Species At Risk

Permits & Other Authorizations

Why permits and other authorizations exist

Ontario is home to over 30,000 species and about 200 of them are at risk of extinction. We can all play an important role in protecting and recovering species at risk and their habitat. The government is committed to identifying species that are at risk of extinction, protecting those species and their habitats, and promoting stewardship activities that help protect and recover those species. One of the ways the Endangered Species Act (ESA) e-laws does this is by restricting activities that will adversely affect species at risk or their habitat.

Recognizing that, in some cases, a broad restriction may not be practical or even possible, the ESA allows the Ministry the discretion to grant different types of permits or other authorizations for activities that would otherwise not be allowed. ESA authorizations are tools to help reduce the impact of human activity on species at risk and their habitats, and to encourage protection and recovery activities.

What are permits and other authorizations?


Permits and other authorizations (e.g., agreements, exemptions) make it possible for you to perform activities that would otherwise not be allowed under the ESA. A range of limitations and/or conditions apply to each of these authorizations.

If you receive a permit or an exemption, or enter into an agreement with the Ministry, it is your responsibility to follow the associated conditions.

Navigating the Permit Process

How do I get a permit? How do I get a permit?

Find out what steps you need to take in order to get the permit you need.

Do I need a permit? Do I need a permit?

If the activity you are planning to do might affect species at risk then you may need a permit for your activity.

Permit Tracker ESA Permit Tracker

Use this tool to find out the status of permits and applications.

Other Authorizations Other Authorizations

These authorizations are intended to ensure that Ontario’s businesses and residents continue to prosper while protecting and recovering the province’s at-risk animals and plants.

Resources Resources

Check out this page for all kinds of information and how-to’s for a broad range of Endangered Species Act activities and topics.

Contact Us Contact us

Contact your local ministry office

What’s the difference between permits, agreements and exemptions?

An ESA permit is like a license; it is issued to a person, a company or an organization, and includes a set of conditions that must be met.

An agreement, as the name suggests, is drawn up between two parties who agree on a set of provisions. An ESA agreement is a signed contract between a person, company or organization and the Ministry of Natural Resources. The provisions of the agreement must be followed.

An exemption to enable activities that would otherwise not be allowed under the ESA can be created using a regulation under the act; the regulation sets out specific circumstances and requirements that must be followed.

Understanding the role of the Ministry

The Ministry’s role isn’t simply to grant or deny permits and agreements. Our job also includes guiding you through the process. Ministry staff can provide advice to help you identify species at risk in your area and understand how they may be affected by your activity. The Ministry can also provide input about the best approach to take, what official processes to complete, and any key timelines that may affect your activity.


The Endangered Species Act


Contact your local ministry office


Often the best source of local information on species at risk is your nearest ministry office. Call with your questions or concerns.