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Species at Risk Act – Annual Report for 2014

7 Enforcement

Environment Canada, Fisheries and Oceans Canada, and the Parks Canada Agency work jointly and in partnership with Aboriginal, provincial, territorial and international authorities to protect SARA-listed wildlife species at risk and their critical habitats.

In 2014, Environment Canada focused on two priorities related to Canadian species at risk and their habitats:

  • Canadian species at high risk for conservation and/or at high risk for non-compliance;
  • Habitats or protected areas at high risk for conservation and/or at high risk for non-compliance. Environment Canada enforcement officers patrol national wildlife areas and migratory bird sanctuaries to ensure compliance with SARA, the Canada Wildlife Act and the Migratory Bird Convention Act, 1994. The protection of these habitats, which includes some critical habitat identified in SARA recovery strategies, is important, given the fact that these habitats are deemed necessary for the conservation and/or recovery of key species.

In 2014, Environment Canada’s Enforcement Branch conducted 74 inspections under SARA based on these two priorities. Inspections mainly focused on the protection of American Ginseng from poaching and trade in Ontario and Quebec; on the protection of Piping Plovers and their critical habitat in Eastern Canada and Ontario; and on the protection of the Greater Sage-Grouse in Saskatchewan and Alberta following the coming into force of an Emergency Protection Order in early 2014.

Fisheries and Oceans Canada’s enforcement actions for species at risk are carried out by fishery officers who have been trained and designated as enforcement officers under SARA and who incorporate SARA enforcement activities alongside their duties under the Fisheries Act and other federal statutes and regulations.

In 2014, Fisheries and Oceans Canada fishery officers dedicated over 13 000 hours to patrols, inspections, investigations, court cases, public relations and other duties related to enforcing the prohibitions of SARA. Fishery officers initiated over 70 investigations and spent over 3 200 hours on investigative work related to species at risk. The Department recorded a total of 18 SARA violations that resulted in fines, seizures, charges and warnings.

Parks Canada’s Law Enforcement Program enforces legislation related to Parks Canada’s mandate, including SARA, on all lands and waters that the Agency administers. In 2014, Parks Canada’s enforcement activities in protected heritage areas included targeted patrols and investigating reported violations in support of SARA-listed species and critical habitat. Parks Canada’s Law Enforcement Program tracks enforcement activities through the Occurrence Tracking System. In 2014, wardens recorded a total of 21 law enforcement occurrences related to the protection of species at risk in protected heritage areas. There were 4 charges under the Canada National Parks Act and 1 charge under the prohibitions of SARA during this period.