Species at Risk Act annual report for 2016: chapter 7

7 Permits

Sections 73 to 78 of the Species at Risk Act (SARA) address agreements, permits, licences, orders and other instruments that authorize activities that otherwise would be offences under the act. If all reasonable alternatives have been considered, all feasible measures have been taken to minimize the impact of the activity, and the survival or recovery of the species is not jeopardized, the competent minister may enter into an agreement or issue a permit under section 73 of SARA for the following activities:

  • scientific research related to the conservation of a listed species, conducted by qualified persons
  • activities that benefit a listed species or enhance its chance of survival in the wild; or
  • activities that incidentally affect a listed species
Table 9: Permits, agreements and licenses issued or enabled under SARA in 2016
Competent department SARA permits and agreements
(under s.73 of the act)
SARA-compliant permits and licenses
(enabled under s.74 of the act)
Grand total
Environment and Climate Change Canada 45 122 167
Fisheries and Oceans Canada 108 42 150
Parks Canada Agency 0 18 18
Total 153 182 335

Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC), Parks Canada Agency (PCA) and Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) issued a total of 335 SARA permits and SARA compliant permits in 2016. Of these 335 permits, 226 were for the purposes of research, conservation and monitoring of listed species while the remaining 99 were for activities that incidentally affected listed species. SARA compliant permits are issued under other Acts of Parliament, such as the Fisheries Act, the Canada National Parks Act, the Migratory Bird Convention Act (MBCA) and the National Wildlife Act and can have the same effect as a SARA permit.

ECCC issued 45 SARA permits to allow for activities affecting over 30 species, including reptiles, amphibians, birds, vascular plants, arthropods, molluscs and mammals. Of the 45 permits issued, 10 were for scientific research related to the conservation of a species, 6 were for activities benefiting a species or required to enhance its chance of survival in the wild, 18 were for activities incidentally affecting a species and 11 were for more than one of these three purposes. Of the 45 permits, 2 permits were issued for activities carried out in the area affected by an emergency protection order. ECCC also issued 122 SARA permits affecting threatened and endangered migratory bird species under the MBCA, and the Canada Wildlife Act. Details regarding delivery against service standards are available online.

DFO issued 108 SARA permits. DFO also issued 35 fishing licences for experimental, scientific, and educational purposes under section 52 of the Fishery (General) Regulations and seven authorizations under paragraph 35(2)(b) of the Fisheries Act that have the same effect as a SARA permit in accordance with section 74 of SARA. Of the 150 activities permitted, 57 were for scientific research related to the conservation of a species, 17 were for other activities that benefit the species or enhance its chance of survival in the wild (e.g. monitoring surveys or marine mammal rescue), and 76 were for activities that incidentally affected the listed species (e.g. accidental capture while undertaking research on other non-listed species or fish or mussel relocation during construction activities).

PCA issued 18 SARA-compliant research permits, most of which were issued under the Canada National Parks Act. Of these, 9 permits covering at least 21 listed species were issued to academic and government researchers as well as PCA scientists, for conservation research affecting species at risk (e.g. inventory, population monitoring, habitat use and restoration, and conservation genetics). Four permits were issued for an activity necessary or beneficial to at least 14 species. The remaining five permits were issued for activities that may incidentally affect a listed species. PCA maintains an online research permitting system to enhance services to researchers, and to ensure that the agency is informed of research being conducted in the protected heritage places network. The system incorporates a mandatory peer-review mechanism that ensures that SARA requirements are considered for every research activity.

Explanations for all permits issued under SARA by ECCC, PCA and DFO are posted on the Species at Risk Public Registry.

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: