|Threatened and Endangered Species
Species at Risk Act
Canada's Species at Risk Act: Implementation at a Snail's Pace
The ultimate measure of the effectiveness of SARA for most species is whether the habitat that the species needs to survive and recover is actually being protected on the ground. Once critical habitat is identified in a recovery strategy or action plan, the Minister must determine whether that habitat is protected. If it isn't, the Minister must order its protection if it is on federal lands or waters, and in any case must report on it and on the steps taken to protect it.
Of the 21 species that have had critical habitat identified to date, in only two cases has SARA been used to protect critical habitat that wasn't already in a federal protected area. And these two, the northern and southern resident killer whales, only received this protection as a result of legal action taken by the environmental community. Further, despite the Minister's obligation to do so, no reports on steps taken to protect critical habitat have been issued.