What is an outfitter?
An outfitter is a person who commercially provides lodging and services related to the practice of hunting, fishing and trapping activities. In addition, many outfitters offer a variety of outdoor activities. Therefore, a person who offers only hunting, fishing or trapping services, without offering lodging, is not an outfitter within the meaning of the law, unless the business is operated in the Nord-du-Québec region.
Outfitter establishments with exclusive rights
An outfitter may obtain exclusive development rights over the wildlife present on a territory delineated to that effect by signing a lease with the ministre des Forêts, de la Faune et des Parcs (MFFP). That lease is valid for a nine-year period. Exclusivity means that only the outfitter’s clients may practice hunting, fishing or trapping activities in the territory delineated in the lease.
Outfitter establishments without exclusive rights
Most outfitters do not have exclusive rights over their territory. They provide services on public land or on private land. All hunters and sportfishers have the right to practise their activities on public land, even if an outfitter offers lodging services in that territory. When lodging is located on public land, the outfitter must hold a lease to operate a commercial resort from the ministère de l'Énergie et des Ressources naturelles. When lodging is located on private land, that lease is not necessary.
What are the outfitter’s main obligations?
- To hold an outfitting licence.
- To hold an attestation of the class and category of the lodging units.
- To obtain an authorization for the construction of any new buildings or additions to existing buildings that change the outfitter establishment’s accommodation capacity.
- To comply with the regulations pertaining to outfitter establishments which aim, among other things, at protecting the clientele and preserving wildlife.
- To comply with the general hunting, fishing and trapping regulations.
- To comply with any applicable federal, provincial, or municipal regulations.
- For outfitter establishments with exclusive rights, to comply with the obligations set out in the lease and to prepare a triennial wildlife management plan.
How to obtain an outfitting licence
- Fill out an outfitting licence application form, available from any regional office. Once it is completed, return it to the relevant regional office. If the outfitter establishment is located in the Nord-du-Québec region, specific steps must be followed with regard to the agreements in force.
- Obtain from the regional outfitting authority an authorization in principle for the issuance of a licence and an authorization to construct the buildings planned.
- If the project is located on public land, ask for a lease to operate a commercial resort from the Department's regional office. The lease is valid for a one-year period and is renewable annually.
- Ask for a building permit from the regional county municipality (RCM) or the municipality.
- Obtain the required environmental authorizations from the Department (i.e., wastewater, refuse, wharf building, gasoline) and other departments, as applicable.
- Ascertain that the lodging units are in compliance with applicable regulations.
- Pay the cost of the outfitting licence.
- Pay for the attestation of the class and category assessment to the Quebec Outfitters Federation (QOF), except for outfitters in the Nord-du-Québec region.
What are the administrative costs related to becoming an outfitter?
For an outfitter with exclusive rights
The annual rent varies depending on the expanse of the territory and the rights related to hunting, fishing or trapping activities.
For all outfitters
An annual outfitting licence is determined depending on the outfitter’s resident or non-resident status.
Is it possible to become an outfitter without obtaining a new outfitting licence?
Yes, by purchasing an existing outfitter establishment and applying for a licence transfer. The purchase may be made by mutual agreement with the former outfitter or, in rare cases, following a forced sale, for instance after a bankruptcy.
To obtain information on outfitter establishments for sale, you may:
- consult specialized hunting and fishing magazines;
- contact the Quebec Outfitters Federation (QOF),
- contact the brokers specialized in outfitter establishments for the region you are interested in.
If you are interested in acquiring an outfitter establishment with exclusive rights, it is advisable to ask the present-day outfitter for a copy of his or her management plan, including the wildlife assessment of the territory carried out by the Gouvernement du Québec, as well as a copy of the lease. If you purchase the outfitter establishment, you must respect the content of those documents.