Species at Risk Act annual report for 2017: chapter 5

5. Permits

The competent minister may enter into an agreement or issue a permit under section 73 of Species at Risk Act (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

Under section 74, the Act states that an agreement, permit, licence, order or other similar document authorizing a person or organization to engage in an activity affecting a species at risk authorized by the competent minister under another Act of Parliament can have the same effect as an agreement or permit under section 73 of SARA if certain conditions are met, such as meeting the purposes and pre-conditions. These permits are considered “SARA-compliant”.

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 1994 (MBCA) and the Canada Wildlife Act and can have the same effect as a SARA permit.

Table 9: Permits, agreements and licences issued or enabled under SARA in 2017
Competent department SARA permits and agreements (under section 73 of the Act) Licences and other documents that act as SARA permits (enabled under section 74 of the Act) Grand Total
Environment and Climate Change Canada 40 141 181
Parks Canada Agency 0 18 18
Fisheries and Oceans Canada 147 113 260
Total 187 272 459

Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC), Parks Canada Agency (PCA) and Department of Fisheries and Ocean (DFO) jointly issued a total of 459 SARA permits and SARA compliant permits in 2017.

ECCC issued 40 SARA permits: to allow for activities affecting over 30 species, including reptiles, amphibians, birds, vascular plants, arthropods, molluscs and mammals.

Of the 40 permits issued:

  • 12 were for scientific research related to the conservation of a species
  • 3 were for activities benefiting a species or required to enhance its chance of survival in the wild
  • 17 were for activities incidentally affecting a species; and
  • 8 were for more than one of these three purposes

Of the 40, 3 permits were issued for activities carried out in the area affected by an emergency protection order.

ECCC also issued 141 SARA permits affecting threatened and endangered migratory bird species under the MBCA, and the Canada Wildlife Act. Details regarding delivery of permit against service standards are available online.

DFO issued 147 SARA permits. DFO also issued 31 fishing licences for experimental, scientific, and educational purposes under section 52 of the Fishery (General) Regulations and five authorizations under paragraph 35(2)(b) of the Fisheries Act that are SARA compliant.

Of the 183 permits, licenses and authorizations issued:

  • 74 were for scientific research related to the conservation of a species
  • 31 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
  • 78 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)

In addition, 77 commercial fishing licences were issued containing provisions permitting incidental bycatch of loggerhead sea turtles.

PCA issued 18 SARA‐compliant research permits, most of which were issued under the Canada National Parks Act. Of the 18 permits issued:

  • 7 permits covering at least eight 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)
  • 3 permits were issued for an activity necessary or beneficial to at least four species; and
  • 8 eight permits were issued for activities that may incidentally affect at least 11 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.

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