Wildlife Rehabilitation in Ontario

A wildlife rehabilitation business is not only a way to earn a living – you help injured animals until they are healthy and can be safely released in their natural habitat.

Starting a Business, Training and Courses

The first thing to do is to learn more about wildlife rehabilitation, which you can do by volunteering to gain firsthand experience. Rehabilitators provide care and treatment to sick and injured animals. Wildlife medicine combines knowledge from different fields and areas, including animal behavior and husbandry, veterinary medicine, physiology and comparative anatomy, ecological systems, and a lot more. The goal is to treat animals and prevent diseases such as rabies. Animals such as fox, skunk, and raccoon, in particular, spread rabies. To run a successful rehabilitation business in Ontario, you may want to complete a course such as the Wildlife Rehabilitation Basic Skills Course offered by OWREN. Students learn more about rehabilitation, including stress reduction, nutrition, and initial examination. They also learn about treatment and basic care, including fluid replacement, dosage, wound care, wing wraps, and more. Students learn about emergency care as well, from seizures and poison to fluid loss, emaciation, and dehydration.


The next step is to sit the Ontario Wildlife Rehabilitation Exam. The location and date can be arranged in two ways, through a district or regional office of the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry. However, if you take the course offered by OWREN and pass the exam with a score of 80 or higher, you are not required to sit the Wildlife Rehabilitation Exam. Once you have done this, it is time to submit your application to get authorized to work as a wildlife rehabilitator. If you plan to work with species that can spread rabies, then you will be required to take an additional course for the purpose of rabies vector species authorization.

Business Plan

Writing a good business plan is an important step to running a rehabilitation business, especially if you need financing as most start-ups do. A detailed business plan is what you should aim at, with information regarding your competition, market analysis, operations and management, as well as the services you plan to offer, i.e. animal rescue, treatment and care, disease prevention, and so on. If you have previous experience or training, it is a good idea to mention this. Write more about the types of animals you are certified to handle as well.

Financials and Sources of Funding

A detailed business plan is the key to securing external financing for your rehabilitation business. There are different sources to look into, from private and government loans to lines of credit, mortgage financing, business credit cards, etc. Government financing is a preferred solution in that start-ups get access to low-cost loans to buy equipment, facilities, and land. There are different ways to apply, with caisses populaires, unions, and banks offering government-sponsored loans. Private loans are a good alternative in case you need additional financing or fail to meet the criteria under the Canada Small Business Loan Program. Different financial institutions offer funding, including local banks, credit unions, and big banks such as Bank of Montreal, CIBC, RBC, and others. Other sources include finance companies and other lending services. Business loans by private providers take different forms, including long-term, mid-term, and short-term operating loans. If you need short-term financing, for example, this is a good way to gain access to additional operating funds and make equipment or other improvements and purchases. A mid-term loan is a better option to purchase land, property, or equipment (whether used or new). A long-term loan, on the other hand, is the best solution to start a new business, expand, or move to a new location. Finally, having a credit card is always a good idea to receive business and travel discounts and monitor employee purchases.

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