Conservation officer duties

Conservation officers (COs) patrol the lakes, trails and back roads of Ontario to protect our natural resources, and ensure public safety. They are professional, armed peace officers trained to police standards.

Their main duties are to:

  • enforce the laws protecting our natural resources
  • educate the public
  • conduct regular audits/inspections of resource users, licence issuers and commercial operators
  • conduct investigations and gather evidence
  • present evidence in court

They also use the latest law enforcement methods, including:

  • DNA analysis
  • GPS tracking
  • internet monitoring
  • aerial and canine patrols
  • wildlife decoys
  • computer data analysis

There is also a specially trained investigations unit with the capacity to focus on major resource abusers.

Who is eligible

You could be eligible to be a conservation officer if you have:

  • some knowledge and experience in the field of natural resources management and related legislation
  • excellent communication and interpersonal skills
  • analytical, investigative and intelligence gathering skills
  • proficiency in computer use
  • knowledge of hunting and fishing, handling of firearms
  • the ability to work independently and meet the physical demands of the job
  • a valid driver’s licence
  • a willingness to work in remote locations, travel for extended periods of time, work shifts, weekends and holidays and work in all types of weather
  • the ability to complete use of force training and firearms certification

Conservation officer candidates must successfully complete a law enforcement physical fitness test within nine months prior to the job application due date.

Accepted law enforcement physical fitness tests include:

  • Physical Abilities Requirement Evaluation (PARE)
  • Physical Readiness Evaluation for Police Constable (PREP)
  • Épreuve standardisée d'aptitudes physiques ESAP-ENPQ Police 2017

Extra qualifications

It is an asset to have:

  • college or university diploma/degree in natural resource management
  • hands-on experience (e.g., internships, nature/environmental organizations)

How to apply

Conservation officer jobs are posted on the Ontario Public Service Careers website.

How to prepare your application

Getting a job as a conservation officer is very competitive. Your application and cover letter will be reviewed and scored based on the qualifications described in the job posting. Only top scoring applicants are invited to a face-to-face interview.

Cover letter

Your cover letter should:

  • identify the competition number
  • provide your name, address, e-mail address and fax number (if you have one)
  • telephone number where you can be reached during the day and after regular work hours
  • detail the scope and level of how your skills, knowledge and experience relate to each of the qualifications stated in the job posting and provide relevant examples where you can


Your résumé should include:

  • your contact information
  • education
  • work history
  • relevant hobbies

If you are invited to an interview, the selection panel will require 3 references and authorization to conduct background checks.

Other careers in natural resource enforcement

In addition to conservation officers, there are a number of specialized enforcement jobs including:

  • intelligence/investigations specialists and analysts
  • canine handlers
  • legislative enforcement specialists
  • trainers

These people support the work of conservation officers.

Who is eligible

In most cases, you need natural resource law enforcement experience and specialized training. 

How to apply

Specialized enforcement jobs are posted on Ontario Public Service Careers website.