Reminder about Permits for Research

Provincial, federal, and possibly local governments require permits prior to the start of any research on provincial lands, national parks, or protected areas.  The following provides some basic information and contacts for permits.  Beyond public lands you may also require permission from individual land owners. Many areas of biological interest have complex permit issues where applications must be made to multiple government agencies; it is your responsibility to ensure all of the appropriate permits and approvals are in place.

General Requirements: In general, all requests for permits in the various types of designated areas should describe what is being proposed, how research would be carried out (access, equipment, need for and extent of destructive sampling, etc.). Specific requirements that may apply to the various types of designated area are provided below. I have found that for university researchers, a copy of the research proposals submitted to a funding agency or advisory/review committee usually has enough detail to review the request and assess its suitability and compatibility with the designated area.

Provincial Parks & Park Reserves: If all one is doing is walking around making observations in a provincial park, no permit is needed. Otherwise, all "work" such as scientific research requiring destructive sampling (soil pits, collecting specimens or samples for identification or lab study, tree cores, need for leaving equipment on site for various periods of time, etc.) in a provincial park or the removal of anything from a provincial park requires a permit. Permits can usually be issued within 2-3 weeks by government staff, but complex research proposals may take longer.

Contact: Jessica Elliott, Parks and Natural Areas Branch, 200 Saulteaux Crescent, Winnipeg, MB R3J 3W3.

Ecological Reserves: Scientific research is one of the purposes of ecological reserves. However, ecological reserves have the highest level of protection of Manitoba's provincially designated lands. As such, all scientific research in an ecological reserve requires a permit that can only be issued by the Minister of Conservation. Requests for research permits in ecological reserves generally require a 2-3 month lead time to be processed. Government staff and the members of Ecological Reserves Advisory Committee review all requests for research in an ecological reserve and provide recommendations to the Minister.

Contact: Jessica Elliott, Parks and Natural Areas Branch, 200 Saulteaux Crescent, Winnipeg, MB R3J 3W3.

National Parks: Parks Canada has a specific application system for research in national parks. Here is the website that details the application process. . Each park has its own research co-ordinator that must be contacted and a due date for applications. In Wapusk all applications must be approved by the Wapusk National Park Management Board in addition to Parks Canada so they take longer to process.

Riding Mountain National Park of Canada
R0J 2H0
Cam McKillop
Tel: (204) 848-7213
Fax number : (204) 848- 2596
Email: cam.mckillop AT  

Wapusk National Park of Canada
R0B 0E0
Sheldon Kowalchuk
Tel: (204) 675-8863
Fax number : (204) 675-2026
Email: Sheldon.Kowalchuk AT

Research Involving the Handling of Wildlife: I assume most people who consult the MAPB website are conducting botanical research, but any activity requiring the handling of wildlife requires a separate permit. Contact: William Watkins, Wildlife and Ecosystem Protection Branch, 200 Saulteaux Crescent, Winnipeg, MB R3J 3W3.

Wildlife Management Areas (WMA): Research is encouraged in WMAs. Depending on the nature of the proposed research a permit may or may not be needed. Contact the appropriate Manitoba Conservation Regional Office listed below to determine if a permit is needed.

Eastern Region - Kelly Leavesley, Lac du Bonnet
Central Region - Brian Joynt, Gimli
Western Region - Dan Chranowski, Brandon
Northwest Region - Kent Whaley, The Pas
Northeast Region - Daryll Hedman, Thompson

Endangered Species: Research on plant or animal species listed under Manitoba’s Endangered Species Act may require a provincial Species at Risk Permit – particularly if the species and/or its habitat are to be negatively affected in some way, or if possession of any part of the species is required (seeds, specimens, etc.). For listed animal species, research on plants critical to the animal's survival is considered work on habitat and may require a Species at Risk Permit.

Please send a letter requesting a Species at Risk Research permit to: Jack Dubois, Director, Wildlife and Ecosystem Protection Branch, 200 Saulteaux Crescent, Winnipeg , MB R3J 3W3

Along with the letter, the Branch requires that you submit a proposal outlining your planned research, including

The study specifics, i.e., what is to be done and why, including its significance to scientific understanding and the full common and scientific names of all the species to be studied;

Where the study will be taking place; this should include specific sites, identified by legal land description, if known, or geographical place names;

Written approval from the appropriate Animal Care Committee, for work involving animal species;

A list of all persons involved, in addition to the proponent;

Proposed dates of the project, including approximate project start date, when field work will start and finish, when the report will be finished; and   Any other information that the proponent deems to be pertinent or that would be helpful in assessing the merits of the proposed research. Species at Risk Research Permits can be issued for a period of up to 5 years, with a requirement that yearly progress reports be submitted. If a permit is issued for longer than the work takes, researchers can inform the Branch that the work is complete, and the permit will then be cancelled.

Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC): NCC owns over 23000 acres of conservation land in localities across southern Manitoba. Research is encouraged on NCC lands. Depending on the nature and location of the proposed research a permit may or may not be needed. Contact the Manitoba region's Conservation Science Manager for more information - 204-942-6156.

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