British Columbia’s past strategy to protect caribou and other species has been to regulate land-use activities to reduce negative impacts. Canada’s Caribou Recovery Strategy under the Species at Risk Act expects that critical caribou habitat in B.C. be “effectively protected.” In general, this means all human activities must be controlled so that there is a high degree of certainty that caribou and caribou habitat will not be disturbed.
The Province has nearly 20 pieces of legislation that could affect land use, but these have a limited degree of effectiveness because they were not created with caribou protection in mind.
Another challenge is that important areas of caribou habitat in B.C. have few or no regulations in place to mitigate the impacts from industrial activity.
Complete protection of caribou habitat would require new habitat protection rules under existing legislation, or a new legal conservation designation that would govern the full range of land-based activities in any given habitat. The endangered species legislation under development will help to address many of the needs of caribou.