[Sust-mar] [scc-one-club] Press Release:

Paul Falvo pfalvo at chebucto.ns.ca
Sun Aug 20 01:50:25 EDT 2006

Go to: http://www.sierraclub.ca/national/media/item.shtml?x=995

**Sierra Club of ****Canada**** News Release**

Thursday, August 17, 2006

*Evaluation reveals federal mismanagement of species at risk*

Ottawa: An independent evaluation released yesterday reveals rampant 
federal mismanagement in implementing the Species at Risk Act (SARA). 
The evaluation by private consulting firm Stratos Inc., points out 
serious deficiencies in all of the key areas evaluated.

The evaluation was released by Environment Canada’s Audit and Evaluation 
Branch in response to a request from the federal Treasury Board. It 
concludes that ‘the species at risk programs and activities are not yet 
on track to ensure that the Act's objectives and intended outcomes will 
be realized.’

“From figuring out which species to protect, to figuring out how to 
protect them, this report reveals, at best, governmental bungling, and 
at worst negligence,” said Gwen Barlee, the Policy Director of the 
Wilderness Committee. “Canada’s endangered species deserve better.”

The number one cause of species’ decline in Canada is habitat loss. The 
identification of critical habitat is the primary tool under SARA to 
enable habitat protection. One of the key findings of the evaluation is 
that critical habitat was not being identified or legally protected. The 
evaluation also finds that a significant portion of available resources 
was either re-allocated to other departmental priorities, allowed to 
lapse, or extensively re-profiled within SARA programs. This means that 
money that was allocated for such crucial things as recovery planning 
and critical habitat identification was misspent.

“Worse yet,” added Rachel Plotkin, Sierra Club of Canada’s Director of 
Forests and Biodiversity, “an Environment Canada document leaked to 
Sierra Club outlines current federal policy directives that dilute 
SARA’s potential even further. The draft policy essentially encourages 
provinces not to identify critical habitat in recovery strategies and to 
dilute a science-based process with economic considerations. The 
Conservative government can’t blame the Liberals for this grim new 

The Stratos evaluation also highlights failed cooperation between the 
federal government and the provinces to protect Canada’s endangered 
plants and animals. Because the Species at Risk Act doesn’t 
automatically require protection of species on provincial lands, 
provincial governments are left in charge, even though many do not have 
laws to protect species at-risk and their habitat. The failure to 
protect species in the provinces has led to lawsuits in British Columbia 
and Alberta.

“When the federal government passed this legislation, they promised no 
species would fall through the cracks but many are,” said Sierra Legal 
lawyer, Devon Page. “As it stands now, we’re back to where we started 
from before we had national legislation – battling province by province 
and species by species.”

The federal government has committed to addressing concerns raised by 
the report, but the leaked policy document reveals that the federal 
government might, in fact, be tracking in the opposite direction. The 
report can be downloaded at 

For more information, contact:
Gwen Barlee, Policy Director, Wilderness Committee, 604-683-8220 (w) or 
604-202-0322 (c)
Devon Page, Staff Lawyer, Sierra Legal Defence Fund, 604-685-5618, x233 
(w) or 604-328-1633 (c)
Rachel Plotkin, Biodiversity Director, Sierra Club of Canada, 
613-241-4611 (w)
Rick Smith, Executive Director, Environmental Defence, 416-670-9521 (c)

Katie Albright

Communications Coordinator / Coordinatrice des communications

Sierra Club of/du Canada

412-1 Nicholas St., Ottawa, ON, K1N 7B7

phone: 613-241-4611, fax: 613-241-2292

katiea at sierraclub.ca <mailto:katiea at sierraclub.ca>

Become a member! <https://getinvolved.sierraclub.ca/join.php%20> / 
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