When governments pass laws that set out explicit requirements and timelines for action to be taken, you would expect that they’d be prepared to obey the law. Not so with Canada’s Species at Risk Act (SARA).
Under SARA, the federal government must decide whether to list a species within nine months of receiving its designation as at risk by the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC). Yet about 150 designated species at risk are stuck in limbo awaiting listing decisions.
Until they are listed under SARA, species at risk fall outside the law and its safeguards. No recovery plans. No action plans. No management plans. No protection against harm to the species or its habitat.
In our view, these delays are unlawful.
Here are some of the Ontario species waiting for the federal government to meet its legal obligations.
Several populations of this fish are at risk in Ontario and other provinces. COSEWIC designated the Great Lakes – Upper St. Lawrence population as threatened, and the Winnipeg River and English River populations as endangered in November 2006.