According to COSEWIC, the scientific body that identifies and advises the federal government on species at risk, there are 650 species listed at risk of extinction in Canada, and the list continues to grow each year. As threats to our environment grow, we need stronger, not weaker, laws to protect the plants and animals that are struggling to survive across Canada. However, CPAWS is concerned that protection for species at risk is getting weaker.
The 2012 Federal Budget Implementation Bill (Bill C-38) incorporated changes to the federal Species at Risk Act (SARA) that include allowing issuance of long-term permits for potentially harmful activities and removing the requirement for regular review or renewal of these permits. The Minister of the Environment has signalled that the Act is under review and changes to the Act could be made soon.
Having a strong federal Species at Risk Act is essential to protecting Canada’s wildlife and supporting our communities, our health and our economy. The federal Species at Risk Act protects our most vulnerable plants and animals, as well as the habitat they need to survive and recover on federal lands.
SARA also provides an important “safety net” for species at risk, regardless of where they live in Canada. This is a critical backstop to the gaps and weaknesses in provincial and territorial endangered species laws across the country. The Act enables the federal government to step in where needed to protect species at risk on provincial and territorial lands.
Although in CPAWS’ view the Act isn’t perfect, most of its problems could be fixed through better implementation and resourcing – not through major changes to the law itself.
YOU can help to ensure a future for Canada’s endangered species – by taking action now!
Never miss your chance to make a difference! Enter your e-mail address here to get CPAWS news and actions delivered right to your inbox.