Summary of the matter addressed in the submission:

The Submitter asserts that Canada is failing to effectively enforce Canada’s Species at Risk Act (the “Act” or “SARA”) by failing to list the polar bear in a timely manner as a threatened or endangered species, “thus denying the bear any substantive legal protections under SARA.”

According to the Submitter, Canada’s polar bear population makes up about 60% of the world’s total population of 20,000 to 25,000 individuals. In Submission SEM-11-003 (Protection of Polar Bears), the Submitter alleges that the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (“COSEWIC”) has failed to consider the best available information about the status of the polar bear in Canada and as a result, has recommended to Canada that the polar bear be listed as a species of special concern. The Submitter alleges that based on the best available information, the polar bear should instead be listed as an endangered or as a threatened species. Among other alleged failures to effectively enforce SARA, the Submitter asserts that “COSEWIC entirely discounted the critical impact climate change will have on the species, in direct conflict with polar bear expert opinions.”

The Submitter further alleges that Canada’s Minister of the Environment (the “Minister”) violated the Act by missing deadlines in responding to COSEWIC’s recommendation. The Submitter moreover alleges that in November 2011 when the Minister eventually did recommend to the federal cabinet that the polar bear be listed as a species of special concern, the Minister violated the Act by basing his recommendation on COSEWIC’s allegedly “invalid and unlawful assessment.”

The Submitter asserts that “Canada has failed to list the polar bear as endangered or threatened, violating both the procedural and substantive provisions of SARA. Had Canada fully complied with SARA, the polar bear would have been listed as endangered two and a half years ago, and the species would be protected by a recovery strategy and have identified critical habitat by now.”

Summary of the response provided by the Party:

In its Response, Canada states its position that the COSEWIC is not subject to the Article 14 process because COSEWIC is not a Party to the North American Agreement on Environmental Cooperation (NAAEC), and because subsection 15(2) of the Act does not meet the NAAEC’s definition of environmental law.

Canada states that, contrary to the Submission, the timelines in sections 25 and 27 of the Act were not breached. Canada also questions the Secretariat’s analysis of whether the Submission involves an ongoing matter, and alleges other failures on the part of the Secretariat, including that aspects of the Determination are “contrary to the impartial exercise of the Secretariat’s duties.”

Names and citations of the environmental laws in question:

Canada's Species at Risk Act

Submitter(s):

Center for Biological Diversity

Submission Timeline

December 5, 2011

The Secretariat received a submission and began a preliminary analysis of it under the guidelines.

Other Documents - Other document authored by Canada on 01/01/2005

Other Documents - Other document authored by United States on 01/01/2007

Other Documents - Other document authored by United States on 01/01/2007

Other Documents - Other document authored by Public on 01/01/2008

Other Documents - Other document authored by Canada on 01/04/2008

Other Documents - Other document authored by Public on 01/01/2009

Other Documents - Other document authored by Public on 01/01/2010

Other Documents - Other document authored by Canada on 01/04/2010

Other Documents - Other document authored by Submitter(s) on 01/08/2011

Other Documents - Other document authored by Submitter(s) on 06/10/2011

Other Documents - Other document authored by Submitter(s) on 28/11/2011

Submission - Submission authored by Submitter(s) on 30/11/2011

Acknowledgement - Communication to Submitter(s) authored by Secretariat on 06/12/2011

November 29, 2012

The Secretariat determined that the submission met the criteria of Article 14(1) and requested a response from the concerned government Party in accordance with Article 14(2).

Determination - Secretariat Determination under Article 14 (1) and 14 (2) authored by Secretariat on 29/11/2012

January 23, 2013

The Council, the Party, or the Secretariat provided a written explanation in accordance with Guideline 19.9.

Other Documents - Other document authored by Canada on 23/01/2013

January 24, 2013

The Secretariat received a response from the concerned government Party and began considering whether to recommend a factual record.

Party Response - Response from the Party under Article 14 (3) authored by Canada on 24/01/2013

Annex - Other document authored by Canada on 10/12/2012

Annex - Other document authored by Canada on 30/03/2012

Annex - Other document authored by Canada on 06/07/2012

Annex - Other document authored by Canada on 20/11/2003

Annex - Other document authored by Individual or entity named in submission on 12/12/2003

Annex - Other document authored by Individual or entity named in submission on 31/12/2008

Annex - Other document authored by Individual or entity named in submission on 26/11/2008

Annex - Other document authored by Canada on 01/01/2009

Annex - Other document authored by Canada on 16/02/2011

Annex - Other document authored by Canada on 09/11/2011

Annex - Other document authored by Canada on 02/07/2011

Annex - Other document authored by Canada on 31/12/2012

Acknowledgement - Other document authored by Secretariat on 31/08/2011

Other Documents - Communication to Submitter(s) authored by Secretariat on 25/01/2013

November 7, 2013

The Secretariat informed Council that the Secretariat considers that the submission warrants development of a factual record.

Recommendation - Secretariat Notification to Council under Article 15(1) authored by Secretariat on 07/11/2013

June 5, 2014

The Council voted not to instruct the Secretariat to prepare a factual record.

Resolution - Council decision concerning the development of a Factual Record authored by Council on 05/06/2014

Other Documents - Council decision concerning the development of a Factual Record authored by Council on 05/06/2014

Other Documents - Other document authored by United States on 05/06/2014