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COSEWIC Annual Report 2003

Part 2


April 28 - May 2 meeting


Special Note

The spring meeting of COSEWIC was preceded by a one and a half day workshop held April 26-27, 2003 attended by several members of COSEWIC and representatives of nearly all Wildlife Management Boards (WMBs). The workshop was informative and productive and was an important step in furthering the relationship of the committee with these boards. An Appendix setting out the details of this relationship was discussed and redrafted with the representatives of the WMBs and COSEWIC. A later draft of this Appendix will eventually become part of the Operations & Procedures Manual of COSEWIC.

General Information

The spring, 2003, meeting of COSEWIC took place at the Mount McIntyre Recreation Centre, Whitehorse, Yukon from April 28 to May 2, 2003 chaired by Dr. Marco Festa-Bianchet.

All members were in attendance with the exception of Siu-Ling Han from Nunavut. Henry Lickers, interim co-chair of the ATK Subcommittee was also absent. Both members expressed regrets they were unable to attend due to illness.

Approval of Changes to Membership/Membership Renewals

Calls for membership were issued as the following members' terms would be expiring December 31, 2003.

The following incumbent members were the only applicants. They were considered and recommended by the Selection Committees for renewal:

Andrew Trites, co-chair, Marine Fishes Specialist Subcommittee
René Belland, co-chair, Plants & Lichens Specialist Subcommittee
Claude Renaud, co-chair, Freshwater Fishes Specialist Subcommittee
Marco Festa-Bianchet, co-chair, Terrestrial Mammals Specialist Subcommittee

The following members were renewed following a selection process whereby all applications were considered and evaluated by a Selection Committee. The top two candidates for each position were presented to COSEWIC and voted upon:

Michael Bradstreet, non government member
Richard Haedrich, co-chair, Marine Fishes Specialist Subcommittee.

The following other membership changes were provided:

Parks Canada
Alternate member , Parks Canada - Dr. Peter Achuff

New member - Jeanette Pepper (vacated by Earl Wiltse)
Alternate member - currently vacant (vacated by Dr. Rick Espie)

ATK Subcommittee
New interim co-chair - Larry Carpenter, Chair of the Wildlife Management Advisory Council (NWT), who was nominated by the Aboriginal Working Group in March, 2003.

The above new members attended this meeting.

The membership changes/renewals indicated above are herein submitted for your recommendation to the Canadian Endangered Species Conservation Council (CESCC).

A Working Group was struck to establish better guidelines for selecting among competing applicants. The following volunteered:
Marco Festa-Bianchet
Claude Renaud
Gerry Mackie
Marty Leonard
Steve Brechtel

Terms of Reference - COSEWIC

The revised Terms of Reference for COSEWIC were reviewed and discussed.

The revised Terms of Reference for COSEWIC are herein submitted for your recommendation to CESCC.
See Appendix III.

Terms of Reference - ATK Committee

Version # 16 of the draft Terms of Reference for the ATK Committee (which include the function of the ATK Subcommittee within COSEWIC) were discussed at the meeting of COSEWIC with the Aboriginal Working Group in March, 2003. These Terms of Reference were provided following the March meeting to Environment Canada for review and comment. Members reviewed this version and it was agreed that Marco would write a letter to the Aboriginal Working Group addressing specific concerns.

Report of the Co-chairs Subcommittee

The following key points were noted:
1. Schedule 2 Species (SARA)
The list of species was reviewed and co-chairs felt that the remaining species on this list could be reassessed within three years.

2. Confidentiality of Locality Data for Species at Risk
This matter was discussed and it was felt that with Access to Information that important information setting out precise locality information on species at risk should not be subject to general public access.
As currently there is nothing prohibiting release of this information, it was felt that this is a matter that needs to be addressed very soon. The Secretariat will look further into this matter.

3. Review of Status Reports by Jurisdictions
A first draft of a template to provide guidelines for reviewing status reports was discussed. The template will be further elaborated and will be submitted to COSEWIC for approval.

Nominating Committee for Election of Chair - Spring, 2004

The following members volunteered to comprise the Nominating Committee:
Jeff Hutchings (chair)
René Belland
Gilles Seutin
Al Dextrase
Lucie Métras (Secretariat)

Species Status Assignments

Members were reminded about confidentiality and asked following designation, to ensure the range of occurrence is confirmed, the criteria met are clearly stated and that the reasons for designation also point out any major areas of uncertainty.

See Appendix IV which includes the confirmation of the Emergency Designations of October, 2003 for the Sakinaw Lake and Cultus Lake, British Columbia, populations of the Sockeye Salmon.

Press Release

Marco Festa-Bianchet, Howard Powles, Richard Haedrich, Al Dextrase and Erich Haber volunteered to assist in the drafting of the press release, which was later reviewed by all COSEWIC members.
See Appendix V.

Operations & Procedures Manual

It was agreed that the manual be renamed Operations ( not Organization) & Procedures Manual . COSEWIC clarified that responsibility for the content and changes to the Operations & Procedures Manual is vested with COSEWIC. The O & P Subcommittee may incorporate minor changes but will consult COSEWIC for major changes requiring a 2/3 majority vote.

Ex Officio Membership

Following discussion by the members it was decided that no "ex officio" status would be given to the director of the Species at Risk branch of the Canadian Wildlife Service. Members stated that they will continue to welcome the director and all wildlife directors to COSEWIC meetings. However, the status of all non-COSEWIC members and alternates aside from COSEWIC Secretariat staff will continue to be observer status.

Strengthening the Relationship (COSEWIC - RENEW)

Following discussion, it was agreed that a Working Group be set up to look at the form, content and format of a document that would link species assessment with recovery. This Working Group would also look at the validity and appropriateness of the items requested by RENEW.

Linking COSEWIC with RENEW Working Group:
Marco Festa-Bianchet
Dave Fraser
Joe Brazil
Jim Duncan
Dick Cannings
Steve Brechtel
Lucie Métras, Secretariat.

Marco was tasked to contact the chair of RENEW on this matter.

Secretariat Work Plan and Budget

A working group was struck to review and comment on the draft Work Plan and Budget for 2003-2004 comprised of Gilles Seutin, Mart Gross, Bob Campbell and Erich Haber.

The finalized draft of the Work Plan & Budget was reviewed and approved.
See Appendix VI.

Candidate List

The co-chairs agreed to put together a candidate list selecting priority species for new reports along with justifications and will produce a document to be agreed on by COSEWIC for approval by e-mail.

Electronic Voting

It was decided that there will be electronic voting by COSEWIC at future meetings. The Secretariat will acquire the equipment for this.


The following was noted.
-Species listed as Not at Risk are reassessed only if re-prioritized
-Species listed as Data Deficient are reassessed after 10 years.

Instructions to Authors

Gerry Mackie, chair of the working group provided the revisions to the Instructions to Authors for review and comment.

A working group was struck to identify the issues related to unsolicited reports for the next meeting in the fall :

Gilles Seutin, chair
Marty Leonard
Maureen Toner

Conflict of Interest Guidelines

The revised draft was approved and it was agreed that it should go in the O & P Manual.

Designatable Units

The report of the Working Group was reviewed and comments made. It was particularly noted that the reference to species of "National Significance" will now be removed from the O & P Manual and also from reports.

It was agreed that a report author may suggest status assessments below the species level and discuss it with the appropriate Species Specialist Subcommittee, but that the authority of which units to recommend to COSEWIC for designation rests with the Species Specialist Subcommittee.

It was agree that the Working Group comprised of the following continue its work although the document will be incorporated "as is" in the O & P manual:
David Green, chair
Howard Powles
Jeff Hutchings
Steve Carr
Mart Gross
Gilles Seutin

Proposal for Arthropods Specialist Subcommittee

A document was submitted for review and approval and is presented herein for recommendation to CESCC.
See Appendix VII.


The Freshwater Fishes map and the Amphibians, Reptiles & Terrestrial Molluscs Map were submitted to be added to the existing Ecozones map of COSEWIC and contained within the O & P Manual.

Next Meetings

November 24-28, 2003, Ottawa
April 26-30, 2004, Port Rowan, Ontario

Joe Brazil, Newfoundland & Labrador, offered to host the spring 2005 Species Assessment Meeting at Gros Morne National Park.


Marco thanked the members, and particularly the Secretariat staff for their continued initiative, hard work, professionalism and support. Special thanks were given to Tom Jung and the Yukon Fish and Wildlife Branch for hosting a highly successful and smooth-running meeting in Whitehorse.