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Over three decades of development and implementation have made CAZA/AZAC's accreditation standards among the best in the world.

Increasingly recognized as the benchmark for quality animal care and welfare in Canada, governments at all levels are incorporating these standards into legislation.

Inspection teams, which include at least one veterinarian and a senior zoology professional, thoroughly audit all aspects of operation including animal care, enrichment, nutrition, conservation, research, education, security, public safety, financial stability and administration. CAZA/AZAC's standardized numerical assessment system ensures that all reports are consistent, objective and transparent.

Accredited zoos and aquarium must always maintain CAZA/AZAC's high standards. Full re-inspections are made every five years. If, during that period, a concern is raised about any aspect of a member institution, the Accreditation Commission or Ethics Committee may conduct an interim review.


  • To create standards that will be a living document of currently acceptable practices for zoos and aquariums in Canada. To maintain an ongoing review process that will include policy development, review and revision.
  • Achieve recognition of CAZA/AZAC accreditation as representing the national industry standard for zoos and aquariums.
  • Encourage and assist member institutions to develop superior facilities and enhanced programs.
  • To ensure that member institutions continuously strive for superior facilities and enhanced programs.
  • Work with non-accredited institutions to communicate the importance of CAZA/AZAC accreditation and encourage participation by providing whatever professional assistance is available.

Benefits of Accreditation

CAZA/AZAC accreditation is: A publicly recognized symbol signifying excellence in, and commitment to, collection management, veterinary care, ethics, physical facilities, staffing, conservation, education, safety and security, finance, and supportive bodies. Conversely, denial of accreditation should lead to improvements in identified areas and increased cooperation from supportive bodies.

Accreditation: Develops public confidence by attesting in an independent, measured, and documented manner that an institution meets or exceeds current professional standards as established by CAZA, based upon a periodic thorough review and site inspection conducted by zoological experts in operations, animal management, and veterinary medicine.

Accreditation is important in: Guiding private and governmental agencies that frequently need expert opinion as a basis for qualitative judgment in connection with contributions, grants, contracts, and other areas.

Other benefits include: Eligibility for grants (makes institutions eligible for consideration for funding and grants from certain foundations, corporations and other sources), cuts red tape (exempts institutions from certain government requirements), allows organizations to learn from other institutions and better understand the importance of accreditation through participating in training and subsequent participation as accreditation inspectors, fosters staff and community pride; significantly improves the organizations ability to attract and retain a high quality, professional staff.

Membership in CAZA/AZAC includes: Animal exchange (access to specimens from other CAZA accredited facilities for loan and/or breeding); information /knowledge exchange (access to top experts and colleagues within the zoological and aquarium professions, for aid as needed and sharing of information); access to CAZA's Ottawa office resources.