Species at Risk Act annual report for 2016: chapter 1

1 Introduction

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1.1 The purpose of the annual report

This report summarizes activities carried out in 2016 related to the Species at Risk Act (SARA). The report fulfills the Minister of the Environment’s obligation, under section 126 of the act, to prepare an annual report on the administration of the Species at Risk Act (SARA) for each calendar year. The act requires that the report include a summary of:

  1. the assessments of the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada and the Minister’s response to each of them
  2. the preparation and implementation of recovery strategies, action plans and management plans
  3. all agreements made under sections 10 to 13
  4. all agreements entered into and permits issued under section 73, and all agreements and permits amended under section 75 or exempted under section 76
  5. enforcement and compliance actions taken, including the response to any requests for investigation
  6. regulations and emergency orders made under SARA; and
  7. any other matters that the Minister considers relevant

This introductory section provides background information on SARA and outlines the responsibilities of the federal departments and agencies under the act.

1.2 Background on SARA

SARA is an important tool for conserving and protecting Canada’s biological diversity, and helps the Government of Canada meet its international commitments under the Convention on Biological Diversity. It also supports the federal commitments under the 1996 Accord for the Protection of Species at Risk to prevent species in Canada from becoming extinct as a consequence of human activity. The purpose of the Act is to prevent wildlife species from being extirpated or becoming extinct, to provide for the recovery of wildlife species that are extirpated, endangered or threatened as a result of human activity and to manage species of special concern to prevent them from becoming endangered or threatened.

The Act establishes a process for conducting scientific assessments of the status of individual wildlife species and a mechanism for listing extirpated, endangered, threatened and special-concern species. SARA also includes provisions for the protection, recovery and management of listed wildlife species, and their critical habitatsotnote 1 and residences.Footnote 2

The responsibility for conservation of species at risk is shared by all jurisdictions in Canada. The Act recognizes this joint responsibility and that all Canadians have a role to play in the protection of wildlife.

1.3 Responsible authorities for implementation of SARA

The Parks Canada Agency (PCA), Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO), and Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC) commonly referred to as the “competent” departments, share responsibility for the implementation of SARA. The ministers responsible for these organizations are known as the “competent” ministers under SARA. The Minister of the Environment is the minister responsible for both ECCC and PCA. Ministerial responsibilities are as follows:

The Minister of the Environment is the minister responsible for the overall administration of SARA, except insofar as the act gives responsibility to another minister (i.e., the other competent minister). The Minister of the Environment is required to consult with the other competent ministers as necessary on matters related to SARA administration.

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