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in Conservation and Environmental Law Enforcement

Conservation and Environmental Law Enforcement is a career that appeals to people who enjoy outdoor pursuits, and who have a balanced approach to consumption and conservation.

Program Information

Start Date

September 05, 2023

Program Availability:

Accepting Applications

Program Code:



In Person


Ontario College Graduate Certificate

Academic School:

School of Environmental and Natural Resource Sciences


Frost Campus

Program Contacts

Kent Hodgin

Program Coordinator

Domestic Tuition:

$4265.47 per semester*

International Tuition:

$10705.42 per semester*

View Curriculum

In this program, our mandate is to prepare field ready, entry-level conservation and environmental law enforcement officers. You can really make a difference. This is a challenging program with a heavy workload that is intended for serious students entering a competitive field.

Conservation and Environmental Law Enforcement is about regulating the use of natural resources, and accountability for activities that have an adverse effect on the environment. Examples of regulated activities include fishing, hunting, logging, aggregate extraction, alteration of fish habitat, the use of public land, and the discharge of pollutants.

This one-year, two-semester post-graduate program will prepare you for a variety of positions in the field, with a well-rounded selection of courses offering a good blend of practice and theory. You will be trained in such areas of study as procedural law, fish and wildlife enforcement, lands and environmental law, investigation techniques, forensics, and conflict management and avoidance. In your first semester, your learning will be enhanced through a fall camp, situated in a wilderness setting.

"Fleming's Natural Resources - Law Enforcement program gave me the knowledge to pursue my career as a Canine Conservation Officer. This in-depth law program offers not only valuable classroom instruction, but much needed practical training, which I apply every day in the field. Along with dedication and hard work, I feel that the program gave me the tools and experience to succeed in my career."

Sean Cronsberry,
Canine Conservation Officer, Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources

Aaron Zuwala, a Conservation Officer and Fleming graduate, is helping protect Ontario's natural resources for future generations. Learn more about his role here.

Photo of Aaron Zuwala, a Conservation Officer and Fleming graduate

There are only four programs available in Canada in this career field. Our program was the first to be offered at the college-level. All of our faculty members have current and extensive field experience, and share their passion for the career - as well as their experiences - with students. The program is well-recognized and highly regarded in the field.

This is a post-graduate certificate program that instructs students in the application of complex legal subject matter. It involves regulated outdoor activities such as angling and hunting as well as preparation for work in rugged outdoor environments. We strongly recommend that you possess the following skills to ensure your success in this program.

Physical Fitness – Applicants should be able to run an interval or 'beep' test to at least level 4 and be able to complete no fewer than 10 standard push-ups (or modified push-ups for females) prior to the first day of class. This is not mandatory for admission – only a recommended self-assessment to help guide student success. To graduate, you must meet current OPP fitness standards as well as pass the OPATCO test.

Time Management Skills – In both semesters, you will be assigned multiple projects from all courses. You will be expected to meet all deadlines as well as work with other students in collaborative assignments. The extra work in this program typically requires students to put in substantial time after hours and during Independent Learning Weeks. Final exams and final overall marks must exceed 60% to be considered a “pass” in all Conservation and Environmental Law Enforcement courses.

Fish and Wildlife Identification Skills – Natural Resources Enforcement officers must have a strong understanding of the specific species they are working to protect. This is a very important skill required for the program. If you do not have a strong background in fish and wildlife identification skills, we recommended you begin ahead of the start of class by using books, websites, and government publications. Species of focus can be found in the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act, Ontario Fishery Regulations, and the Endangered Species Act.

A basic knowledge of hunting and angling is strongly suggested. Anglers and/or hunters who have completed the Canadian Firearms Safety Course (CFSC) and the Ontario Hunter Education course will have an advantage in this program.

Students should also possess excellent computer skills including email, word processing, and file management as well as a good internet connection and laptop (no Chromebooks). Due to the precise nature of the legal processes taught in this program, exceptional understanding and command of English is also required.

The Indigenous Perspectives Designation (IPD) is an option available to students studying in the Conservation and Environmental Law Enforcement program. To qualify for the IPD, students must take and successfully complete GNED49 - Introduction to Indigenous Studies and GNED128 - Indigenous Knowledges, along with a minimum of four approved co-curricular Indigenous events or experiences that will be incorporated into the final portfolio assignment in GNED128. The student's transcript will indicate the IPD designation. Upon graduation, students with an IPD will have a strong foundational basis in Indigenous Studies, and a designation that will be marketable in the employment sector.

Plan on spending about $1,250.00 for books, supplies, safety equipment and camps.

  • Firearms Possession and Acquisition License (PAL)
  • Standard First Aid and CPR Level 'C' Certification
  • Ontario Hunter Education course
  • Current proof of a clean police records check
  • The Conflict Management and Avoidance courses require a high level of aerobic and muscular strength fitness. Students are required to reach provincial standards in the Shuttle Run, PARE and OPATCO testing as part of course requirements.

Recommended (but not required for admission)

  • Boating Safety Operator Card

  • Analyze provincial and federal natural resource and environmental legislation and case law to determine breaches and actions supporting public interest.
  • Analyze relevant case law and legislation related to Indigenous culture and the framework of natural resources to ensure compliance.
  • Apply investigative and inspection standards including case management, forensic examination, and evidence collection requirements relevant to enforcement of natural resources legislation.
  • Classify species (flora, fauna) as part of inspection and investigation processes in adherence with the appropriate natural resources legislation.
  • Conduct natural resource legislation enforcement scenarios including inspection, search, seizure, arrest, use of force and conflict avoidance in accordance with respective standards, statutes and regulations.
  • Produce appropriate legal documents and introduce oral testimony and statements, in both the investigative and court processes to initiate penalty procedures.
  • Work collaboratively in challenging conditions, demonstrating leadership, teamwork, interpersonal and communication skills in a multi-stakeholder setting.
  • Work safely, professionally, and ethically in compliance with applicable government policies and professional standards relevant to natural resources law enforcement activities.

Students applying to Conservation and Environmental Law Enforcement must meet the following requirements:

  • Ontario College Diploma (min 3.0 GPA) or University Degree in Natural Resources, Biology, Environmental Sciences, Environmental Studies or equivalent

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