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Consultation on Amending the List of Species under the Species at Risk Act: Terrestrial Species - January 2015

Addition of Species to the Species at Risk Act

The Species at Risk Act and the List of Wildlife Species at Risk

The Government of Canada is committed to preventing the disappearance of wildlife species at risk from our lands. As part of its strategy for realizing that commitment, on , the Government of Canada proclaimed the Species at Risk Act (SARA). Attached to the Act is Schedule 1, the list of the species provided for under SARA, also called the List of Wildlife Species at Risk. Extirpated, Endangered and Threatened species on Schedule 1 benefit from the protection of prohibitions and recovery planning requirements under SARA. Special Concern species benefit from its management planning requirements. Schedule 1 has grown from the original 233 to 521 wildlife species at risk.

The complete list of species currently on Schedule 1 can be viewed at:
Schedule 1 website

Species become eligible for addition to Schedule 1 once they have been assessed as being at risk by the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC). The decision to add a species to Schedule 1 is made by the Governor in Council following a recommendation from the Minister of the Environment. The Governor in Council is the formal executive body that gives legal effect to decisions that are to have the force of law.

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COSEWIC and the assessment process for identifying species at risk

COSEWIC is recognized under SARA as the authority for assessing the status of wildlife species at risk. COSEWIC comprises experts on wildlife species at risk. Its members have backgrounds in the fields of biology, ecology, genetics, Aboriginal traditional knowledge and other relevant fields. They come from various communities, including academia, Aboriginal organizations, government and non-governmental organizations.

COSEWIC gives priority to those species more likely to become extinct, and then commissions a status report for the evaluation of the species' status. To be accepted, status reports must be peer-reviewed and approved by a subcommittee of species specialists. In special circumstances, assessments can be done on an emergency basis. When the status report is complete, COSEWIC meets to examine it and discuss the species. COSEWIC then determines whether the species is at risk, and if so, then assesses the level of risk and assigns a conservation status.

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Terms used to define the degree of risk to a species

The conservation status defines the degree of risk to a species. The terms used under SARA are Extirpated, Endangered, Threatened and Special Concern. Extirpated species are wildlife species that no longer occur in the wild in Canada but still exist elsewhere. Endangered species are wildlife species that are likely to soon become extirpated or extinct. Threatened species are likely to become endangered if nothing is done to reverse the factors leading to their extirpation or extinction. The term Special Concern is used for wildlife species that may become threatened or endangered due to a combination of biological characteristics and threats. Once COSEWIC has assessed a species as Extirpated, Endangered, Threatened or Special Concern, it is eligible for inclusion on Schedule 1.

For more information on COSEWIC, visit: COSEWIC website

On , COSEWIC sent to the Minister of the Environment its newest assessments of species at risk. Environment Canada is now consulting on changes to Schedule 1 to reflect these new designations for these terrestrial species. To see the list of the terrestrial species and their status, please refer to tables 1 to 3.

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Terrestrial and aquatic species eligible for Schedule 1 amendments

The Minister of Fisheries and Oceans conducts separate consultations for the aquatic species. For more information on the consultations for aquatic species, visit the Fisheries and Oceans Canada website.

The Minister of the Environment is conducting the consultations for all other species at risk.

Approximately 66% of the recently assessed terrestrial species at risk also occur in national parks or other lands administered by Parks Canada; Parks Canada shares responsibility for these species with Environment Canada.

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Comments solicited on the proposed amendment of Schedule 1

The conservation of wildlife is a joint legal responsibility: one that is shared among the governments of Canada. But biodiversity will not be conserved by governments that act alone. The best way to secure the survival of species at risk and their habitats is through the active participation of all those concerned. SARA recognizes this, and that all Aboriginal peoples and Canadians have a role to play in preventing the disappearance of wildlife species from our lands. The Government of Canada is inviting and encouraging you to become involved. One way that you can do so is by sharing your comments concerning the addition or reclassification of these terrestrial species.

Your comments are considered in relation to the potential consequences of whether or not a species is included on Schedule 1, and they are then used to draft the Minister's proposed listing recommendations for each of these species.

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Questions to guide your comments

The following questions are intended to assist you in providing comments on the proposed amendments to the List of Wildlife Species at Risk (see Table 1 for the list of species under consultation). They are not limiting, and any other comments you may have are welcome. We also encourage you to share descriptions and estimates of costs or benefits to you or your organization where possible, as well as to propose voluntary stewardship actions that could be taken for the conservation of these species.

Respondent information

Are you responding as an individual or representing a community, business or organization (please specify)?

Species benefit to people or the ecosystem

Do any or all of the species provide benefits to you or Canada's ecosystems? If yes, explain how. What is the estimated value of these benefits? Values do not need to be monetary.

For example:

  • Do any or all of the species provide benefits by supporting your livelihood, for example, through harvesting, subsistence or medicine?
  • Do any or all of the species provide cultural or spiritual benefits, for example, recreation, sense of place or tradition? If yes, how?
  • Do any or all of the species provide environmental benefits, for example, pollination, pest control or flood control? If yes, how?

Impact of your activities and mitigation

  • Based on the maps provided in this document, do any of your current or planned activities overlap with any or all of the species ranges or occurrences?
  • Do any of your current or planned activities have the potential to kill, harm or harass any or all of the species, or damage or destroy their residence(s)? If yes, what are these activities, and how are they affecting the concerned species?
  • What are you doing or what could you do to avoid killing, harming or harassing the species, or damaging or destroying their residence(s)?

Impacts of amending the List of Wildlife Species at Risk

Based on what you know about the Species at Risk Act and the information presented in this document, do you think amending the List of Wildlife Species at Risk with the proposed listing (Table 1) would have no impact, a positive impact or a negative impact on your activities or the species? Please provide as much detail as possible.

For example:

  • If any of your activities impact a species or its residence, would you have to avoid or adjust these activities to mitigate their impact? What are the implications of such avoidance or mitigation?
  • Do you think that listing the species would have cultural or social cost or benefits to you, your community or your organization?
  • Do you think that listing the species would have economic costs or benefits to you, your community or your organization?
  • Do you think that listing the species would have costs or benefits to the environment or Canada's ecosystems?

Additional information for small businesses

If you are responding for a small business, please provide the following details to help Environment Canada gather information to contribute to the required Small Business Lens analysis that forms part of the Regulatory Impact Analysis Statement that will accompany any future listing recommendation.

  1. Are you an enterprise that operates in Canada?
  2. Do you engage in commercial activities related to the supply of services or property (which includes goods)?
  3. Are you an organization that engages in activities for a public purpose (i.e., social welfare or civic improvement), such as a provincial or municipal government, school, college/university, hospital or charity?
  4. Is your enterprise owned by a First Nations community?
  5. How many employees do you have?

    • 0–99
    • 100 or more
  6. What was your annual gross revenue in the last year?

    • Less than $30,000
    • Between $30,000 and $5 million
    • More than $5 million

To ensure that your comments are considered in time, they should be submitted before the following deadlines.

For terrestrial species undergoing normal consultations, comments should be submitted by .

For terrestrial species undergoing extended consultations, comments should be submitted by .

To find out which consultation paths these species will undergo (extended or normal), please see:
Consultation website

Comments received by these deadlines will be considered in the development of the listing proposal.

Please email your comments to the Species at Risk Public Registry at:
SARA Registry email.

By regular mail, please address your comments to:
Director General
Canadian Wildlife Service
Environment Canada
Ottawa ON  K1A 0H3

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