember that complete specimens are rarely found. While complete specimens are better for scientific description in paleontological studies, even a poorly preserved fossil fragment is often enough for field identification and dating of rocks. Fossils can be found by picking through weathered rubble along cliffs, beaches, streams, quarries, road and railway cuts and rock outcrops. Finding them in place, however, requires a careful layer-by-layer examination of the enclosing sedimentary rocks with a hammer and chisel. Many Newfoundland fossils are quite small and easily overlooked. It is wise, therefore, to have a magnifying glass or a hand lens for checking favorable rock types. Good eye protection is essential, preferably in the form of safety glasses. A good geological hammer with either a chisel or a point made of well tempered, shatter-free metal is advisable. A stone chisel and small sledge hammer are also useful. Broken fossil specimens can be repaired in the field with nontoxic white glues such as Lepage Bond Fast. Modelling clay, liquid latex (such as Lewiscraft rubbertex compound or ETI Mold Builder) or plaster can be used to obtain a replica of an otherwise nonretrievable specimen. Fossils which can't be collected may also be photographed or sketched. After collection, all specimens ought to be securely wrapped in tissue or newspaper and then placed in a well labelled bag to prevent damage during transportation. It is also a good idea to note the location of the fossil collection on a map and/or in a fieldbook in order to make it easier to find again if the need arises.” “Note: Fossil collecting is illegal in National and Provincial Parks and Ecological Reserves, unless you have special permits.” Source: http://www.nr.gov.nl.ca/mines&en/geosurvey/education/fossils.stm IMPORTANT: on the Department of Natural Resources there is a link to a new legislation, “Significant Fossils.” Source: http://www.releases.gov.nl.ca/releases/2012/tcr/0109n01.htm Nunavut Sourced from Government of Canada website: Searching for and collecting fossils in Nunavut are similar to those of Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Manitoba. In order to collect fossils from a “palaeontological site,” as defined by the act as being any site with fossils, one must obtain a permit. Once obtaining a permit, a series of guidelines are laid out to produce a formal report which will be submitted to the Government of Nunavut. Specimens collected in the field are to be deposited to the minister of the government of Nunavut responsible for culture and heritage before March 31 of the year following the permit issue. March 31st seems to be a popular date amongst government organizations when fossils are to be deposited. Source: http://laws-lois.justice.gc.ca/eng/regulations/SOR-2001-220/FullText.html Northwest Territories Sourced from the Northern News Services: Based on the article linked below it appears as though there is no regulations on fossil in the Northwest Territories, although it appears as though researchers are thinking it is a good idea. Source: http://www.nnsl.com/frames/newspapers/2014-01/jan27_14fos.html Yukon Sourced from the Yukon Government website: “You are required under the Historic Resources Act to tell the Yukon Palaeontology Program about any fossils found in the Yukon. Any fossils found on settlement lands are to be reported to the appropriate First Nation. The Historic Resources Act applies everywhere in Yukon except in National Parks. If you find a fossil, please leave it where it is, record its location, take a photo if possible, and contact the Yukon Palaeontology program or appropriate First Nation. If you find a fossil in the Yukon, you may be allowed to keep it in your possession, but the Yukon Government or First Nation owns it. If you find a fossil on private land, the land owner takes custody of it unless some other agreement has been made. The Yukon First Nation government will set terms and conditions to protect the fossil.” “The Heritage Resources Act prohibits the collection of fossils without a permit. If you are from a qualified research institute and are interested in collecting fossils in the Yukon you require a Scientists and Explorers Research License. Please contact the Yukon Palaeontology Program for further information.” Source: http://www.tc.gov.yk.ca/faq_palaeontology.html Additional sources: Canada Wide General Information http://www.pc.gc.ca/eng/docs/r/pfa-fap/notes.aspx