The Endangered Species Act, 2007 (ESA) provides for the establishment of the Committee on the Status of Species at Risk in Ontario (COSSARO). COSSARO sits as an independent committee that is responsible for classifying species at risk based on established criteria. In accordance with the ESA, COSSARO may at any time submit a report to the Minister of Natural Resources and Forestry regarding species that have been assessed and classified.
Where a report submitted to the Minister identifies the need to amend the SARO List, the ESA requires that the regulation (Ontario Regulation 230/08) be amended within three months of receiving the report from COSSARO.
On March 15, 2016 the Minister of Natural Resources and Forestry received a report from COSSARO. The Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry will make the corresponding amendments to Ontario Regulation 230/08 on June 15, 2016. These amendments will result in the addition of one new Extirpated species (Eastern Box Turtle), four new Endangered species (Broad-banded Forestsnail, Proud Globelet, Tri-colored Bat, Warmouth), two new Threatened species (Algonquin Wolf, Blue Ash), and two new Special Concern species (Red-necked Phalarope, Yellow-banded Bumble Bee) to the SARO List. One species (Eastern Milksnake) will be removed from the SARO List.
COSSARO also reviewed the status of eight species whose classification did not change (Black Redhorse, Caribou - Boreal population, Grass Pickerel, Lowland Toothcup, Red Mulberry, Small White Lady’s-slipper, Spotted Sucker, Spotted Turtle). COSSARO also adopted the following name changes:
• Eastern Wolf (Canis lupus lycaon) to Algonquin Wolf (Canis sp.)
• Woodland Caribou - Forest-dwelling Boreal population (Rangifer tarandus caribou) to Caribou - Boreal population (Rangifer tarandus)
• Toothcup (Rotala ramosior) to Lowland Toothcup (Rotala ramosior).
In accordance with the provisions of the ESA, species newly listed as or changed to Extirpated, Endangered or Threatened and the habitats of species newly listed as or changed to Endangered or Threatened are automatically protected once the amended regulation is filed. In addition, the ESA requires the preparation of recovery strategies within one or two years depending on whether the species is listed as Endangered or Threatened. A decision regarding the preparation of a habitat regulation is required within two or three years respectively for Endangered or Threatened species. For the species listed as Special Concern, the listing requires the completion of a management plan within five years, unless a federal recovery strategy or management plan is required to be prepared under the Species at Risk Act (Canada).