The Province is interested in hearing your thoughts about what makes a successful species at risk policy framework.
WHAT’S THE ISSUE?
The Province of British Columbia recognizes that there are gaps in the protection of species and ecosystems at risk. While there are many opportunities through our current tools and legislation to protect species at risk, equivalent protection is not available for all species (e.g., plants and invertebrates) on all lands (e.g., non BC Crown land or private lands) and is not consistently applied across all sectors.
Canada has developed a national approach to protecting species at risk. In 1996, the federal and provincial governments developed the Accord for the Protection of Species at Risk, committing to enact complementary legislation to protect species at risk. In 2005, BC entered into a bilateral agreement with the federal government on species at risk in order to coordinate government activities. The Province is obligated to consider these agreements in managing species at risk.
In 2002, the federal government passed the Species at Risk Act (SARA). The Province of British Columbia is expected under SARA to ensure that there is effective habitat protection for species at risk within the province. Currently, protection of BC’s species at risk utilizes a suite of provincial legislation and regulatory tools including the Wildlife Act, the Forest and Range Practices Act, the Oil and Gas Activities Act, the Land Act, the Park Act, the Ecological Reserves Act, and the Environmental Assessment Act.
Across Canada, all provinces and territories have developed programs, policies and/or legislation to support their ability to protect species at risk. Some jurisdictions, like BC, use a variety of legislation and policy tools to protect species at risk. Other jurisdictions have stand-alone species at risk legislation, including Ontario, Quebec, Manitoba, Newfoundland and New Brunswick.
To balance ecological diversity, protection and recovery of species at risk and a vibrant natural resource economy, the management of species at risk should be supported by a policy and regulatory framework that:
- promotes positive conservation outcomes for all species and ecosystems at risk regardless of where they are found;
- meets commitments made in agreements signed by British Columbia and expectations under SARA; and
- supports a prosperous natural resource economy and ensures a level playing field across all sectors.
Please provide your answers to the following questions:
- What are your thoughts on how to improve the current provincial policy and legislative framework for protection of species at risk?
- Are you aware of successful initiatives that governments in other jurisdictions have used to support the protection of species at risk?
- Do you have any other thoughts on how we can achieve a balance between protecting species at risk and supporting a vibrant natural resource economy?