In British Columbia, to possess any wildlife - alive, dead or parts - one must have a permit. Wildlife rehabilitation requires a specific "rehabilitation" permit, which allows permitees to possess, treat, release, and euthanize certain wildlife species. Rehabilitation permits may restrict centres from admitting large predators such as bears and cougars, ensuring that these species are treated at only specialized facilities.
In general, for a designated rehabilitation centre to have a permit there must be a need in the community for such services and appropriate housing available for the species to be cared for. The individuals operating the facility must have demonstrated training or experience, an established relationship with a veterinarian, liability insurance, and submit annual records of all wildlife admitted. Individuals can also apply for permits to temporarily house and transport wildlife to designated rehabilitation centres.
The B.C. Wildlife Act governs all provincially protected species, including non-marine mammals, raptors, amphibians and reptiles. All provincial permits for B.C. rehabilitators are administered by the Permit and Authorization Service Bureau (PASB) through the B.C. Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations.
The Canadian Wildlife Service regulates the rehabilitation of migratory birds under the Migratory Birds Convention Act 1994. Marine mammals are protected under the federal Fisheries Act and permits for rehabilitation are issued by the Department of Fisheries and Oceans. Only one rehabilitation facility in B.C. cares long-term for marine mammals, while others assist in the rescue, emergency treatment, and transport of these specialized animals.
Also of importance to all animal care, including wildlife in captivity, is the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, which is enforced by the BC SPCA.
Finally, the Canadian Criminal Code governs the humane treatment of all animals.