Unsustainable and illegal wildlife trade are contributing to the unprecedented levels of biodiversity loss and possible extinction of one million species. Law enforcement and the criminal justice system have a role to play in helping to regulate and monitor such trade. The main international instrument to regulate wildlife trade is the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). This mixed methods study researched the lessons learned and best practice in regards to implementation of and compliance with CITES. As part of the study, three countries were identified as case studies and Canada was selected as one of these. Lessons can also be learned from Canada’s Wild Animal and Plant Protection and Regulation of International and Interprovincial Trade Act, which is cumbersome to update when species protections change within CITES. Canada has several elements of good practice, such as the remit, effectiveness and relationships of the three CITES authorities located within Environment and Climate Change Canada, the public health approach to some wildlife imports, and the protection of native CITES species. CITES needs to be improved to further protect endangered species and lessons from Canada and other countries can contribute to this improvement.