Ministerial order to protect the critical habitat of the Woodland Caribou Boreal population

Summary of a strategic assessment of effects on the environment of the Critical Habitat of the Woodland Caribou Boreal Population Order.

The Boreal population of the Woodland Caribou is commonly called "Boreal Caribou".  Boreal Caribou are a medium-sized member of the deer family. Boreal Caribou are distributed across Canada, occurring in 7 provinces and 2 territories and extending from the Yukon to Labrador. Boreal Caribou are found throughout the boreal forest, and require large areas of undisturbed habitat. Habitat alteration from both human-caused and natural sources, and increased predation as a result of habitat alteration have led to Boreal Caribou population declines throughout their distribution.

In 2003, the Boreal Caribou was listed as "Threatened" under the Species at Risk Act (SARA). Under SARA, individuals of the species are protected on federal lands. On October 5, 2012, a final recovery strategy for the Boreal Caribou was posted on the Species at Risk Public Registry. The strategy identified habitat that is necessary for the survival or recovery of the species (also known as critical habitat). Some critical habitat of Boreal Caribou occurs on federal lands in 9 provinces and territories, although the portion of habitat on federal lands is only a small portion of the Boreal Caribou habitat.

The Minister of Environment and Climate Change has made an Order to protect the critical habitat of the Boreal Caribou on federal lands in Canada. The Order does not apply to some types of federal land as defined by SARA. These excluded portions of land are described in the Regulatory Impact Analysis Statement that was published with the Order in the Canada Gazette.

This protection supports the Federal Sustainable Development Strategy (FSDS) goal of Healthy wildlife populations.  It supports the goal’s medium-term target, « By 2020, species that are secure remain secure, and populations of species at risk listed under federal law exhibit trends that are consistent with recovery strategies and management plans ». The Order also supports the Canadian Biodiversity Strategy and the United Nations 2030 Agenda’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), particularly SDG 15 Life on land.

SARA requires measures such as recovery planning and reporting that will help scientists learn if the Boreal Caribou is recovering. The Species at Risk Public Registry will be updated with new or additional information related to the species.

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