British Columbia has an internationally important role in conservation because many of our species and ecosystems are found nowhere else in Canada, and in some cases, nowhere else in the world. However, the number of species that are at-risk continues to grow.
In the last engagement, we heard that the current framework of regulations meant to protect species at risk in B.C. is a “patchwork of regulations” that doesn’t have enough “teeth”. We also heard that there are too many government ministries and agencies involved – which is inefficient and means no one department is responsible for making sure government reaches its goal. Many people felt that B.C. needed dedicated legislation to address these challenges, and pointed out that the majority of other provinces have dedicated species at risk legislation.
The Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Strategy has been given a mandate to enact stand-alone species at risk legislation. This means that a new set of rules would be created to focus government effort and resources on taking actions to protect and recover species at risk, and prevent new species from becoming at risk. These rules could apply across private and public land, across different resource sectors, and across all of British Columbia. Species-at-risk legislation also has the potential to affect the interests of Indigenous communities.
Legislation may mean:
- carrying out activities where there are species at risk might require permission from a government agency that wasn’t required in the past;
- changes to the rules you currently follow for doing things like cutting trees, developing land, managing agriculture, or building and maintaining roads;
- new decision-making processes, or changes to existing decision-making processes for allowing or denying new activities on the landscape; and
- new processes to consider harmonizing the needs of a species at risk with other values.
During these early stages of developing species-at-risk legislation we want to hear from you. Post your comments on the following questions below:
- What concerns do you have about this legislation? What would address the concerns you have?
- What successes do you know about regarding protection of species at risk in B.C.? How can we build on those successes?