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Species at Risk Act

Wildlife Species Listing Process

Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada

Establishment
14. The Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada is hereby established.

Functions

15. (1) The functions of COSEWIC are to

  • (a) assess the status of each wildlife species considered by COSEWIC to be at risk and, as part of the assessment, identify existing and potential threats to the species and

    • classify the species as extinct, extirpated, endangered, threatened or of special concern,

    • indicate that COSEWIC does not have sufficient information to classify the species, or

    • indicate that the species is not currently at risk;

  • (b) determine when wildlife species are to be assessed, with priority given to those more likely to become extinct;

  • (c) conduct a new assessment of the status of species at risk and, if appropriate, reclassify or declassify them;

  • (c.1) indicate in the assessment whether the wildlife species migrates across Canada's boundary or has a range extending across Canada's boundary;

  • (d) develop and periodically review criteria for assessing the status of wildlife species and for classifying them and recommend the criteria to the Minister and the Canadian Endangered Species Conservation Council; and

  • (e) provide advice to the Minister and the Canadian Endangered Species Conservation Council and perform any other functions that the Minister, after consultation with that Council, may assign.
Best information and knowledge
(2) COSEWIC must carry out its functions on the basis of the best available information on the biological status of a species, including scientific knowledge, community knowledge and aboriginal traditional knowledge.

Treaties and land claims agreements
(3) COSEWIC must take into account any applicable provisions of treaty and land claims agreements when carrying out its functions.

Composition
16. (1) COSEWIC is to be composed of members appointed by the Minister after consultation with the Canadian Endangered Species Conservation Council and with any experts and expert bodies, such as the Royal Society of Canada, that the Minister considers to have relevant expertise.

Qualifications of
members
(2) Each member must have expertise drawn from a discipline such as conservation biology, population dynamics, taxonomy, systematics or genetics or from community knowledge or aboriginal traditional knowledge of the conservation of wildlife species.

Term of appointment
(3) The members are to be appointed to hold office for renewable terms of not more than four years.

Not part of the public service of Canada
(4) The members are not, because of being a member, part of the public service of Canada.

Remuneration and expenses
(5) The members may be paid remuneration and expenses for their services in amounts that the Minister may set.

Discretion
(6) Each member of COSEWIC shall exercise his or her discretion in an independent manner.

Regulations and guidelines
17. The Minister may, after consultation with the Canadian Endangered Species Conservation Council and COSEWIC, establish regulations or guidelines respecting the appointment of members and the carrying out of COSEWIC's functions.

Subcommittees
18. (1) COSEWIC must establish subcommittees of specialists to assist in the preparation and review of status reports on wildlife species considered to be at risk, including subcommittees specializing in groups of wildlife species and a subcommittee specializing in aboriginal traditional knowledge, and it may establish other subcommittees to advise it or to exercise or perform any of its functions.

Membership
(2) Each subcommittee must be presided over by a member of COSEWIC, but the subcommittee may include persons who are not members of COSEWIC.

Aboriginal traditional knowledge subcommittee
(3) Subject to subsection (2), the chairperson and members of the aboriginal traditional knowledge subcommittee must be appointed by the Minister after consultation with any aboriginal organization he or she considers appropriate.

Rules

19. COSEWIC may make rules respecting the holding of meetings and the general conduct of its activities, including rules respecting

  • the selection of persons to chair its meetings; and

  • the meetings and activities of any of its subcommittees.
Staff and facilities
20. The Minister must provide COSEWIC with any professional, technical, secretarial, clerical and other assistance, and any facilities and supplies, that, in his or her opinion, are necessary to carry out its functions.

Status reports
21. (1) COSEWIC's assessment of the status of a wildlife species must be based on a status report on the species that COSEWIC either has had prepared or has received with an application.

Content
(2) The Minister may, after consultation with COSEWIC, the Minister of Canadian Heritage and the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans, make regulations establishing the content of status reports.

Applications
22. (1) Any person may apply to COSEWIC for an assessment of the status of a wildlife species.

Regulations
(2) The Minister may, after consultation with the Minister of Canadian Heritage, the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans and the Canadian Endangered Species Conservation Council, make regulations respecting the making of applications to COSEWIC under subsection (1) and the dealing with of those applications by COSEWIC.

Time for assessment
23. (1) COSEWIC must assess the status of a wildlife species within one year after it receives a status report on the species, and it must provide reasons for its assessment.

Notification of applicant
(2) If the assessment results from an application, COSEWIC must notify the applicant of the assessment and the reasons.

Reviews and Reports

Review of classifications
24. COSEWIC must review the classification of each species at risk at least once every 10 years, or at any time if it has reason to believe that the status of the species has changed significantly.

Copies to Minister and Council
25. (1) When COSEWIC completes an assessment of the status of a wildlife species, it must provide the Minister and the Canadian Endangered Species Conservation Council with a copy of the assessment and the reasons for it. A copy of the assessment and the reasons must also be included in the public registry.

COSEWIC list
(2) COSEWIC must annually prepare a complete list of every wildlife species it has assessed since the coming into force of this section and a copy of that list must be included in the public registry.

Report on response
(3) On receiving a copy of an assessment of the status of a wildlife species from COSEWIC under subsection (1), the Minister must, within 90 days, include in the public registry a report on how the Minister intends to respond to the assessment and, to the extent possible, provide time lines for action.

Annual reports
26. COSEWIC must annually provide a report on its activities to the Canadian Endangered Species Conservation Council and a copy of that report must be included in the public registry.

List of Wildlife Species at Risk

Power to amend List
27. (1) The Governor in Council may, on the recommendation of the Minister, by order amend the List in accordance with subsections (1.1) and (1.2) by adding a wildlife species, by reclassifying a listed wildlife species or by removing a listed wildlife species, and the Minister may, by order, amend the List in a similar fashion in accordance with subsection (3).

Decision in respect of assessment

(1.1) Subject to subsection (3), the Governor in Council, within nine months after receiving an assessment of the status of a species by COSEWIC, may review that assessment and may, on the recommendation of the Minister,

  • 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.
Statement of reasons
(1.2) Where the Governor in Council takes a course of action under paragraph (1.1)(b) or (c), the Minister shall, after the approval of the Governor in Council, include a statement in the public registry setting out the reasons.

Pre-conditions for recommendation

(2) Before making a recommendation in respect of a wildlife species or a species at risk, the Minister must

  • take into account the assessment of COSEWIC in respect of the species;

  • consult the competent minister or ministers; and

  • if the species is found in an area in respect of which a wildlife management board is authorized by a land claims agreement to perform functions in respect of a wildlife species, consult the wildlife management board.
Amendment of List by Minister
(3) Where the Governor in Council has not taken a course of action under subsection (1.1) within nine months after receiving an assessment of the status of a species by COSEWIC, the Minister shall, by order, amend the List in accordance with COSEWIC's assessment.

Applications for assessment of
imminent threat
28. (1) Any person who considers that there is an imminent threat to the survival of a wildlife species may apply to COSEWIC for an assessment of the threat for the purpose of having the species listed on an emergency basis under subsection 29(1) as an endangered species.

Information to be
included in application
(2) The application must include relevant information indicating that there is an imminent threat to the survival of the species.

Regulations
(3) The Minister may, after consultation with the Minister of Canadian Heritage, the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans and the Canadian Endangered Species Conservation Council, make regulations respecting the making of applications to COSEWIC under subsection (1) and the dealing with of those applications by COSEWIC.

Notice
(4) COSEWIC must provide the applicant, the Minister and the Canadian Endangered Species Conservation Council with a copy of its assessment. A copy of the assessment must be included in the public registry.

Emergency listing
29. (1) If the Minister is of the opinion that there is an imminent threat to the survival of a wildlife species, the Minister must, on an emergency basis, after consultation with every other competent minister, make a recommendation to the Governor in Council that the List be amended to list the species as an endangered species.

Formation of opinion
(2) The Minister may arrive at that opinion on the basis of his or her own information or on the basis of COSEWIC's assessment.

Exemption
(3) If a recommendation is made under subsection (1), subsection 27(2) does not apply to any order that is made under subsection 27(1) on the basis of that recommendation, and the order is exempt from the application of section 3 of the Statutory Instruments Act.

Review

30. (1) As soon as possible after an order is made on the basis of a recommendation referred to in subsection 29(1), COSEWIC must have a status report on the wildlife species prepared and, within one year after the making of the order, COSEWIC must, in a report in writing to the Minister,

  • confirm the classification of the species;

  • recommend to the Minister that the species be reclassified; or

  • recommend to the Minister that the species be removed from the List.
Copy of report
(2) Within 30 days after the report is received by the Minister, a copy of the report must be included in the public registry.

Recommendation to amend List
31. If COSEWIC makes a recommendation under paragraph 30(1)(b) or (c), the Minister may make a recommendation to the Governor in Council with respect to amending the List.

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