Canada Geese and the CAF

By Dr. Ann Griffiths, 2 May 2022

The Commander of Canadian Forces Support Group (Ottawa-Gatineau) and Base Commander of Canadian Forces Base Ottawa-Gatineau sent out the following advisory last week (only the English version is included here). It’s great that the CAF are concerned about protecting geese in the National Capital Region – although it’s somewhat surprising that Canada geese are considered to be a protected species given how many of them there are around. But this advisory is as amusing as it is annoying. As a woman, what annoys me most is the strong language that says if you witness someone harming a goose you should “report the incident immediately to the Military Police.” I am in favour of protecting geese but surely the Military Police are thinly stretched and have enough things to do – like investigating sexual harassment and/or racism in the CAF – without having to investigate attacks on (or by?) geese?

CANADA GEESE ADVISORY FOR THE NATIONAL CAPITAL REGION

Defense Team members are reminded that NDHQ(Carling) is in the green belt and is home to various migrating wildlife such as Canada Geese. Please note that Canada Geese are a protected species and cannot be relocated once they have nested. Canada Geese are currently in the midst of their nesting season and can be territorial and may exhibit aggressive behaviour in this natural process. CFSG(O-G) is constantly monitoring the status of the Goose population and will deal with any disruption to operations with the appropriate trained and authorized personnel.

Direction

It is prohibited to harm a Canada Goose as they are protected under the Canadian Migratory Birds Convention Act, 1994 (MBCA). Canada Geese: frequently asked questions - Canada.ca

A goose's aggression can be stopped by respectfully leaving its territory. Back away slowly, while remaining calm or avoid this possibility by giving the geese ample space.

Anyone harming a Canada Goose or any wildlife will be held accountable and subject to applicable laws and the National Defence Act.

If any Defence Team members witnesses someone harming a goose they are to report the incident immediately to the Military Police at 613-596-0124.

Although there is a large population of Canada Geese at NDHQ(Carling) this direction also applies to other DND properties within the National Capital Region.

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