About the CBA

The Canadian Bison Association (CBA) is a non-profit organization which was established to represent the interests of the bison industry.

The Canadian Bison Association is responsible for providing guidance on a number of issues including: marketing, animal health, research, animal identification, government liaison, trade, traceability, the bison registry, conservation and other developmental initiatives.

There are six active regional associations representing Quebec, Ontario, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta, and BC- each having the ability to appoint two directors to the CBA board with Alberta able to appoint three directors. The National Bison Association in the United States recommends the international director appointment. The Maritime Association is not active at this time.

The Canadian Bison Association is managed by a President who is elected from one of the board members appointed by the regional associations. The CBA consists of an Executive Director and an Office Administrator with contract staff hired when required.

The Canadian Bison Association has approximately 550 members throughout Canada. There are also a number of members from the United States.

Our Plan

The bison species is North America’s largest land animal that dominated the North American continent from the time of the ice age until the coming of the Europeans to this continent. Some believe that the early bison and man followed the land bridge connecting Asia and North America some 10,000 years ago. The saber-toothed tigers and the woolly mammoth couldn't successfully adapt to a warming climate, but bison found the grassy plains very accommodating.

The aboriginal people who made the migration over the same land bridge found the abundant supply of bison a very good reason to stay on this side of the bridge. These animals would provide them with food, shelter, tools and fuel for thousands of years. Over time the aboriginal people came to regard the bison as their special gift from the Great Spirit.

Strong winds of change came with the European settlers coming to North America. As settlers moved into the centre of the continent looking for land to farm, minerals to mine and towns to build, the natural home of both the native people and bison diminished. Historical accounts suggest there were 60 million bison in 1800, and in 1899 there were less than 1000 bison left.

The complete loss of a species was prevented by the efforts of ranchers, and conservationists in both Canada and the United States. Some herds were kept in national parks and individual ranchers kept some small herds privately. Gradually the population stabilized and began to grow slowly. In the 1980’s some ranchers who had been supplying the local markets began to have enough product to sell to outside markets. A new livestock industry began in earnest in the 1990’s when farmers and ranchers discovered that the public had an appetite for this heritage food. Bison numbers have expanded Increased.

The 2016 census reported 119,314 bison on 975 Canadian farms and ranches. This reflects an annual compounded growth rate of almost 5.0% since the bison census was first taken in 1996 when 42,235 bison were reported on 745 farms.

It is estimated that as of January 1, 2017 there were almost 400,000 bison in North America of which were in tribal and ranched herds. In Canada, as of January 1, 2017 it is estimated that there were about 975 bison producers who owned almost 145,000 bison – truly a conservation success story.

Note: the industry estimate differs from the 119,314 reported in the census because it includes the 2016 calf crop less harvesting and exports.


To be part of a growing and dynamic industry that is respected for its success.


To bring together its members and create the environment that contributes to the bison industry’s success domestically and globally.


  1. Financial stability
    • Membership Growth
    • Administration of identification tag sales
  2. Support industry growth
    • Producer support
    • Benchmark production and financial information
    • Decision Making Tools
    • Code of Practice
  3. Marketing
    • International trade shows
    • Website and Social Media
    1. Conservation
      • Work to ensure that Plains Bison remains unclassified under the Species at Risk Act
      • Work with Environment Canada and Parks Canada and support strategies to achieve conservation goals while at the same time achieving commercial bison industry goals
    2. Policy development
      • Traceability
      • Compensation for destroyed animals
      • Trade
    3. Developing and supporting a research strategy
      • Establish a research advisory committee
      • Prioritize research