Vol. 137, No. 13 -- June 18, 2003

Registration
SI/2003-111 18 June, 2003

SPECIES AT RISK ACT

Order Fixing the Dates of the Coming into Force of Certain Sections of the Act

P.C. 2003-763 29 May, 2003

Her Excellency the Governor General in Council, on the recommendation of the Minister of the Environment, pursuant to section 142 of the Species at Risk Act, assented to on December 12, 2002, being chapter 29 of the Statutes of Canada, 2002, hereby fixes

  • (a) June 5, 2003 as the day on which sections 2 to 31, 37 to 56, 62, 65 to 76, 78 to 84, 120 to 133 and 137 of that Act come into force; and
    (b) June 1, 2004 as the day on which sections 32 to 36, 57 to 61, 63, 64, 77 and 85 to 119 of that Act come into force.

EXPLANATORY NOTE

(This note is not part of the Order.)

The order fixes June 5, 2003 and June 1, 2004 as the days on which all the provisions still not in force of the Species at Risk Act, assented to on December 12, 2002, being chapter 29 of the Statutes of Canada, 2002, come into force.

The Act aims to prevent wildlife species from becoming extirpated or extinct, to provide for the recovery of species at risk as a result of human activity and to prevent species of special concern from becoming endangered or threatened. The Act covers all wildlife species other than bacteria or viruses.

The provisions of the Act that come into force on June 5, 2003 provide for independent assessments of wildlife species by the establishment of the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC), a listing process for species based on the assessment and a Governor in Council decision, a comprehensive process for planning and implementing recovery actions for listed species and the encouragement of stewardship activities through conservation and funding agreements, the making of emergency orders with respect to listed wildlife species and the establishment of a public registry for the purpose of facilitating access to documents relating to matters under the Act.

The definition of "environmental effect" in the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act has also been updated to explicitly include a listed species, its critical habitat or its residence as defined in the Species at Risk Act.

The provisions of the Act that come into force on June 1, 2004 will create prohibitions, amongst other things, against the killing, harming, harassing, possessing, buying or selling an individual of a species listed as an extirpated species, an endangered species or a threatened species. They will create prohibitions against damaging or destroying residences of individuals or the critical habitat of a listed endangered or threatened species or listed extirpated species if a recovery strategy has recommended the reintroduction of the extirpated species into the wild in Canada.

The provisions that come into force on June 1, 2004 will require that the federal departments consider the impact on species' critical habitat before issuing authorizations for certain activities and, finally, they will set out provisions for effective enforcement measures and significant penalties where needed to serve as a deterrent.