Migratory game bird hunting permit and duck stamp increase proposed
Environment and Climate Change Canada (Canadian Wildlife Service (CWS)) is seeking public input on potential increases in the cost of the Canadian Wildlife Habitat Conservation Stamp (“duck stamp”) and the migratory game bird hunting permit. The Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters has supported previous proposals to increase funding for wetland and migratory bird conservation by increasing to the cost of the duck stamp. Currently, the duck stamp and permit costs $17.00 plus tax in total. The feds are considering incremental increases over the next 3 years – total cost would be $21.00 in 2019, $25.00 in 2020 and $28.00 in 2021 (plus additional service fees if purchasing them at a vendor). This is on top of the Outdoors Card fee and the small game licence needed to hunt migratory birds. The cost of the duck stamp hasn’t increased since 1991, and the game bird hunting permit fee hasn’t increased since 1998, so it is hard to argue with an increase that would catch up to 2018 value. However, we have some important questions that must be answered before fully considering the proposed increases.
Has CWS considered the impact of these increases on migratory game bird hunter recruitment and retention? How does CWS intend to address this?
The proposed changes to the Migratory Game Bird Hunting Permit and the Conservation Stamp represent a large increase over a short period and may have a negative impact on hunter recruitment and retention. When all the licence and processing fees are considered, Ontario hunters must spend $59.13 to hunt migratory birds. These changes could drive the cost as high as $76.56 depending on how a hunter purchases their permit and stamp. The reality is that costs can be a barrier to participation, and some hunters have to make choices on how they will spend their licence dollars. As a result, they may choose not to hunt migratory birds. If we continue to lose waterfowl hunters and can’t attract new ones, then there will be less money available for the conservation and management of migratory birds and wetland habitat. A critical analysis and impact statement related to recruitment and retention should be included for us to fully consider the proposal.
Does the CWS intend to eliminate general tax revenue from the Migratory Game Bird Program and make hunters cover the entire program cost through permit sales and increased fees?
The proposal states that “program costs should be covered by those who benefit directly from the services (i.e., hunters), and not the general taxpayer”. The OFAH interprets this as a move by the CWS to remove general taxpayer revenue from the Migratory Bird Hunting program and increase hunting fees to cover the entire (or at least the majority) cost of the program. Waterfowl hunters contribute to the broader societal benefits associated with healthy wetlands and the management of migratory bird species. It is therefore not reasonable to expect hunters to carry the full cost of the Migratory Game Bird Program. Hunters have demonstrated that they are willing to carry their fair share, and more, of the costs. This proposal, however, is just increasing the proportion of hunter contributions to existing migratory bird management. Hunter are justified in expecting that any increased contribution on their part would result in additional management and conservation benefits for migratory birds, rather than maintenance of the status quo. Some hunters are wrongly interpreting the proposal to increase the permit fee as a way to enhance migratory bird management.
To read the full pre-consultation document and to submit your comments, click here: