British Columbia Conservation Officer Service

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British Columbia Conservation Officer Service
Common name Conservation Officer
Abbreviation BCCOS
British Columbia Conservation Officer Service (crest).jpg
Armorial Bearings of BC COS
Motto Integrity, Service and Protection
Agency overview
Formed 1980[1]
Legal personality Governmental: Government agency
Jurisdictional structure
Operations jurisdiction* Province of British Columbia, Canada
Legal jurisdiction Province of British Columbia
Governing body Ministry of Environment (British Columbia)
Constituting instrument Environmental Management Act
General nature
Operational structure
Headquarters Victoria, BC
Elected officer responsible The Honourable Mary Polak, Minister of Environment
Agency executive Doug Forsdick, Chief Conservation Officer
Conservation Officer Service Homepage
* Divisional agency: Division of the country, over which the agency has usual operational jurisdiction.

British Columbia Conservation Officer Service (BCCOS) is responsible for protecting the environment and natural resources in British Columbia. Conservation Officers are peace officers, armed, and enforce 6 federal statutes and 25 provincial statutes, including the Species at Risk Act, Liquor Control and Licensing Act, Wildlife Act and Environmental Management Act.[2]

COS is headquartered at Victoria and operates out of 44 office locations. COS is involved in outreach and education, compliance monitoring and verification, public reporting, investigations and enforcement actions.[3]

History/Highlights [4][edit]

On July 1, 1905, British Columbia established the Department for the Protection of Game and Forests, hired the first Game and Forest Warden which eventually grew into the BCCOS today.[5]

From 1918-1929, Game Wardens were abolished and the British Columbia Provincial Police took over the responsibility to enforce wildlife legislations.

In 1961, Game Wardens were officially renamed to Conservation Officer.

In 1980, Conservation Officer Services became a distinct part of the Ministry.

In 1983, Conservation Officers are appointed as special provincial constable. Up until 1987, all COs were males.[6]

Between the years of 1997-2000, COs were given a much wider authority in their law enforcement duties, including the ability to conduct surveillance, seize property and to arrest and detain.

In 2002, the Chief Conservation Officer became a legislated position and was placed in charge of BCCOS. He can now designate anyone to become conservation officers, auxiliary conservation officers or special conservation officers, depending on the needs of the agency.

July 1, 2005 marked the 100th Anniversary since the first appointment of Game Warden.


At one time the service had Regular and Seasonal officers. Currently, there are full-time regular and special conservation officers.



  1. ^ Conservation Officer Service - 100 Years of Service (1980)
  2. ^ COS Program Plan Archived May 30, 2009, at the Wayback Machine.
  3. ^ Conservation Officer, Field Operations Job Descriptions Archived August 30, 2008, at the Wayback Machine.
  4. ^ Conservation Officer Service 100 Years of Service
  5. ^ Conservation Officer Service - 100 Years of Service (1905) Archived September 5, 2008, at the Wayback Machine.
  6. ^ Conservation Officer Service - 100 Years of Service (1980)