Important step to stop wildlife loss
TORONTO, Nov. 28, 2017
Swift Foxes on the wild grasslands southern Saskatchewan
- World Wildlife Fund Canada commends the Government of Canada’s commitment to a targeted timeline for making decisions on listing species under the Species at Risk Act (SARA), following assessment submissions by the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC) to the Minister of Environment and Climate Change. Living Planet Report Canada
found that half of the studied vertebrate wildlife in Canada are in decline, on average by 83 per cent, and noted delays to listing as a key limitation in the effectiveness of the federal SARA process. This move should contribute to the timely protection of at risk wildlife in Canada.
David Miller, president and CEO of WWF-Canada, says:
“Our report revealed that wildlife loss is a Canadian problem, and that Canada’s Species at Risk Act has been hampered from reaching its potential due to: significant delays in listing wildlife under the Act; failure to meet SARA timelines for recovery strategies and in identifying and protecting critical habitat; and deference to socioeconomic considerations in making listing decisions.
“The very first stumbling block, out of the gate, in the federal process for protecting at-risk species, lies in the ability of the government of the day to sidestep ‘starting the clock’ on the legal requirement to make a decision on the COSEWIC recommendation within a year. This loophole meant that COSEWIC recommendations could – and did – languish in perpetuity. Private member’s Bill C-363 sought to close that loophole, by making it clear the clock starts when COSEWIC provides its report to the Minister of Environment and Climate Change. The new timeline announced by the Minister would be two years for land-based and some aquatic species, and three years for ‘more complex aquatic species’ – in other words, those with important socioeconomic value.
“This commitment recognizes the value of the scientific expertise held by the members of COSEWIC, and the role of science in forming government policy. And while we applaud the move, we urge this government to act on the scientific findings of the committee and make listing decisions within the year as proposed in the private member’s bill.
“As COSEWIC meets to determine its final 2017 recommendations, we commend this government on this nonpartisan move and look forward to more action to reverse the decline of wildlife in Canada in the near future.”
About World Wildlife Fund Canada
WWF-Canada creates solutions to the environmental challenges that matter most for Canadians. We work in places that are unique and ecologically important, so that nature, wildlife and people thrive together. Because we are all wildlife. For more information, visit wwf.ca
For further information
Sarah MacWhirter, senior manager strategic communications, firstname.lastname@example.org, +1 416-347-1894