Better know a Canadian functionary: the Director General of the Dominion Wildlife Service and Canadian Wildlife Service

The first wildlife conservation legislation in Canada was the Migratory Birds Convention Act of 1917. Federal administration of wildlife regulations (an area mostly under the jurisdiction of the provinces) was handled by the Department of the Interior until 1936, and then by the Department of Mines and Resources, who reorganized its wildlife officials in 1947 to form the Dominion Wildlife Service. When the department was reorganized into the Department of Resources and Development in 1950, the DWS was renamed the Canadian Wildlife Service. Through the 1950s and 1960s, the CWS became more involved in environmental science and conservation research, as it was moved to the Department of Northern affairs and Natural Resources in 1953, then to the Department of Energy, Mines and Resources in 1966 until it was finally moved to the Department of the Environment when it was founded in 1971, and was given increased powers to declare protected National Wildlife Areas by the Canada Wildlife Act of 1973. It was during this time that the CWS commissioned their most lasting gift to Canadian culture.

(The CWS, in partnership with the National Film Board, began producing the Hinterland Who’s Who series in 1963, and continued into the 1980s. The name of the piece of music played on the flute is Flute Poem, by John Cacavas. The ads were narrated by John Livingston, a naturalist and producer on CBC’s The Nature of Things. The CWS has nothing to do with the new Hinterland Who’s Who spots made since 2003, which are produced by the nonprofit Canadian Wildlife Federation.)

Throughout the 1990s and 2000s the CWS lost most of its public outreach programs and its independent research and scientific functions to other branches of Environment Canada. Today it mostly administers the National Wildlife Areas, executes the provisions of the Species at Risk Act of 2002, and commands the federal game wardens.

The CWS is headed by a Director-General, who reports to the Associate Deputy Minister for Environmental Sustainability, who reports to the Deputy Minister of the Environment.

The Directors-General of the Dominion/Canadian Wildlife Service have been:

Harrison Flint Lewis, 1947-52.
W. Winston Mair, 1952-63.
David A. Munro, 1963-69.
John S. Tener, 1969-74.
Alan George Loughrey, 1974-81.
Bertrand Tétrault, 1981-86.
H. Anthony Clarke, 1986-91.
David Brackett, 1991-2002.
Trevor Swerdferger, 2002-06.
Michele Brenning, 2006-07.
Virginia Poter, 2007-now.


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