Late last week, Canadian Environment Minister Peter Kent announced that he wants to begin reforming the Species At Risk Act to make it more efficient. Among the possible changes, Kent believes the legislation can become more efficient if the recovery plans consider whole ecosystems instead of individual species. He has already spoken with wildlife experts and legal advisors about the weaknesses of the existing act and about how it can be improved.
The upcoming changes will not be included in the budget bill expected to be tabled after Parliament resumes next week, which comes as a relief to environmentalists after the last budget bill in the spring included major changes to environmental programs.
Enacted in 2002, the original legislation was meant to develop plans that protect individual species like grizzly bears, whooping cranes, screech owls, many species of whales, and woodland caribou along with other at-risk plants and animals. Environmental groups have argued that over the past decade the government has delayed putting species on the list and has been slow to develop and implement recovery plans to protect threatened habitat and wildlife.
Source: CBC News (September 18, 2012)