The Endangered Species Act, 2007 comes into force on June 30, 2008.
As the government moves toward implementation of the Act, a number of regulatory provisions are being proposed to help implement the Act and make the transition between the old Act and the new one. The proposed regulation would enable certain activities to continue, often subject to conditions included in the regulation to protect species at risk and provide certainty to existing commercial and personal activities when the new Act comes into effect.
Many current review and approval processes already consider species at risk. It is the intent to build upon these existing processes in order to enhance protection for species at risk.
The goal of the proposed regulation is to ensure that species at risk are protected under the new act while providing certainty to industry and the public when the Endangered Species Act, 2007 comes into force.
The document linked below is a draft of the proposed regulation that may be referred to for greater detail of the general description provided below. The proposed regulation is organized alphabetically by species or description.
The proposed draft regulatory provisions fall into three categories:
- Exemptions for authorized emergency response, law enforcement and protection of property
This would permit a species at risk or its habitat to be injured, if necessary, during authorized emergency response and law enforcement activities, and enable emergency responders to carry out their duties to protect human health, safety and property, or to enforce the law. There is also an exemption permitting protection of property under strictly limited circumstances.
- Exemptions, with appropriate conditions, to allow the continuation of activities permitted under current legislation, that do not have a harmful effect on species at risk
This includes commercial cultivation of American ginseng and vascular plants, catching Atlantic salmon and aurora trout where permitted in Ontario, and the culturing of Atlantic salmon. It is also proposed that butternut may be harvested in certain circumstances, that currently permitted activities related to northern bobwhite in captivity may continue and that people may continue to pick up or possess naturally cast antlers of Woodland caribou (forest-dwelling population). Similar exemptions would apply to people keeping species at risk under a zoo or falconry licence, and would extend to related activities. Similarly, licensed tanning and taxidermy would be allowed to continue. There are sections that would permit the care and euthanization of species at risk and the possession necessary for those activities. There is also an exemption subject to conditions for people who incidentally catch or trap a species at risk. Lawful possession of a species prior to its listing would be also be permitted.
- Limited exemptions for several major industrial or development sectors that may violate the act if species at risk are affected by their activities
Limited exemptions, subject to conditions and time limits spelled out in the appropriate sections, would be allowed for hydro-electric generating stations, existing pits and quarries and approved infrastructure and development projects, all of which require agreements that meet specified criteria. Forest operations conducted in accordance with a forest management plan are also exempted for one year. The Ontario government is committed to working with the forestry sector to harmonize its existing processes within the new Act. After the proposed timeframe forest operations will be required to comply with the new Act.
Please check the proposed draft regulation for details of the proposals generally described above.