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THE SPECIES AT RISK ACT SARA

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Title: THE SPECIES AT RISK ACT SARA


1
THE SPECIES AT RISK ACT (SARA)
  • CBA/Justice National Section Meeting
  • National Environmental Energy Resources Law Group
  • Ottawa October 24, 2004

2
Purpose of the presentation
  • To give a brief overview of the main features of
    the SARA, to the exclusion of enforcement
    measures, offences and punishment and alternative
    measures.

3
SARA
  • Key tool for the conservation and protection of
    Canadas biological diversity
  • Fulfils a key commitment under the United
    Nations Convention on Biological Diversity
    (signed in 1992)

4
Coming into force
  • Related Amendments
  • March 24, 2003 ss. 1, 134-136, 138-141
  • Majority of the Act
  • June 5, 2003 ss. 2-31, 37-56, 62, 65-76, 78-84,
    120-133, 137
  • Enforcement provisions and Prohibitions
  • June 1, 2004 ss. 32-36, 57-61, 63, 64, 77,
    85-119

5
Purpose of SARA
  • To prevent wildlife species from being extirpated
    or becoming extinct
  • To provide for the recovery of wildlife species
    that are extirpated, endangered or threatened as
    a result of human activity
  • To manage species of special concern to prevent
    them from becoming endangered or threatened

6
Scope of SARA
  • listed aquatic species and their critical habitat
  • listed migratory birds covered by the Migratory
    Birds Convention Act, 1994 and their critical
    habitat
  • other listed species and their critical habitat
    on
  • federal lands
  • provincial and territorial lands if safety net
    is used

7
Ministerial Responsibility
  • Canadian Heritage
  • individuals in national parks, national historic
    sites, national marine conservation areas or
    other protected heritage areas.
  • Fisheries and Oceans
  • aquatic species other than individuals mentioned
    above.
  • Environment
  • all other individuals also accountable for
    overall administration of the Act.

8
Basic elements
  • v Stewardship
  • v Science based species assessment by COSEWIC
  • v Listing process
  • v Protection measures
  • v Public participation
  • Enforcement measures
  • Offences and punishment
  • Alternative measures
  • v Public registry

9
Stewardship
  • Stewardship action plan
  • Conservation agreements with any government,
    organization or person for measures to
  • protect species at risk and their critical
    habitats
  • develop and implement recovery strategies, action
    plans and management plans
  • conserve wildlife species not at risk, to prevent
    them from becoming at risk (s.11 12)
  • Funding agreements to help cover costs of
    conservation actions (s. 13)

10
Science-Based Species Assessment (1)
  • Gives COSEWIC legal basis
  • Independent, arms length expert
  • Composition
  • Functions
  • Uses the best available biological information
  • Scientific knowledge
  • Community knowledge
  • Aboriginal traditional knowledge

11
Science-Based Species Assessment (2)
  • Assessment must be based on status reports
  • COSEWIC must assess within 1 year after it
    receives a status report
  • Assessments and reasons provided to the Minister
    and CESCC and included in the public registry

12
Listing Process (1)
  • Minister to indicate response in public registry
    within 90 days after receiving the assessment
  • Consultation requirements
  • GiC to make a decision within 9 months after
    receiving the assessment on the recommendation of
    the Minister of the Environment
  • accept the assessment and add the species to the
    List
  • decide not to add the species to the List
  • refer the matter back to COSEWIC for further
    information or consideration

13
Listing Process (2)
  • Where the GiC has not made a decision within 9
    months, the Minister must amend the List in
    accordance with COSEWICs assessment.
  • 233 species on Schedule 1
  • 17 extirpated species
  • 105 endangered species
  • 68 threatened species
  • 43 species of special concern

14
Emergency Listing (3)
  • If there is an imminent threat to the survival of
    a species
  • any person may apply to COSEWIC for an assessment
    of the threat, or
  • the Minister may make a recommendation to the GiC
    to List the species as an endangered species
  • As soon as possible after listing, COSEWIC must
    have a status report prepared

15
Emergency Listing (4)
  • Within one year after listing, COSEWIC must
  • confirm the classification
  • recommend that the species be reclassified, or
  • recommend that the species be removed from the
    List
  • The Minister may make a recommendation to the GiC
    with respect to amending the List.

16
Protection Measures
  • General Prohibitions
  • Mandatory Recovery Planning
  • Protection of Critical Habitat
  • Agreements and Permits
  • Project Review
  • Emergency Orders
  • Exceptions

17
General Prohibitions (1)
  • As of June 1, 2004
  • Automatic prohibitions against
  • killing, harming, capturing, possessing, buying,
    selling, etc. individuals of a wildlife species
    listed as extirpated, endangered or threatened
    (s.32)
  • damaging or destroying the residence of
    individuals of a wildlife species listed as
  • endangered or threatened
  • extirpated if a recovery strategy has recommended
    the re-introduction of the species into the wild
    in Canada (s. 33)

18
General Prohibitions (2)
  • Provinces and territories given first opportunity
    to protect listed species other than aquatic
    species or migratory birds on provincial lands
    (s. 34(1) 35(1))
  • If the Minister is of the opinion that the
    species are not effectively protected, safety net
    approach means that federal prohibitions may be
    applied by GiC order (s. 34(2) 35(3))
  • Consultation of appropriate provincial/territorial
    minister and wildlife management board necessary

19
General Prohibitions (3)
  • Federal prohibitions may be made applicable by
    GiC order
  • on portions of federal lands specified in the
    order
  • to species that are classified as endangered or
    threatened by a provincial or territorial
    minister (s. 36)

20
Mandatory Recovery Planning (1)
  • Mandatory recovery strategies and action plans
    for endangered, threatened and extirpated species
    (s. 41 - 45)
  • Mandatory management plans for species of special
    concern (s. 65 - 72)
  • Guiding principles
  • Inclusive process of development of plans
    (co-operation with other orders of government,
    wildlife management boards, aboriginal
    organizations, consultation with landowners, etc.
  • Determination of feasibility
  • Mandatory content
  • Mandatory timelines
  • Ministerial reporting on implementation every
    five years

21
Recovery Strategies (2)
  • Mandatory content includes
  • Identification of the threats to the survival of
    the species and to its habitat
  • Broad strategy to address those threats
  • Identification of the species critical habitat,
    to the extent possible
  • Population and distribution objectives
  • Timelines for the preparation of action plan(s)

22
Recovery Strategies (3)
  • Mandatory timelines
  • for species on the List on June 5, 2003
  • 3 years for endangered species
  • 4 years for threatened or extirpated species
  • for species added to the List after June 5, 2003
  • 1 year for endangered species
  • 2 years for threatened or extirpated species

23
Action Plans (4)
  • Mandatory content includes
  • Identification of the species critical habitat,
    to the extent possible
  • Activities that would destroy the species
    critical habitat
  • Measures to protect the species critical habitat
  • Identification of unprotected portions of
    critical habitat
  • Measures to implement the recovery strategy
  • Methods to monitor the recovery of the species
    and its long-term viability
  • An evaluation of the socio-economic costs of the
    action plan and the benefits of its implementation

24
Management Plans (5)
  • Mandatory content
  • measures for the conservation of species of
    special concern and their habitat
  • Timeline
  • 5 years for species on the List on June 5, 2003
  • 3 years for species added to the List after June
    5, 2003

25
Protection of Critical Habitat
  • Within 180 days of its identification in a
    finalized recovery strategy or action plan,
    critical habitat must be protected through
  • stewardship agreements,
  • under another Act of Parliament, or
  • the application of s. 58(1)

26
Agreements and Permits (1)
  • Agreements and permits may allow a person to
    engage in an activity that would otherwise be a
    SARA offence if
  • the activity is scientific research relating to
    the conservation of the species and conducted by
    qualified persons
  • the activity benefits the species or enhances its
    chances of survival in the wild, or
  • affecting the species is incidental the carrying
    out of the activity.

27
Agreements and Permits (2)
  • The competent minister must be of the opinion
    that
  • all reasonable alternatives have been considered
    and the best solution has been adopted
  • all feasible measures will be taken to minimize
    the impact of the activity on the species and
  • the activity will not jeopardize the survival or
    recovery of the species.

28
Exemptions (3)
  • GiC may make an order providing that the
    prohibitions do not apply
  • for a period of up to one year from the date of
    listing
  • to agreements, permits, licences or similar
    documents that
  • authorize a person to engage in an activity that
    affects the listed species/critical
    habitat/residence
  • were entered into/issued under another Act of
    Parliament before the species was listed

29
Project Review
  • The responsible authority must, if a project is
    likely to affect a listed species or its critical
    habitat
  • notify the competent minister in writing of the
    project
  • identify the adverse effects on the species and
    its critical habitat
  • if the project is carried out, ensure that
    measures consistent with any applicable recovery
    strategy and action plan are taken
  • to avoid or lessen the adverse effects
  • to monitor the adverse effects

30
Emergency Orders
  • May be made where the competent minister
    believes that a listed species is facing imminent
    threats to its survival or recovery. Those GiC
    orders may
  • identify habitat necessary for the survival or
    recovery of the species
  • require protection measures
  • prohibit activities that may adversely affect the
    species and habitat

31
Exceptions (s. 83)
  • Many exceptions e.g. public safety, health and
    national security
  • Most common likely to be
  • activities authorized by permits and agreements
    issued under s. 73, 74 and 78 of the Act
  • activities engaged in accordance with
    conservation measures under a land claims
    agreement (ss. 83(3))
  • activities allowed by a recovery strategy, action
    plan or management plan and authorized under an
    Act of Parliament (including regulations made
    under s. 53, 59 or 71) (ss 83(4))
  • possession of an individual of a listed EX, EN or
    TH species in the circumstances set out in ss. 83
    (5)

32
Public participation
  • Anyone has a right to
  • apply to COSEWIC for an assessment of
  • the status of a species
  • the threat (for the purpose of having the species
    listed as endangered on an emergency basis)
  • comment on proposed recovery strategies, action
    plans and management plans prior to their
    approval (within 60 days after their inclusion in
    the public registry)
  • apply for an investigation into an alleged
    offence under the Act (s. 93)

33
Public registry
  • Public registry established
  • www.sararegistry.gc.ca / www.registrelep.gc.ca
  • Will include
  • SARA regulations and orders
  • agreements under section 10
  • COSEWICs classification criteria
  • status reports
  • the List of Wildlife Species at Risk
  • recovery strategies, action plans and management
    plans
  • annual reports on the administration of SARA
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