Environmental Regulatory Compliance for
Highway Development and Operations


Species at Risk — Provincial

Potential Approval, Permit or Code of Practice Requirements:

  • The Canada-BC Agreement on Species at Risk 2005 creates an administrative framework within which BC and Canada can exercise their respective powers for species at risk protection and recovery in BC. If the species is provincially managed (not on federal lands, not an aquatic species and not a migratory bird), EC, DFO and Parks Canada will provide knowledge to the Ministry of Environment. The Ministry of Environment is responsible for leading recovery processes for provincially managed species at risk.

Explanation:

Provincial red- and blue-listed species and federal SARA-listed species warrant special consideration in environmental assessments and mitigation design. BC does not have endangered species legislation. Species-at-risk provisions for the Wildlife Act were contemplated in 2004 but not adopted. Section 6 of the Wildlife Act empowers the provincial cabinet to designate a species as “endangered” if, as a result of the action of humans, it is threatened with imminent extinction throughout a significant portion of its range or to designate a species as “threatened” if it is likely to become endangered. Four species are legally designated as endangered or threatened in BC: Vancouver Island marmot, American white pelican, sea otter, and burrowing owl. SARA (Section 34) provides that failure by the provinces to adequately protect the listed species on land not under federal jurisdiction could lead to an order by the Governor in Council requiring them to do so. The Accord for the Protection of Species at Risk confirms the commitment of the Federal, provincial and territorial ministers responsible for wildlife to a national approach for the protection of species at risk. BC and the federal government have an agreement regarding their roles in the management of species at risk.

In British Columbia, specialists with the Conservation Data Centre, in consultation with other experts, assign species conservation status ranks. The Red and Blue lists provide a list of species for consideration for more formal designation as Endangered or Threatened, either provincially under the British Columbia Wildlife Act, or nationally by the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC). At the national level COSEWIC’s status assessments are the basis of advice to the federal cabinet on species that will be considered for legal listing under the Species at Risk Act. Draft or final recovery strategies for some at-risk provincially managed species have been developed and are available for adoption by the federal government for posting on the SARA public registry.

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