Species at Risk Act annual report for 2011: chapter 2

2 Wildlife Assessment and Listing Under SARA

SARA establishes a process for conducting scientific assessments of the status of individual wildlife species. The Act separates the scientific assessment process from the listing decision, ensuring that scientists provide independent assessments and that decisions affecting Canadians are made by elected officials who are accountable for those decisions.

2.1 COSEWIC Assessments

The Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC) is the committee of experts that identifies and assesses wildlife species at risk in Canada. It includes members from government, academia, Aboriginal organizations, non-governmental organizations and the private sector. The federal government provides financial support to COSEWIC.

COSEWIC assesses the status of a wildlife species using the best available information on the biological status of a species, including scientific knowledge, community knowledge and Aboriginal traditional knowledge (ATK). The committee provides assessments and supporting evidence annually to the Minister of the Environment.

COSEWIC can assess wildlife species as extinct, extirpated, endangered, threatened, of special concern, data deficient or not at risk:

  • An extinct wildlife species no longer exists: it is extirpated worldwide.
  • An extirpated wildlife species no longer exists in the wild in Canada but exists elsewhere in the world.
  • An endangered wildlife species faces imminent extirpation or extinction.
  • A threatened wildlife species is likely to become endangered if nothing is done to reverse the factors leading to its extirpation or extinction.
  • A wildlife species of special concern may become threatened or endangered because of a combination of biological characteristics and identified threats.

Further details on risk categories and more information are available on the COSEWIC website.

To help prioritize species for assessments, COSEWIC uses the general status ranks outlined in the reports entitled Wild Species: The General Status of Species in Canada. These reports are produced every five years by the National General Status Working Group (see section 7.2.4), a joint federal-provincial-territorial initiative led by Environment Canada.

The first report, Wild Species 2000, provided general assessments of 1670 species in Canada. The second report, Wild Species 2005, presented general status assessments for 7732 species from all provinces, territories and ocean regions, representing all of Canada's vertebrate species (fish, amphibians, reptiles, birds and mammals), all of Canada's vascular plants, and four invertebrate groups (freshwater mussels, crayfishes, ordinates and tiger beetles). The third report, Wild Species 2010, included assessments of 11 950 species. Reports from the Wild Species series have greatly increased the number and variety of species assessed nationally, but with the total number of species in Canada estimated at more than 70 000, there are still many species left to be assessed.

Environment Canada, the Parks Canada Agency, and Fisheries and Oceans Canada provide input to the assessment process via their representation on COSEWIC and through the population surveys that they conduct on some species of interest to COSEWIC. In keeping with section 20 of SARA, Environment Canada provides COSEWIC with professional, technical, secretarial, clerical and other assistance that is necessary to carry out its functions via the COSEWIC Secretariat, which is housed within Environment Canada. Environment Canada and Parks Canada scientists are regularly involved in the peer review of COSEWIC status reports.

Prior to COSEWIC meetings, Fisheries and Oceans Canada leads a peer-review process to gather data in order to provide COSEWIC with all available information held by that department on aquatic species, for inclusion in the status reports. This process involves government scientists, experts from academia and other stakeholders, as appropriate. Fisheries and Oceans Canada staff participate in the review of COSEWIC species status reports before COSEWIC species assessments are finalized. In 2011, Fisheries and Oceans Canada conducted pre-COSEWIC scientific meetings on four aquatic species and reviewed species status reports from COSEWIC for 39 aquatic species.

When COSEWIC assesses aquatic species as threatened or endangered, Fisheries and Oceans Canada, as the competent department under SARA, undertakes a number of actions. Many of these actions require scientific information on the current status of the species, population or designatable unit, threats to its survival and recovery, and the feasibility of its recovery. In many cases, this advice is provided through a recovery potential assessment that Fisheries and Oceans Canada prepares shortly after the COSEWIC assessment. This provides a mechanism for Fisheries and Oceans Canada, recovery teams and the public to receive the best scientific advice possible about a species' potential for recovery. These recovery potential assessments are taken into consideration in the SARA processes, including at the recovery planning stage. Fisheries and Oceans Canada completed recovery potential assessments for 24 wildlife species in 2011.

In 2011, the Parks Canada Agency continued to conduct detailed assessments to measure the conservation status of species (its risk of being extirpated from a given heritage place), determine changes in species population levels, and evaluate the effectiveness of management activities for species. This diagnostic tool helps the Agency to identify feasible recovery opportunities and knowledge gaps for species at risk at each heritage place under the Agency's responsibility (i.e., national parks, national marine conservation areas, national historic sites and historic canals).

In 2011, the Agency either completed (reviewed or approved) or drafted a total of 194 detailed assessments for species at risk found within Parks Canada's protected heritage places. Parks Canada has now completed or drafted detailed assessments for all species that occur on Parks Canada lands and in its waters. In total, 166 species at risk live, breed and feed throughout the network of Park's heritage places. The Agency's long-term goal is to complete detailed assessments for all newly listed species occurring in Parks Canada land and waters and to update information on the conservation status for all species at risk found within its network of heritage places as it becomes available. The information in detailed assessments contributes to the Wild Species reports and to COSEWIC status reports.

Pioneering Piping Plovers at Gros Morne National Park

Historically, the northernmost Atlantic Piping Plovers (Charadrius melodus melodus) were found at Shallow Bay in Gros Morne National Park of Canada. The park was established in 1973, but Piping Plovers were already in decline at that time and were last seen in the park in 1975, even though several high-quality Piping Plover beaches were under the protection of Parks Canada.

Parks staff kept an eye on this site and in June 2009, something hopeful happened in Gros Morne. After an absence of 34 years, a Piping Plover was seen at Shallow Bay! Over the following days, a pair was seen courting and, within two weeks, a seasonal closure was placed on the section of beach where they had settled. Park staff used this opportunity to engage the local community and the media to increase public understanding of the plight of plovers throughout Newfoundland. The birds did their part too. A nest was established and four chicks fledged that summer. More importantly, the plovers returned to nest at Shallow Bay in 2010 and 2011.

That single pair of plovers at Shallow Bay is vitally important to the species' recovery since their continued presence dramatically increases the chances that other plovers will decide to breed there in the future. For other plovers searching for a breeding site, the presence and breeding success of these Piping Plovers is certainly an indicator of a good quality beach. Indeed, on one July day in 2010, a third adult plover was seen feeding with them. It is very likely that this individual had lost a nest and was prospecting for a new breeding site. Thus there is real hope that this single pair of Piping Plovers will precipitate the reclamation of an important portion of the species' historical range and reminds us of the importance of keeping habitats and ecosystems healthy and whole.


Piping Plover chicks hatching in Gros Morne. © Parks Canada Agency

Piping Plover chicks hatching in Gros Morne. © Parks Canada Agency

2.1.1 COSEWIC Subcommittee on Aboriginal Traditional Knowledge

SARA requires that COSEWIC assess the conservation status of wildlife species on the basis of the best available information, including scientific knowledge, community knowledge and Aboriginal traditional knowledge (ATK). The Act also requires that COSEWIC establish a supporting subcommittee on ATK.

Activities of the ATK Subcommittee (ATK SC) for 2011 included the following:

  • Three ATK SC meetings were held in Vancouver, British Columbia, in January; in Wendake (Québec), Quebec, in June; and in Toronto, Ontario, in September. Also, a meeting was held with the National Aboriginal Council on Species at Risk (NACOSAR) in September 2011. This meeting provided an opportunity for recently appointed NACOSAR members to become familiar with ATK SC members, the COSEWIC assessment process, how ATK is to be integrated into the COSEWIC assessment process, and the issues associated with ATK gathering and integration by COSEWIC.
  • The ATK SC began to develop a list of wildlife species for which ATK information would be gathered. From the list of wildlife species created, wildlife species were prioritized using a decision matrix tool. Some examples of prioritized species include the Grizzly Bear, Caribou, Plains Bison and Wood Bison, Beluga Whale, Atlantic Walrus, Sockeye Salmon (Fraser River population) and Cassin's Auklet.
  • The ATK SC further refined the decision matrix tool as well as the content and format of two standard reports: an ATK source report and an ATK assessment report.
  • The ATK SC initiated ATK source reports for a number of species including the Grizzly Bear, Caribou, Haida Gwaii Slug, Steller Sea Lion, Plains and Wood Bison, Cassin's Auklet, Limestone Moss, Wolverine, Mormon Metalmark, Green Sturgeon, White Sturgeon, Sockeye Salmon (Fraser River population), Eastern Box Turtle, Spotted Turtle, Beluga Whale, Atlantic Walrus, Butternut, Shortjaw Cisco, Blue Ash, and Athabasca Rainbow Trout (Alberta Designatable Units). The ATK SC also initiated ATK assessment reports for the Grizzly Bear, Caribou (all designatable units), and Sockeye Salmon (Fraser River population) and shared these reports upon finalization with relevant COSEWIC species specialist subcommittees (SSCs).

2.1.2 Wildlife Species Assessments in 2011

COSEWIC finalized the following wildlife species assessments, grouped in batches, between 2002 and 2011:

  • Batch 1: 115 wildlife species in May 2002, November 2002 and May 2003
  • Batch 2: 59 wildlife species in November 2003 and May 2004
  • Batch 3: 73 wildlife species in November 2004 and May 2005
  • Batch 4: 68 wildlife species in April 2006
  • Batch 5: 64 wildlife species in November 2006 and April 2007
  • Batch 6: 46 wildlife species in November 2007 and April 2008
  • Batch 7: 48 wildlife species in November 2008 and April 2009
  • Batch 8: 79 wildlife species in November 2009 and April 2010
  • Batch 9: 92 wildlife species in November 2010 and May 2011

Details on batches 1 through 9 can be found in Table 3 (see section 2.2.4), and in previous SARA annual reports.

Batch 9

At the November 2010 and May 2011 meetings, COSEWIC finalized assessments and classification reviews of 92 wildlife species (Batch 9):

  • Four wildlife species were examined and found to be data-deficient.
  • Six wildlife species were assessed as not at risk.
  • One wildlife species was assessed as extinct.
  • Eighty-one wildlife species were assessed as at risk, of which 30 were confirmed at the classification already attributed to them on Schedule 1.3

COSEWIC forwarded these assessments to the Minister of the Environment in late summer 2011.

2.2 Listing

2.2.1 Listing Process

Upon formally receiving COSEWIC's assessments, the Minister of the Environment has 90 days to post a response statement on the Species at Risk (SAR) Public Registry indicating how the Minister intends to respond to each assessment and, to the extent possible, providing timelines for action.

During this 90-day period, the competent minister carries out an internal review to determine the level of public consultation and socio-economic analysis necessary to inform the listing decision. Timelines for action and the scope of consultations included in the response statement are based on the results of this initial review.

The next step in the listing process is for the Minister of the Environment to provide the COSEWIC assessments to the Governor in Council, and for the Governor in Council to officially acknowledge receipt of the assessments by publishing, in the Canada Gazette, an order acknowledging receipt.

Following receipt by Governor in Council of the assessments, the Minister must prepare a recommendation to the Governor in Council regarding each of the species proposed for listing, de-listing, reclassification, or referral back to COSEWIC for further information or consideration. When making a recommendation to the Governor in Council, the Minister of the Environment cannot vary the status of a species as assessed by COSEWIC. As required by the Cabinet Directive on Streamlining Regulation, the competent minister will conduct public consultations and socio-economic analyses and consider the results prior to making a recommendation. Under section 27 of SARA, the Governor in Council can decide to add a species to Schedule 1, to change the status designation of a species already listed on Schedule 1 in accordance with the status assessment by COSEWIC, to not add a species to Schedule 1 of SARA or to remove a species from Schedule 1 of SARA. The Governor in Council also has the authority to refer the assessment back to COSEWIC.

Species that were designated as being at risk by COSEWIC prior to October 1999 were listed under schedules 2 and 3 when the Act came into force. COSEWIC is reassessing these species using revised criteria, following which the Governor in Council may, on the recommendation of the Minister, add the species to Schedule 1. All Schedule 2 species have been reassessed by COSEWIC. At the end of 2011, 11 Schedule 3 species remained to be assessed.

The chart shown in Figure 1 further describes the species listing process. Table 3 (see section 2.2.4) provides the status of the listing process for each batch of assessed species.

Figure 1: The species listing process under SARA


The Minister of the Environment receives species assessments from COSEWIC at least once per year.


The competent departments undertake an internal review to determine the extent of public consultation and socio-economic analysis necessary to inform the listing decision.


Within 90 days of receipt of the species assessments prepared by COSEWIC , the Minister of the Environment publishes a response statement on the SARA Public Registry that indicates how he or she intends to respond to the assessment and, to the extent possible, provides timelines for action.


Where appropriate, the competent departments undertake consultations and any other relevant analysis needed to prepare the advice to the Minister of the Environment.


The Minister of the Environment forwards the assessment to the Governor in Council for receipt.


Within nine months of receiving the assessment, the Governor in Council, on the recommendation of the Minister of the Environment, may decide whether or not to list the species under Schedule 1 of SARA or refer the assessment to COSEWIC for further information or consideration.


Once a species is added to Schedule 1, it benefits from the applicable provisions of SARA .

2.2.2 Federal Government Response to COSEWIC Assessments

In September 2011, the Minister of the Environment received from COSEWIC the assessments for 81 wildlife species at risk from Batch 9, including 32 aquatic species. In December 2011, the Minister posted response statements for these 81 species. The Minister also posted a response statement for the Atlantic Salmon Lake Ontario population, a species that had been assessed as extinct by COSEWIC in November 2010. The response statements (full list included in Table 1) indicated the following:

  • For 27 wildlife species, normal consultations (i.e., consistent with the consultation path that is typical for most species; see Figure 1) would be undertaken. These included 21 terrestrial species and six aquatic species. Thirteen of these 27 species were already listed on Schedule 1 -- three as endangered, six as threatened and four as being of special concern. The three endangered species are now eligible to have their risk status lowered (“downlisted”): two to threatened and the other to special concern. Of the six threatened species, four are now eligible to be downlisted to special concern, and the other two are eligible to have their risk status raised (“uplisted”) to endangered. Of the four special concern species, one is eligible to be uplisted to extirpated, one is eligible to be uplisted to endangered and two are eligible to be uplisted to threatened.
  • For 22 aquatic wildlife species and three terrestrial species, extended consultations would be undertaken, because listing these species could potentially have marked impacts on the activities of Aboriginal peoples, commercial and recreational fishers, or Canadians at large.
  • COSEWIC requested the Minister provide a recommendation that one species, the Eulachon (Nass/Skeena rivers population), be referred back to COSEWIC for reassessment, because new information relevant to the assessment became apparent that was not available at the time of the species assessment in May, 2011.
  • The Minister also posted 31 response statements for species already listed and for which COSEWIC had confirmed the risk classification already attributed to them on Schedule 1. For these 31 species, no further measures were required.
Table 1: List of species for which a response statement was posted during the 2011 reporting year
COSEWIC Risk Status Taxon English legal name Scientific name
Normal consultation
Endangered Arthropod Hine's Emerald Somatochlora hineana
Endangered Arthropod Hungerford's Crawling Water Beetle Brychius hungerfordi
Endangered Arthropod Macropis Cuckoo Bee Epeoloides pilosulus
Endangered Arthropod Olive Clubtail Stylurus olivaceus
Endangered Arthropod Skillet Clubtail Gomphus ventricosus
Endangered Lichen Batwing Vinyl Lichen Leptogium platynum
Endangered Moss Roell's Brotherella Moss Brotherella roelli
Threatened Lichen Crumpled Tarpaper Lichen Collema coniophilum
Special Concern Fish Dolly Varden (Western Arctic populations) Salvelinus malma malma
Special Concern Fish Mountain Sucker (Pacific populations) Catostomus platyrhynchus
Special Concern Fish Silver Lamprey (Great Lakes – Upper St. Lawrence populations) Ichthyomyzon unicuspis
Special Concern Arthropod Dune Tachinid Fly Germaria angustata
Special Concern Lichen Blue Felt Lichen Degelia plumbea
Special Concern Lichen Peacock Vinyl Lichen Leptogium polycarpum
Uplist from Special Concern to Extirpated Amphibian Spring Salamander (Carolinian population) Gyrinophilus porphyriticus
Uplist from Special Concern to Endangered Mollusc Rocky Mountain Ridged Mussel Gonidea angulata
Uplist from Special Concern to Threatened Bird Barn Owl (Western population) Tyto alba
Uplist from Special Concern to Threatened Amphibian Spring Salamander (Adirondack / Appalachian population) Gyrinophilus porphyriticus
Uplist from Threatened to Endangered Reptile Butler's Gartersnake Thamnophis butleri
Uplist from Threatened to Endangered Amphibian Jefferson Salamander Ambystoma jeffersonianum
Downlist from Endangered to Special Concern Vascular plant Pitcher's Thistle Cirsium pitcher
Downlist from Threatened to Special Concern Vascular plant Dwarf Lake Iris Iris lacustris
Downlist from Threatened to Special Concern Vascular plant Lyall's Mariposa Lily Calochortus lyallii
Downlist from Endangered to Threatened Vascular plant Purple Twayblade Liparis liliifolia
Downlist from Endangered to Threatened Vascular plant Showy Goldenrod (Boreal population) Solidago speciosa
Downlist from Threatened to Special Concern Mammal Humpback Whale (North Pacific population) Megaptera novaeangliae
Downlist from Threatened to Special Concern Fish Shorthead Sculpin Cottus confusus
Extended consultation
Endangered Fish Atlantic Bluefin Tuna Thunnus thynnus
Endangered Fish Atlantic Salmon (Anticosti Island population) Salmo salar
Endangered Fish Atlantic Salmon (Eastern Cape Breton population) Salmo salar
Endangered Fish Atlantic Salmon (Nova Scotia Southern Upland Population) Salmo salar
Endangered Fish Atlantic Salmon (Outer Bay of Fundy population) Salmo salar
Endangered Fish Eulachon (Central Pacific Coast population) Thaleichthys pacificus
Endangered Fish Eulachon (Fraser River population) Thaleichthys pacificus
Endangered Molluscs Hickorynut Obovaria olivaria
Threatened Mammal Northern Fur Seal Callorhinus ursinus
Threatened Bird Barn Swallow Hirundo rustica
Threatened Bird Eastern Meadowlark Sturna magna
Threatened Fish Atlantic Salmon (South Newfoundland population) Salmo salar
Threatened Fish Atlantic Sturgeon (Maritimes populations) Acipenser oxyrinchus
Threatened Fish Atlantic Sturgeon (St. Lawrence populations Acipenser oxyrinchus
Threatened Fish Mountain Sucker (Milk River populations) Catostomus platyrhynchus
Special Concern Mammal Northern Bottlenose Whale (Davis Strait-Baffin Bay-Labrador Sea populations) Hyperoodon ampullatus
Special Concern Fish Atlantic Salmon (Gaspé-Southern Gulf of St. Lawrence population) Salmo salar
Special Concern Fish Atlantic Salmon (Inner St. Lawrence population) Salmo salar
Special Concern Fish Atlantic Salmon (Quebec Western North Shore population) Salmo salar
Uplist from Special Concern to Endangered Bird Cerulean Warbler Dendroica cerulea
Uplist from Special Concern to Threatened Fish Silver Shiner Notropis photogenis
Status confirmed -- no consultations
Extirpated Bird Greater Prairie-Chicken Tympanuchus cupido
Extirpated Reptile Timber Rattlesnake Crotalus horridus
Endangered Mammal Northern Bottlenose Whale (Scotian Shelf population) Hyperoodon ampullatus
Endangered Bird Barn Owl (Eastern population) Tyto alba
Endangered Bird Henslow's Sparrow Ammodramus henslowii
Endangered Bird King Blue Rallus elegans
Endangered Bird Sage Thrasher Oreoscoptes montanus
Endangered Bird White-headed Woodpecker Picoides albolarvatus
Endangered Reptile Desert Nightsnake Hypsiglena chlorophaea
Endangered Amphibian Oregon Spotted Frog Rana pretiosa
Endangered Amphibian Blanchard's Cricket Frog Acris blanchardi
Endangered Fish Atlantic Salmon (Inner Bay of Fundy population) Salmo salar
Endangered Fish Atlantic Whitefish Coregonus huntsman
Endangered Arthropod Taylor's Checkerspot Euphydryas editha
Endangered Mollusc Salamander Mussel Simpsonaias ambigua
Endangered Vascular Plant White Prairie Gentian Gentiana alba
Endangered Vascular Plant Southern Maidenhair Fern Adiantum capillus-veneris
Endangered Vascular Plant Small Whorled Pogonia Isotria medeoloides
Endangered Vascular Plant Skinner's Agalinis Agalinis skinneriana
Endangered Vascular plant Showy Goldenrod (Great Lakes Plains population) Solidago speciosa
Endangered Vascular plant Seaside Bird's-foot Lotus Lotus formosissimus
Endangered Vascular plant Nodding Pogonia Triphora trianthophoros
Endangered Vascular plant Long's Braya Braya longii
Endangered Vascular plant Furbish's Lousewort Pedicularis furbishiae
Endangered Moss Poor Pocket Moss Fissidens pauperculus
Threatened Mammal Pallid Bat Antrozous pallidus
Special Concern Mammal Eastern Mole Scalopus aquaticus
Special Concern Mammal Woodland Vole Microtus pinetorumpellucid
Special Concern Bird Barrow's Goldeneye (Eastern population) Bucephala islandica
Special Concern Bird Long-billed Curlew Numenius Americana
Special Concern Fish Columbia Sculpin Cottus hubbsi
Special Concern Mollusc Olympia Oyster Ostrea lurida
No consultation*
Extinct Fish Atlantic Salmon (Lake Ontario population) Salmo salar
Threatened Fish Eulachon (Nass / Skeena rivers population) Thaleichthys pacificus

* No consultation was undertaken for Atlantic Salmon (Lake Ontario population) because, as an extinct species, it is not eligible for listing under SARA. For the Eulachon (Nass/Skeena rivers population), COSEWIC requested it be referred back for reassessment due to new information not available at the time of its May 2011 assessment.

2.2.3 Public Consultations

In December 2011, the Minister of the Environment launched consultations on whether to modify the status of, or add to Schedule 1 of SARA, 24 terrestrial species. Thirteen of these species are newly eligible for addition to Schedule 1, six are being considered for uplisting to higher risk status, and five are being considered for downlisting to a lower risk status. The Government contacted 1798 targeted stakeholders, including provincial and territorial governments, wildlife management boards, Aboriginal communities, and other stakeholders and affected parties. To facilitate consultations, the document Consultation on Amending the List of Species under the Species at Risk Act: Terrestrial Species – December 2011 was made publicly available on the Species at Risk Public Registry.

In 2011, Fisheries and Oceans Canada undertook listing consultations on more than 20 aquatic species (from Batches 4, 5, 7, 8 and 9 of the COSEWIC assessments). Public consultations were facilitated through emails to stakeholders and interested parties, and by posting other supporting documents on the Species at Risk Public Registry and the Fisheries and Oceans Canada website. Consultation documents and summaries of the socio-economic analyses were mailed directly to other government departments, Wildlife Management Boards, stakeholders, Aboriginal peoples and non-governmental organizations. As well, meetings were held with interested or potentially affected individuals and organizations.

2.2.4 Listing Decisions

When making a listing decision, the Government of Canada relies on the scientific assessments provided by COSEWIC, any other relevant scientific information, an assessment of the costs and benefits (including social, cultural and economic) to Canadians, and comments received through consultations with other federal departments or agencies, other levels of government, Aboriginal peoples, wildlife management boards, stakeholders and the public. Governor in Council decisions to add a species to Schedule 1 are published as orders amending Schedule 1 of SARA in the Canada Gazette, and include Regulatory Impact Analysis Statements. Decisions not to add a species at risk to Schedule 1 of SARA or to refer the matter back to COSEWIC are published in the Canada Gazette with an explanatory note. The orders are also published on the Species at Risk Public Registry.

In 2011, 23 species (three species from Batch 2, one from Batch 3, one from Batch 4, one from Batch 5, one from Batch 6, and 16 from Batch 7), including six aquatic species, were added to Schedule 1 of SARA. Three species (from Batch 7) had their status on Schedule 1 uplisted to a higher risk status and one was downlisted to a lower risk status. The Governor in Council made three decisions to not list in 2011 (two species from Batch 1 and one species from Batch 6).

Table 2: SARA listing decision made by the Governor in Council in 2011
Risk status Taxon English legal name Scientific name
Moved to a higher level of risk (uplisted)
Endangered Fish Lake Chubsucker Erimyzon sucetta
Endangered Mollusc Northern Abalone Haliotis kamtschatkana
Threatened Mammal Killer Whale (Northeast Pacific offshore population) Orcinus orca
Move to a lower level of risk (downlisted)
Special Concern Vascular Plant White-top Aster Sericocarpus rigidus
Added to List of Wildlife Species at Risk (listed)
Extirpated Fish Striped Bass (St. Lawrence Estuary population) Morone saxatilis
Extirpated Vascular plant Oregon Lupine Lupinus oreganus
Endangered Mammal Peary Caribou Rangifer tarandus pearyi
Endangered Bird Horned Grebe (Magdalen Islands population) Podiceps auritus
Endangered Fish White Shark (Atlantic population) Carcharodon carcharias
Endangered Arthropod Cobblestone Tiger Beetle Cicindela marginipennis
Endangered Arthropod Edwards' Beach Moth Anarta edwardsii
Endangered Vascular plant Bent Spike-rush (Great Lakes Plains population) Eleocharis geniculata
Endangered Vascular plant Bent Spike-rush (Southern Mountain population) Eleocharis geniculata
Threatened Bird Whip-poor-will Caprimulgus vociferous
Threatened Vascular plant California Buttercup Ranunculus californicus
Threatened Vascular plant Gray's Desert Parsley Lomatium grayi
Threatened Vascular plant Slender Popcornflower Plagiobothrys tenellus
Threatened Moss Porsild's Bryum Mielichhoferia macrocarpa
Special Concern Mammal Barren-ground Caribou (Dolphin and Union population) Rangifer tarandus groenlandicus
Special Concern Mammal Polar Bear Ursus maritimus
Special Concern Mammal Sowerby's Beaked Whale Mesoplodon bidens
Special Concern Bird Band-tailed Pigeon Patagioenas fasciata
Special Concern Reptile Snapping Turtle Chelydra serpentine
Special Concern Fish Bigmouth Buffalo (Saskatchewan – Nelson River populations) Ictiobus cyprinellus
Special Concern Fish Yelloweye Rockfish (Pacific Ocean inside waters population) Sebastes ruberrimus
Special Concern Fish Yelloweye Rockfish (Pacific Ocean outside waters population) Sebastes ruberrimus
Special Concern Arthropod Pygmy Snaketail Ophiogomphus howei
Decisions to not list
Endangered Mollusc Lake Winnipeg Physa Snail Physa sp.
Threatened Fish Bocaccio Sebastes paucispinis
Threatened Fish Canary Rockfish Sebastes pinniger

In 2011, the Governor in Council received one species assessment in February and 28 in October. The Governor in Council then has nine months to decide whether to list the species under Schedule 1 of SARA or refer the assessment to COSEWIC for further information or consideration. These assessments included:

  • 24 species from Batch 8 that underwent normal consultations; and
  • two species from Batch 6 and three from Batch 5 that underwent extended consultations.
Table 3: Summary status of the listing process for species in batches 1 to 98 at year-end 2011
COSEWIC assessments Minister
Receipt
Consultation
process
Governor in Council  Listing decision
Batch Date assessed No. of species
assessed
No. assessed as
'Species at Risk'
Receipt Proposed listing decision (CGI)* Final listing decision (CGII)* Listed Up-listed Down-listed Not listed Re-ferred back
Sche-
dule 1
procla-mation
-
-
233
-
-
-
233
 
 
 
 
Batch 1 May 2002,
Nov 2002,
May 2003
115
95
91 new
assess-
ments
Jan
2004
79 normal Apr
2004
Oct
2004
Jan
2005
73
 
 
5
1
July
2005
 
 
 
 
1
12 extended July
2005
Dec
2005
Apr
2006
2
 
 
4
6
4 confirm-
ations††
-
-
-
-
Batch 2 Nov 2003,
May 2004
59
51 new
assess-
ments
July
2004
44 normal Oct
2004
May
2005
July
2005
39
 
 
4
1
3 of the 4
species that
were not
listed in
July 2005)‡‡
June
2010
July
2010
Feb 2011
 3
 
 
 
 
7 extended Nov
2005
June
2006
Aug
2006
4§
 
 
8§
 
Batch 3 Nov 2004,
May 2005
73
59
55 new
assessments
Aug
2005
39 normal Nov
2005
June
2006
Aug
2006
38
 
 
 
1
16 ex-tended 6 received
by GiC+
Apr
2007
July
2007
Dec
2007
4
 
 
2
 
1 received
by GiC+
June
2008
Jan
2009
Mar
2009
1
 
 
 
 
3 received
by GiC+
June
2009
Dec
2009
Feb
2010
 
 
 
 
1 received
by GiC+
Sept 2010 Dec
2010
June
2011
1        
5 remained under
extended consultation
[2012] [2012] [2012]
 
 
 
 
 
4 confirm-ations††
-
-
-
-
Batch 4 Apr 2006
68
54
50 new
assessments
Aug
2006
35 normal ** Apr
2007
July
2007
Dec
2007
32
1
 
 
1
15 ex-tended 5 received
by GiC
+
June
2008
Jan
2009
Mar
2009
3
1
 
 
1
1 received
by GiC
+
June
2009
Dec
2009
Feb 2010
 
 
 
 1
 
1 received
by GiC
+
Sept
2010
Dec
2010
June
2011
1        
8 remained under
extended consultation
[2012] [2012] [2012]
 
 
 
 
 
4 confirm-ations††
-
-
-
-
other
listing
processes
1
emergency
assessment
Apr
2006
-
-
May
2007
 
 
 
1
 
5
assessment
re-
submissions

***
Dec
2006
1 normal June
2008
Jan
2009
Mar
2009
1
 
 
 
 
4 normal [2012] [2012] [2012]
 
 
 
 
 
Batch 5 Nov 2006,
Apr 2007
64
53
45 new
assessments
Aug
2007
23 normal June
2008
Jan
2009
Mar
2009
17
2
4
 
 
22 ex-tended 6 received
by GiC
+
June
2009
Dec
2009
Feb
2010
6
       
3 received
by GiC
+
Oct
2011
[2012] [2012]          
13 remained under
extended consultation
[2012] [2012] [2012]          
8 confirm-ations††
-
-
-
-
Batch 6 Nov 2007,
Apr 2008
46
39
25 new
assessments
Aug
2008
20 nor-mal 19 normal June
2009
Dec
2009
Feb
2010
16
3
     
1 received
by GiC
+
June
2009
[2012] [2012]          
5 extended 1 received
by GiC
+
Feb
2011
July
2011
Oct
2011
1        
1 received
by GiC
+
Sept
2010
Oct
2010
June
2011
      1  
1 received
by GiC
+
Oct 27
2011
[2012] [2012]          
2 remained under extended consultation [2012] [2012] [2012]          
14 confirm-
ations††
-
-
-
-
Batch 7 Nov 2008, Apr 2009
48
46
29 new assess-
ments
Aug
2009
20 normal 14 normal June
2010
July
2010
Feb
2011
13   1    
6 normal May
2010
Dec
2010
June
2011
3 3      
9 extended [2012] [2012] [2012]          
17 confirm-ations
-
-
-
-
Batch 8 Nov 2009,
Apr 2010
81 78 44 new assess-
ments
Sept
2010
27 normal 24 normal Oct
2011
[2012] [2012]          
3 normal [2012] [2012] [2012]          
17 extended [2012] [2012] [2012]          
34 confirm-
ation‡‡
-
-
-
-
-
Batch 9 Nov 2010,
Apr 2011
92 81 50 new assessments§§ Sept 2011 27 normal [2012] [2012] [2012]          
22 extended [2012] [2012] [2012]          
31 confirm-ations‡‡
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-

* Canada Gazette Part I/II

Change of the status of a species listed on Schedule 1 to a higher or lower category of risk.

Includes the Polar Bear (referred back to COSEWIC in July 2005 after a decision not to list was made in January 2005).

†† Species on Schedule 1 for which COSEWIC has received/reassessed the status and for which no regulatory change is indicated.

§ COSEWIC assessed White Sturgeon as a single species but, for the recommendation to Governor in Council, Fisheries and Oceans Canada subdivided this population into six populations: Of the six populations, four were listed and two were not.

** One species for which the Response statement indicated a Normal consultation path (Harbour Porpoise, Northwest Atlantic population) has not yet been received by Governor in Council.

*** The Governor in Council had referred species back to COSEWIC for reassessment. In late 2006, COSEWIC found that no reassessment was required for five of these species and so re-submitted the original assessments to the Minister.

‡‡ Further consultations as per land claims agreement requirements.

§§ 2011 assessment.

2.2.5 SARA Schedule 1 Current Status

When SARA was proclaimed in June 2003, the official List of Wildlife Species at Risk (Schedule 1 of SARA) included 233 species. In 2005, 112 species were added to the original list. In 2006 and 2007, 44 and 36 more species were added, respectively. No species were added to or removed from Schedule 1 in 2008. Twenty-two species were added in 2009, 22 species were added in 2010 and 23 were added in 2011. As of December 31, 2011, Schedule 1 listed 23 extirpated species, 218 endangered species, 131 threatened species, and 121 species of special concern for a total of 493 species.

Tables 4 and Table 55 show the number of species added to Schedule 1 each year, by risk status and government agency, respectively.

Table 4: Numbers of species added to Schedule 1 each year by risk status, as of December 2011
Year
Risk status Total
Extirpated Endangered Threatened Special concern
June 2003 (proclamation) 17 107 67 42 233
2005 4 47 30 31 112
2006 0 18 14 12 44
2007 0 20 5 11 36
2008 0 0 0 0 0
2009 0 8 3 11 22
2010 0 11* 8 4 23*
2011 2 7 4 10 23
Total* 23 218 131 121 493

* The Eastern Foxsnake was split into two populations. The new populations inherited the species' status on Schedule 1 of SARA before it was split, and both new populations were uplisted in 2010. For the purpose of this table, one of the new Eastern Foxsnake populations was treated as an addition to Schedule 1.

Although the total number of listed species (493) is correct, the total listed as endangered and threatened may be slightly off, because the values presented in this table do not reflect status changes (i.e., uplisting or downlisting of a species).

Table 5: Number of species listed on Schedule 1 by department/agency responsible for recovery planning, as of December 2011
  Environment Canada Fisheries and Oceans Canada Parks Canada Agency Total
Terrestrial mammals 27 4 31
Aquatic mammals 22 22
Birds 65 3 68
Reptiles 34 1 5 40
Amphibians 20 1 21
Fishes 66 66
Molluscs 4 14 2 20
Arthropods 28 4 32
Plants 119  52 171
Lichens 6 1 7
Mosses 11 4 15
Total 314 103 76 493

3 Every 10 years, or earlier if warranted, COSEWIC carries out a classification review of wildlife species previously designated in a category of risk, with an updated status report. As necessary, COSEWIC may also reassess other wildlife species previously found not at risk or data-deficient with an updated status report.

Report a problem or mistake on this page
Please select all that apply:

Thank you for your help!

You will not receive a reply. For enquiries, contact us.

Date modified: