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Conservation Officer



Collecting evidence for DNA analysis

Remote patrol by boat in northern Ontario

Field patrol

Classroom instruction - Outreach Program

Court appearance

Who We Are

Ontario's Conservation Officers (CO's) are specialists whose job is to preserve and protect the province's natural resources. Conservation Officers are professional, armed peace officers trained to police standards. CO's focus their enforcement on the natural resource and public safety provisions of over 27 pieces of provincial legislation and 4 federal statutes, including the Criminal Code.


What We Do


Some of the main duties of a CO are to:


  • enforce the laws protecting our resources;
  • conduct investigations, gather evidence, and participate in undercover and special investigations;
  • conduct regular audits/inspections of resource users, licence issuers and commercial operators;
  • work with other enforcement agencies by providing advice on resource management enforcement;
  • coordinate the activities of other officers, Deputy Conservation Officers, or volunteers;
    educate the public; and,
  • present evidence in court.

A CO's job is to prevent and stop abuse of Ontario's natural resources so that legitimate, responsible users can continue to enjoy and benefit from them. A CO may investigate and prosecute offenders under many federal and provincial statutes relating to:


  • fire;
  • wildlife;
  • species at risk;
  • parks;
  • timberlands; and,
  • aggregates (sand and gravel)

While the primary mandate of MNR enforcement is related to the sustainable use of natural resources, COs also enforce the following public safety laws:




Investigative Tools and Advancements


Natural resources enforcement has come a long way in Ontario since its inception in 1892. Investigations make use of the latest in technological advances, including:


  • GPS Tracking;
  • scientific content statement analysis;
  • forensic firearms examinations;
  • robotic surrogate wildlife (decoys);
  • computer modeling; and,
  • psychological profiling.


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

Ontario's five canine units are extremely important in helping field officers detect violators and uncover evidence.


Aerial patrol allows officers to patrol remote areas and lakes more efficiently.



Why Ontario Has Conservation Officers


Ontario's Conservation Officers help the public understand their rights and privileges as resource users. They are front-line representatives of Ontario's natural resources, protecting and conserving them for the benefit of all Ontarians today and for future generations.


Conservation Officers enforce the laws and educate the public about our regulations and promote responsible use of our resources. They protect the constitutional rights of all Ontario's people as they relate to the use of natural resources. They also protect public health and safety in natural resource emergency situations.


The men and women who make up Ontario's Conservation Officers provide enforcement services sensitive to the needs of the communities they serve. They also promote respect for the province's natural heritage. Their goal is conservation and protection, in consultation with resource management partners, for the good of all Ontario.


The 1-877-TIPS-MNR Violation Reporting Line was established to provide the public with a direct, toll-free line to report resource violations to the ministry 24 hours a day, 7 days a week from anywhere in Ontario. Any member of the public who sees or suspects resource abuse should safely take note of as much information as possible and call 1-877-TIPS-MNR (847-7667). The information you provide will be used to assist Conservation Officers in their investigations.