Canada’s CITES Report Card

Re: Canada’s CITES Report Card

Are you aware that the African elephant is under threat of extinction? Every year 20,000 elephants are killed illegally for their ivory. If the poaching rate continues, some subpopulations of elephants could be extinct in the wild in 10 years. In response to this crisis many countries including the UK, China, several states in the US, France, the Netherlands, Taiwan, Singapore, Hong Kong, Australia, Belgium and Israel have either closed or are preparing to close their domestic elephant ivory trade.

The illegal wildlife trade is estimated to be worth over $10 billion (USD) per year and has drastically reduced many wildlife populations around the world.

Elephanatics, World Elephant Day and Global March for Elephants & Rhinos – Toronto have been in contact with Minister McKenna’s office several times to ask why Canada, in spite of calls by CITES for all markets to close their domestic ivory trade, still hasn’t done so and in fact does nothing to support increased protection for elephants. Why is Canada an outlier when it comes to the protection of the world’s most iconic, keystone species?

At the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Flora and Fauna (CITES CoP18) that took place August 17th to 28th, 2019, in Geneva, Switzerland, representatives from 183 member governments (including the EU) came together to set the rules for the international trade of wild plants and animals.

There were five proposals for the regulation of elephant trade. This is how Minister Catherine McKenna’s deputies voted on these proposals at the conference.

  1. Proposal 44.2 – A near-total ban on removing baby African elephants listed in Appendix II from the wild and selling them to zoos around the world was approved.

Canada voted NO to protecting wild baby elephants from export.

  1. Proposal 10 – Zambia proposed to down-list its elephant population from Appendix I to II, thus paving the way to allow commercial trade in ivory. It failed to pass.

Canada voted YES to decreasing the protection for Zambia’s elephants.

  1. A proposal to tighten protection for elephants by permanently eliminating all commercial international trade of the animals throughout Africa failed to pass.

Canada voted NO to tightening the protection for elephants

  1. Proposal 12 – Gabon and other countries proposed to up-list all African elephants to Appendix I, thereby affording them the greatest level of protection. It did not pass.

Canada voted NO to affording greater protection for elephants.  

  1. Proposal 11 – South Africa, Botswana, Namibia, and Zimbabwe brought forward the controversial proposal to re-open their ivory trade. It was voted down by 101 of the 183 treaty members.

Canada’s vote was non-registered.

There was also a proposal to increase the hunting trophy quota for the endangered black rhino in South Africa. Canada voted in favour of increasing the number of black rhinos that could be killed for trophies in South Africa.

Our petition asking the government to close the domestic elephant ivory trade in Canada has garnered close to 500,000 signatures. It is clear Canadians don’t have an appetite for being complicit in the demise of one of the world’s most emotionally intelligent and sentient species.

As the leader of the opposition party, what measures would you take to join other nations who are choosing to do the right thing and close their domestic ivory trade and the importation of trophies from endangered species?

For further information you can find our petition at The letters we wrote to Minister McKenna can be viewed at

Yours sincerely,


Fran Duthie                                    Patricia Sims                          Heather Craig

President & Co-Founder              Co-Founder                           Co-Founder & President

Elephanatics                                  World Elephant Day              GMFER – Toronto

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