Species at Risk Policies
Department: Matters Pertaining to SARM
WHEREAS the Government of Canada has proposed Species at Risk Act policies and
WHEREAS this Act and related policies can have social and economic impact on any land use planning decision;
WHEREAS municipalities are responsible for land use planning as outlined in The Municipalities Act;
WHEREAS the proposed Policy Regarding the Identification of Anthropogenic Structures as Critical Habitat under the Species at Risk Act, the Policy on Critical Habitat Protection on Non-Federal Lands, and the Species at Risk Permitting Policy may have implications for rural landowners and municipal land-use planning decisions.
BE IT RESOLVED that the SARM seek a legal opinion on the proposed Species at Risk Act policies to determine what effect that the proposed policies will have on municipal operations and the rights of rural landowners;
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that if the legal opinion determines that the proposed Species at Risk Act policies will negatively impact rural landowners, that SARM proceed with further action to work with the provincial and federal government on these proposed policies to demonstrate the social and economic impacts of policy implementation on the rural landscape.
6 – 17M Resolution Response from SARM Board of Directors – March 2019
The following information is part of an assessment as to how proposed policies under The Species at Risk Act (SARA) may impact municipal operations and rural landowners in Saskatchewan:
SARA is directed specifically at protecting species at risk and their habitat on federally owned lands. As such, it does not generally apply to lands within the province which are not federally owned. Under SARA, the definition of federal land includes, but is not limited to: Canada's oceans and waterways; national parks; military training areas; national wildlife areas; some migratory bird sanctuaries; and First Nations reserve lands. However, SARA can apply to lands within the province not federally owned if an order is made pursuant to section 34, section 61 or section 80 of the act.
SARA recognizes that in many situations provincial laws will provide protection for critical habitat. However, there are circumstances where prohibitions may also be applied through an order for species listed as endangered, threatened or extirpated in Schedule 1 of SARA when found on private land. If the federal government finds that the provincial legislation or voluntary measures do not adequately protect the species and its residence and these measures are unable to protect the critical habitat, prohibitions against the destruction of that particular critical habitat may come into play. Public consultation would first be sought in accordance with normal federal government regulatory procedure.
Where it is applicable, the current legislation imposes an obligation on the municipality or private landowner to be aware of the presence of a species at risk or of critical habitat, and to ensure that whatever development is carried out does not cause harm to or destroy the species/habitat. Under SARA, permits may be issued, or agreements may be entered into to authorize certain activities that would otherwise contravene the general or critical habitat prohibitions if certain conditions are met. The SARA Public Registry has information on how to apply for a permit. The intent of SARA is to protect critical habitat as much as possible through voluntary actions and stewardship measures.
SARM continues to advocate for rural landowner’s concerns regarding the social and economic impacts of SARA to be addressed when consultations occur for policy proposals or amendments to Schedule I.