|Threatened and Endangered Species
Species at Risk Act
The federal Species at Risk Act (SARA) was proclaimed in June 2003 to address mounting threats to Canada’s endangered species.
Unfortunately, the Canadian government’s failure in implementing the Species at Risk Act has led to delays in listing critically endangered species, denial of listing for others, no protection of habitat needed for survival and a complete lack of protection for species at risk in some provinces.
SARA is one of three national protection strategies. The other two are voluntary stewardship and provincial / territorial obligations under the National Accord for the Protection of Species at Risk.
SARA is one important way that Canada fulfills its international conservation commitments as laid out in agreements like the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity. The Act provides federal legislation to:
The Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC) is an independent body of experts responsible for assessing and identifying species at risk. COSEWIC makes recommendations to the federal government on which species should be legally listed under SARA, but not all recommended species are added.
SARA requires a recovery plan to be prepared for each species on the legal list. The federal government provides reports on the recovery efforts of each species on a public registry. You can visit the registry and search for a species.
As one of the few environmental groups granted observer status on COSEWIC, as well as being a founding participant of the Species at Risk Advisory Committee, a legally mandated advisory body, Nature Canada has direct access to make strong policy recommendations to decision-makers on species legislation. We use this access to send a clear message: Canada is failing its duty of care toward the nation’s wildlife.