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Species at Risk

Submission ID: SEM-06-005
Party concerned: Canada
Date filed: October 10, 2006
Submission Status: Closed

Latest Update: April 15, 2011

The process was terminated.

Summary of the matter addressed in the submission:

The Submitters assert that Canada is failing to effectively enforce the federal Species at Risk Act (SARA) with respect to at least 197 of the 529 species identified as at risk in Canada, so as to frustrate the Act’s purpose: preventing wildlife species from becoming extirpated or becoming extinct and providing for the recovery of wildlife species that are extirpated, endangered or threatened as a result of human activity. In particular, the Submitters allege that Environment Canada, Parks Canada, the Minister of the Environment and the Department of Fisheries and Oceans are failing to enforce the SARA with regard to listing of species as extirpated, endangered, threatened or of special concern (SARA section 27); recovery planning, including identification of critical habitat (SARA sections 41 and 42); and national enforcement through “safety net” and emergency orders (SARA sections 32, 33, 34 and 80).

Summary of the response provided by the Party:

In its response, Canada explains that SARA is a relatively new and complex piece of legislation that requires extensive consultations and collaboration. Canada refers to court actions filed by environmental groups in 2006 citing inadequate protection of the Northern Spotted Owl and the Piping Plover. Canada states that in view of these proceedings, the Secretariat should proceed no further on the Submitters’ allegations concerning use of emergency orders and identification of critical habitat. Regarding allegations that the federal government posted only 23 out of 133 recovery strategies that were due in 2006, Canada asserts that this type of broad-based allegation should not be considered by the Secretariat.

Names and citations of the environmental laws in question:

Species at Risk Act (SARA)


Sierra Club (U.S. and Canada), Nature Canada, the David Suzuki Foundation, Conservation Northwest, Environmental Defence, ForestEthics, Ontario Nature, Western Canada Wilderness Committee, BC Nature, Federation of Alberta Naturalists, the Natural History Society of Newfoundland and Labrador, Nature Nova Scotia and Nature Quebec. Represented by/represent├ęs par/representados por: Sierra Legal Defence Fund

Submission Timeline

October 10, 2006

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

Submission - Submission authored by Submitter(s) on 06/10/2006

Acknowledgement - Communication to Submitter(s) authored by Secretariat on 10/10/2006

November 28, 2006

Under guideline 3.10, the Secretariat requested the submitter(s) to correct minor errors of form.

November 28, 2006

The Submitters corrected the minor errors of form.

November 28, 2006

The Secretariat began reviewing the submission under Article 14(1)

December 11, 2006

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 11/12/2006

February 8, 2007

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 08/02/2007

Acknowledgement - authored by Secretariat on 12/02/2007

September 10, 2007

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 10/09/2007

December 20, 2010

The Council voted to instruct the Secretariat to develop a Factual Record.

Resolution - Council decision concerning the development of a Factual Record authored by Council on 20/12/2010

January 17, 2011

The submitter requested the Secretariat in writing to withdraw the submission. The withdrawal was received after the Secretariat was instructed by Council to prepare a factual record.

Withdrawal - Other document authored by Submitter(s) on 17/01/2011

Other Documents - Communication to Submitter(s) authored by Secretariat on 18/01/2011

April 15, 2011

The process was terminated.

Resolution - Council decision concerning the development of a Factual Record authored by Council on 15/04/2011