MNRF Licensing System Changes
Bookmark this page, as the OFAH is committed to helping anglers and hunters understand the NEW MNRF licencing changes coming in 2018-2019.
Anglers and hunters will see major changes to licensing starting in 2018 as the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry (MNRF) updates the Licensing Automation System (LAS). This is the computer system that the MNRF uses to manage Outdoors Card profiles, licence purchases, game seals, draw entries, and reporting.
There are still many details to come that will be important for anglers and hunters to know, so stay tuned as we will be featuring more information in Ontario OUT of DOORS magazine and on social media throughout the year. You can also stay up to date on the latest by signing up for enews to get information directly to your email inbox.
Summary of MNRF changes to the licensing system:
GAME TAGS – what we know so far:
In an effort to offer more choices to purchase licenses and tags, the MNRF has added the “print your tag from home” option. You will still be able to buy them in-person at a Service Ontario location. This just provides the option for hunters to purchase, print and go.
- Comes into effect January 1, 2019, so anyone entering a big game draw or buying a licence before then will still receive the yellow game seals they are used to
- Anglers and hunters are still required to carry relevant tag(s), an Outdoors Card and Possession Acquisition Licence (if applicable)
- Hunters will still be required to fill out the tag (i.e. notch as they have in the past) at the point and time of harvest
- Individuals are responsible for ensuring that their printed paper tag remains intact and readable for enforcement purposes
- Starting in 2019, the tag will only need to be attached to the animal if it is no longer accompanied by the hunter (i.e. if it is being transferred, or if it is unattended). This means you don’t have to put the paper tag on while bringing the animal out of the bush if you are always with it
- Printed tags will have security codes built in for enforcement purposes and so that a purchased tag can only be used once, as intended
HUNTER HARVEST REPORTING – what we know so far:
Harvest reporting is a very important piece of the information puzzle when it comes to sustainable fish and wildlife management. The MNRF needs this information to support research, to accompany population modelling and to develop harvest quotas. The idea is to collect the information by electronic device (computer, smartphone, telephone) rather than by mail.
- Mailed-in postcard surveys will be coming to an end (they will still be mailed out in 2018)
- ALL hunters who purchase a licence for moose, elk, white-tailed deer, wolf/coyote, wild turkey and black bear will be required to provide information whether they harvested an animal or not, and even if they didn’t end up hunting
- If you do not complete the report, you may not be able to purchase a licence the following year. The new regulations coming into effect on January 1, 2019 allow the government to refuse to issue a licence to a hunter who did not report in the previous year, but the details related to the consequences of not reporting have not yet been finalized
- The MNRF will communicate with hunters (via email) to remind them of deadlines and mandatory reporting
- The OFAH has been pushing for a phased-in approach to allow hunters to adapt to the new system (i.e. not have severe consequences immediately), and to share harvest reporting results with hunters as well as how they are using the information in wildlife management
ONE OUTDOORS CARD FOR ALL – what we know so far:
As of November 23, 2018, there will be one Ontario Outdoors Card to cover all anglers and hunters. Currently, there are three different types of outdoors card. Fishing, hunting and apprentice. The hunting and apprentice cards are further broken down into H1, H2 and A1, A2 respectively to identify those who can hunt with a gun.
- One outdoors card to cover anglers and all types of hunters (apprentice, falconers, bow hunters, gun hunters, etc.
- Your current Outdoors Card (purchased before November 23, 2018) will be good until the expiry date specified on the card.
- The new Outdoors Card will likely have some sort of coded technology to show proof of an individual’s accreditation and licence(s).
POSITIVE CHANGES FOR DOG LICENSES – what we know so far:
Currently, there are three different types of dog licences that can only be purchased in-person at Service Ontario or through a licence issuer. Starting January 1, 2019, hunters will be able to purchase a dog licence(s) online 24 hours a day instead of in-person at Service Ontario or at a licence issuer. Hunters will also be able to use their dog to recover game without having to purchase an MNRF dog licence to do so. The OFAH is pleased to see this change, as we have been pushing for this exemption for a number of years.
- MNRF is combining the three separate dog licences (moose/deer, bear, raccoon) into a single dog licence, available to purchase and print at home
- Hunters would be permitted to use their dog to recover game without buying an MNRF dog licence
- Hunters who use dogs when hunting for moose, deer, bear and raccoon will still have to purchase an MNRF dog hunting licence for each dog
OPTIONS FOR APPRENTICE HUNTERS AND MENTORS – what we know so far:
Starting January 1, 2019, apprentice hunters will have the option to purchase an Outdoors Card and their own licence/game seal (except through game draws). The OFAH has been requesting this, keeping in mind that safety and learning would remain top priority. This change will offer enhanced opportunities for both the apprentice and the mentor.
• Apprentice hunters can have their own bag limit while still hunting under the direct supervision of a mentor and a shared single firearm (i.e. all requirements of the existing Hunter Apprenticeship Safety Program remain the same)
• Apprentice hunters will no longer be required to complete multiple consent forms to take the Ontario Hunter Education course
• Parental consent would only be required for youth hunters (12-15 years old) to purchase their Outdoors Card
The full amended regulations (Hunting regulation covers off most of the significant changes):
https://www.ontario.ca/laws/regulation/r17544 (Hunting)https://www.ontario.ca/laws/regulation/r17545 (Fish Licensing); https://www.ontario.ca/laws/regulation/r17546 (Possession, buying, and selling of wildlife); https://www.ontario.ca/laws/regulation/r17547 (Trapping)
The OFAH weighed in on the suggested changes in the 2017 EBR posting