The law

You can serve wild-caught fish or game wildlife to the public at charitable events, if you follow certain rules.

You don’t need a permit or authorization to do this.

You can’t serve a species that is endangered or threatened.

Source law

This is a summary of the provincial laws. You can find a complete set of rules related to this activity in:

  • Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act, 1997
  • Ontario Regulation 665/98 (hunting)
  • Health Protection and Promotion Act
  • Ontario Regulation 493/17 (food premises)

Applicable rules

By law, you must do all of the following:

  • serve only wild-caught fish or game wildlife that was
    • legally obtained under a valid hunting, trapping or recreational fishing licence and
    • donated to be served at the event
  • host the event for a charitable purpose and use all profits from the event for that purpose
  • record all revenues and expenditures and the manner in which the profits were used for the charitable purpose and keep these records for 1 year after the event
  • notify your local medical officer of health (at your local public health unit) in writing about your event at least 5 days before it occurs

You must also:

  • keep donated wild-caught fish or game wildlife separate from inspected meat (commercial products)
  • keep a list of those who donated the wild-caught fish or game wildlife and attendees of the event
  • notify all  attendees that uninspected wild-caught fish or game wildlife will be served at the event. This notice must be printed on each ticket and posted at a conspicuous place at the entrance to the event venue.

Find a public health unit

Definition of charitable purpose

For the purposes of these rules, a charitable purpose means:

  • conservation or other efforts to protect or conserve wildlife, fish or their habitats or
  • any other purpose beneficial to the community

Examples

  • An individual or organization has planned a community event in order to raise funds to enhance wildlife habitat
  • A community organization has received a donation of wild-caught fish or game wildlife for a charity dinner where proceeds will be used to purchase new equipment for a local hospital

What kind of wildlife

The rules apply to any fish or game wildlife that is donated and legally obtained under a valid hunting, trapping or recreational fishing licence (e.g., white-tailed deer, black bear, walleye).

Bought fish and game wildlife

The rules do not apply if all of the fish and game wildlife being served is legally purchased from a licensed facility (e.g., commercial fishery, aquaculture facility or game farm).

Migratory birds

Migratory birds (e.g., ducks, geese) are protected under the federal Migratory Birds Convention Act and cannot be served at the event unless authorized by the Canadian Wildlife Service.

Contact the Canadian Wildlife Service

Updated: May 21, 2021
Published: June 13, 2013