Canada-Ontario Agreement on Species at Risk

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BETWEEN

HER MAJESTY THE QUEEN IN RIGHT OF CANADA, as represented by the Minister of the Environment responsible for the Department of the Environment (Environment Canada) and for the Parks Canada Agency and by the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans responsible for the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (Fisheries and Oceans Canada) (hereinafter referred to as “Canada”)

AND

HER MAJESTY THE QUEEN IN RIGHT OF ONTARIO, as represented by the Minister of Natural Resources responsible for the Ministry of Natural Resources (the “MNR”) (hereinafter referred to as “Ontario”)

(hereinafter the “Parties”)

WHEREAS Ontario has a rich and highly diverse natural environment that includes a significant number of species that are at risk;

WHEREAS Canada and Ontario are signatories to the Accord for the Protection of Species at Risk (the “Accord”) (Appendix A);

WHEREAS Canada has legislative responsibility for, among other things, wildlife species located on federal lands, aquatic species, migratory birds protected by the Migratory Birds Convention Act, 1994 and listed wildlife species under the Species at Risk Act;

WHEREAS Ontario has legislative responsibility for, among other things, wildlife management, including species at risk, and land use decisions respecting provincial Crown and private lands in the province;

WHEREAS delegation to Ontario for the administration of fisheries management in Ontario waters has taken place through agreements and regulations under the Fisheries Act;

WHEREAS Canada and Ontario believe that activities and programs relating to species at risk can be undertaken in a coordinated and cooperative manner;

WHEREAS Canada and Ontario are committed to working together, and with other jurisdictions, levels of government and partners to prevent species from becoming at risk and to protect and recover species that have been identified as being at risk;

AND WHEREAS Canada and Ontario recognize the role of the aboriginal peoples of Canada in the conservation of wildlife in this country.

THEREFORE THE PARTIES AGREE AS FOLLOWS:

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1.0  Definitions

“Agreement” means this agreement, known as the “Canada-Ontario Agreement on Species at Risk”, and includes all annexes and any amendments.

“Competent minister” has the same meaning as that set out in section 2 of the SARA.

Endangered Species Act means the Endangered Species Act, 2007 (S.O. 2007, c. 6).

Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act means the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act (S.O. 1997, c. 41).

“Fisheries Act” means the Fisheries Act (R.S., c. F-14, s. 1). 

Migratory Birds Convention Act, 1994 means the Migratory Birds Convention Act, 1994 (S.C. 1994, c. 22).

Recovery and Management Planning Documents”means Recovery Strategies, Action Plans and Management Plans as required by the SARA and Recovery Strategies, Government Response to Recovery Strategies and Management Plans as required by the Endangered Species Act, 2007 (S.O. 2007, c. 6).

SARA means the Species at Risk Act (S.C. 2002, c. 29).

“Species at risk” means an extirpated, endangered or threatened species, or a species of special concern, that is listed in either a) Schedule 1 of the SARA, or b) the Species at Risk in Ontario List (SARO List) regulation made under the Endangered Species Act.

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2.0  Principles

The Parties agree that the following principles will guide the interpretation and implementation of this Agreement, while remaining consistent with federal and provincial legal requirements:

2.1 Inter-jurisdictional collaboration characterized by respect for the roles and responsibilities of each of the Parties will feature in all elements of species at risk protection and recovery;

2.2 Species at risk protection and recovery will, to the extent possible, be designed and delivered in a manner tailored to address the ecological, social and economic circumstances of the province, informed by the principles of sustainable development;  

2.3 If there are threats of serious or irreversible damage to a wildlife species, cost-effective measures to prevent the reduction or loss of the species should not be postponed for a lack of full scientific certainty;

2.4 Ecosystem, landscape and multi-species approaches will be used when appropriate for species at risk protection and recovery;

2.5 Cooperative and voluntary measures are the preferred approach to species at risk protection and recovery;

2.6 Planning to prevent species from becoming at risk, and to protect and recover species that have been identified as being at risk, will be informed by the best available information on the biological status of a species including scientific knowledge, community knowledge and aboriginal traditional knowledge, and will be implemented to respect socio-economic interests to the extent possible; and

2.7 Stewardship by land and water owners and users is fundamental to preventing species from becoming at risk and in protecting and recovering species that are at risk.

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3.0  Interpretation

3.1 Ontario enters into this Agreement with Canada under the authority of section 8 of the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources Act (R.S.O. 1990, c. M.31).

3.2 Canada enters into this Agreement with Ontario under section 10 of the SARA.

3.3 Neither Canada nor Ontario relinquishes any jurisdiction, right, power, privilege, prerogative or immunity by virtue of this Agreement.

3.4 This Agreement does not create any new legal powers or duties nor does it alter the powers and duties established by the SARA, the Endangered Species Act, or the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act or any other federal or provincial legislation.

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4.0  Purpose

4.1 The purpose of this Agreement is to create an administrative framework within which the Parties can cooperatively exercise their respective powers and duties to ensure a coordinated and focused approach to the delivery of species at risk protection and recovery through legislation, policies, and operational procedures in Ontario.  It does so by:

  • setting out the respective roles and responsibilities of the Parties with respect to species at risk protection and recovery in Ontario;
  • establishing the coordinating mechanisms needed to consult on key decisions, establish joint priorities, share information and design coordinated programs of work; and,
  • providing opportunities to jointly develop species at risk policies where appropriate.

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5.0  Governance

5.1 Canada-Ontario Species at Risk Agreement Management Committee

5.1.1 A Canada – Ontario Species at Risk Agreement Management Committee (“AMC”) is hereby established and will be responsible for the administration of this Agreement.

5.1.2 The AMC will have the following membership:

For Canada:

  • Regional Director General, Environment Canada, Ontario or designate
  • Regional Director General, Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Central and Arctic Region or designate
  • Director General, Eastern Canada, Parks Canada Agency or designate

For Ontario:

  • An Assistant Deputy Minister, Ontario MNR or designate

5.1.3 The AMC will be co-chaired by the Environment Canada representative and the MNR representative. The co-chairs will chair alternate meetings.

5.2  Duties and Responsibilities of the AMC

The AMC shall provide overall strategic direction to ensure communication, cooperation, and collaboration between the Parties with respect to species at risk issues and needs in Ontario.

In providing overall strategic direction the AMC will:

5.2.1 Coordinate the efforts of the Parties in creating, developing, implementing and evaluating the activities covered by this Agreement and ensure the effective implementation of the Agreement; 

5.2.2 Establish joint activities, funding agreements or arrangements as needed;

5.2.3 Share information with respect to legislation, regulations, policies or operational guidelines either in place or under development that could directly or indirectly affect species at risk protection and recovery in Ontario;

5.2.4 Coordinate recovery processes and procedures to meet the requirements of federal and provincial legislation;

5.2.5 Consistent with timelines set out in federal or provincial legislation, coordinate the review of and comment on any Recovery Planning Documents prior to forwarding for approval, to ensure each Party is aware of the other’s interests;

5.2.6 Monitor the coordination of stewardship programs and cooperate in the assessment of their effectiveness;

5.2.7 Establish working groups or advisory committees as required; and

5.2.8 Other functions as required as consistent with Article 2.0.

5.3 Administration and Operation of the AMC

5.3.1 The AMC shall:

  1. meet at least once a year;
  2. establish, to the extent necessary, procedures for its meetings, administration and operations.

5.3.2 The Parties agree that decisions of the AMC shall be made by consensus of all members of the AMC.

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6.0  Aboriginal Engagement

Canada and Ontario will:

6.1 cooperate, to the extent possible, with aboriginal organizations directly affected by species at risk protection and recovery;

6.2 endeavour to engage aboriginal organizations in species at risk protection and recovery efforts that will directly affect them; and

6.3 endeavour to include traditional knowledge of the aboriginal peoples of Canada in species at risk protection and recovery efforts.

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7.0   Assessment

7.1   The Parties will share, to the extent possible, their best available information on the biological status of a species and may agree to collaborate in acquiring new information to support:

  1. the assessment process of the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC);
  2. the assessment process of the Committee on the Status of Species at Risk in Ontario (COSSARO);
  3. the General Status of Wild Species in Canada report; and,
  4. the identification of species of immediate conservation concern to COSEWIC and COSSARO that have not been identified as candidate species at risk through other mechanisms.

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8.0  Listing

8.1  Committee on the Status of Species at Risk in Ontario Species List

8.1.1  A prioritized list of species that could be assessed by COSSARO will be provided by Ontario to Canada as it is updated.

8.1.2  Ontario will notify Canada of COSSARO’s determinations of species status as such determinations become available.

8.2 Species Listed under the SARA

8.2.1 The Minister of the Environment will provide an opportunity for  Ontario to review and comment on the response statement made pursuant to subsection 25(3) of the SARA prior to posting the response statement on the SARA public registry.

8.2.2 Prior to the Minister of the Environment making a recommendation to the Governor in Council with respect to the listing of a species found in Ontario, the competent minister will consult with Ontario on the implications of that decision. The Minister of the Environment will inform Ontario of the listing decision and the rationale for that decision.

8.3 Emergency Listing under the SARA

8.3.1 Prior to the Minister of the Environment making a recommendation to the Governor in Council with respect to an emergency listing of a species found in Ontario, the competent minister will consult with Ontario on the implications of that decision. The Minister of the Environment will inform Ontario of the listing decision and the rationale for that decision.

8.4   Species Listed under the Endangered Species Act

8.4.1  Ontario will notify Canada following a regulation being made under the Endangered Species Act to amend the Species at Risk in Ontario List, and the implications of those modifications.

8.4.2  Ontario will advise Canada on the above-referenced modifications and the rationale for the changes.

8.4.3  Where a species is listed as endangered or threatened in Ontario, is not listed in Schedule 1 of SARA, and is not an aquatic species, Canada will expeditiously, after the species is listed by Ontario, take measures so that the species is managed appropriately on federal lands in Ontario, through provisions in, or measures under, federal legislation or regulations, administrative arrangements or federal policies.

Provincial Requests for Urgent Assessment

8.5.1 Ontario will notify Canada of any species that are referred to COSSARO for urgent classification or reconsideration. 

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9.0  Emergency Orders

9.1 Federal Orders under the SARA

9.1.1  Prior to making a recommendation to the Governor in Council with respect to emergency orders, the competent minister will consult with Ontario on the implications of that decision. The competent minister will inform Ontario of any decision on emergency orders and the rationale for that decision.

9.2   Provincial Habitat Protection Orders

9.2.1  When an emergency situation relating to the protection of the habitat of a provincially listed species at risk involves a federal interest, Ontario will consult with Canada on the implications of the proposed decision to issue a habitat protection order, and will inform Canada once the decision has been made.

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10.0  Environmental Assessment

10.1 It is the intent of the Parties to ensure that potential impacts on species at risk are addressed through federal and/or provincial environmental assessment processes in a manner that is timely, structured and informed by the best available information.

10.2 The Parties will exchange available specialist or expert information or knowledge regarding a listed wildlife species and its habitat in order to complete environmental assessments of projects subject to the federal and/or provincial environmental assessment processes.

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11.0  Recovery and Management Planning

11.1  The Parties agree to cooperate in the development of their Recovery and Management Planning Documents for federally or provincially listed species at risk.

11.2  The Parties will cooperate, where appropriate, with other jurisdictions not party to this Agreement, and departments and agencies within their respective governments to determine the most efficient and effective approach to preparing the Recovery and Management Planning Documents. 

11.3  The Parties will consider, to the extent possible, socio-economic costs and benefits in implementing Recovery and Management Planning Documents.  While the focus will remain on species at risk protection and recovery, the Parties will work with stakeholders and other jurisdictions to identify ways to minimize socio-economic impacts or increase socio-economic benefits.

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12.0  Stewardship

12.1 The Parties agree to encourage and support species at risk stewardship activities by: 

  • recommending priorities, within the Parties’ respective jurisdictions, for stewardship activities for species at risk in Ontario;
  • exchanging information on stewardship programs, funding and agreements as appropriate; 
  • setting priorities for research and data collection necessary to design, implement and evaluate stewardship activities;
  • streamlining administrative processes and maximizing the use of existing programs to support stewardship activities by landowners and resource users; and,
  • collaborating with other partners in stewardship (e.g., stakeholders, environmental non-government organizations).

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13.0  Agreements, Permits and Other Instruments

13.1 The Parties agree, to the extent possible, to share information on the issuance of agreements, permits and other instruments with respect to species at risk.

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14.0  Enforcement

14.1 The Parties agree, to the extent possible, to share information and develop flexible operational guidelines necessary for the implementation of enforcement activities as they relate to species at risk laws.

14.2 The Parties agree, where appropriate or necessary, to coordinate enforcement activities dealing with their respective species at risk laws. 

14.3 Each Party recognizes that the cross-designation of federal and provincial officers for the enforcement of species at risk legislation may assist in the protection of species at risk and their habitats.

14.4 As part of the implementation of this Agreement, the Parties will further examine the merits of the measures referred to in subsections 14.1 to 14.3 and may enter into a subsidiary agreement on enforcement. 

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15.0  Communications and Outreach

15.1 The Parties agree to cooperate on communication products where mutual benefits exist and commit to keeping each other informed on their respective programs concerning species at risk.

15.2 The Parties agree to recognize each other’s contributions for jointly developed material and programs related to species at risk.

15.3 The Parties agree to use mechanisms defined within their respective legislation to report regularly on achievement of their species at risk objectives.

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16.0  Data and Information Sharing

16.1 The Parties agree, as appropriate and subject to any data sharing agreements and their respective legislation, to share and provide the other Party access to available data and information during the assessment, listing, recovery planning and recovery implementation activities under this Agreement.

16.2 Some data and information may require confidentiality or have been obtained with an understanding of confidentiality in order to protect species at risk from exploitation or harm.  Data and information so identified by a Party to this Agreement, or a partner in programs and activities related to this Agreement, will be held confidential by the Parties to the extent allowed by their respective legislation and within their respective access to information policies, procedures, and agreements.

16.3 The Parties recognize the role of the Ontario Natural Heritage Information Centre as a common source of data on species and species at risk in Ontario, and agree to support this Centre with data and resources in a manner consistent with agreements between federal/provincial/territorial governments and NatureServe Canada.

16.4 The Parties recognize and promote the optimal use of new and existing decision support tools and information technology such as WILDSPACE and BIOTICS to facilitate information exchange, reduce redundancy, promote integration and strengthen conservation networks. The Parties agree to support these tools and technologies with data and resources in a manner consistent with agreements between federal/provincial/territorial governments and NatureServe Canada. 

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17.0  Protection

17.1 The Parties agree, to the extent possible, to coordinate the development of regulations, policies and guidelines for the effective protection of species at risk.

17. 2 The Parties agree to consult to resolve issues related to the protection of species at risk, their residences and their critical habitat prior to the Minister of the Environment making any recommendations concerning the application of sections 34 or 61 of the SARA. 

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18.0 Consultation

18.1 Recognizing that each Party is responsible for its own legislative and policy requirements for consultation, the Parties agree to cooperate, collaborate, and communicate, where mutual benefits exist, on the development of consultation tools and activities.

18.2 The Parties agree to involve each other in consultation processes relating to species at risk protection and recovery activities in Ontario.  

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19.0  Dispute Resolution

19.1 The AMC will be the first point of resolution for disputes that cannot be resolved by working groups or advisory committees arising from any activities contemplated in this Agreement.

19.2 Disputes which cannot be resolved by the AMC will be referred to the Deputy Minister of Natural Resources, the Deputy Minister of Fisheries and Oceans Canada, the Deputy Minister of Environment Canada and the Chief Executive Officer of the Parks Canada Agency for resolution.

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20.0  Funding

20.1 The Parties agree that the activities set out in this Agreement will be funded by the responsible Party based on the requirements of implementing its legislation.

20.2 The AMC will draw up a Work Plan each year which will identify the jointly agreed upon objectives and priority activities for the coming fiscal year. The Parties may consider entering into a funding agreement for specific activities identified in the work plan and agreed upon by the Parties where such agreement would further enhance achieving the objectives of the work plan. The funding agreement must specify the terms and conditions governing the agreement, including the activities for which costs will be shared, the authority responsible for carrying out the activities, the expected results and associated timelines, the amounts payable by each Party, the times at which any amount under the agreement will be paid, and the monitoring mechanisms to be used to follow up on the agreement. No cost sharing shall be considered as ongoing funding.

20.3 Any financial obligations of Canada related to this Agreement or its implementation are subject to the express condition that the Parliament of Canada votes the required credits for the fiscal year in which the costs are to be covered.

20.4 Any financial obligations of Ontario related to this Agreement or its implementation are subject to the express condition that the Legislative Assembly of Ontario votes the required credits for the fiscal year in which the costs are to be covered.

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21.0  Agreement Effective Date, Amendment, Review, Renewal and Termination

21.1 This Agreement shall take effect on the date of the last signature affixed to this Agreement (“effective date”).

21.2 Unless terminated or renewed in accordance with the terms of this Agreement, the Agreement will continue to have force and effect for 10 years after the effective date.

21.3 Either Party may terminate this Agreement 90 days after consulting with and providing written notice to the other Party.  Ontario will provide written notice to Canada, if it is the intention of Ontario to terminate the Agreement.  Canada will provide written notice to Ontario, if it is the intention of Canada to terminate this Agreement.

21.4 This Agreement may be renewed and the duration may be extended with the mutual consent of the Parties.

21.5 This Agreement may be amended and annexes may be added or deleted with the mutual consent of the Parties.

21.6 As part of the implementation of this Agreement, the Parties may enter into subsidiary agreements.

21.7 Any subsidiary agreement made pursuant to the "Canada-Ontario Agreement on Species at Risk”, unless otherwise agreed to in writing, shall terminate at the time and date that the "Canada-Ontario Agreement on Species at Risk” terminates.

21.8 The Parties will review the effectiveness of this Agreement five years from the effective date.

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22.0  Signatures

IN WITNESS OF WHICH the Minister of the Environment, responsible for the Department of the Environment and the Parks Canada Agency, and the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans responsible for the Department of Fisheries and Oceans have hereunto set their hand on behalf of Canada, and the Minister of Natural Resources, responsible for the Ministry of Natural Resources has hereunto set her hand on behalf of Ontario.

 

HER MAJESTY THE QUEEN IN RIGHT OF CANADA,
as represented by the Minister of the Environment
responsible for the Department of the Environment
and the Parks Canada Agency

Signature: (Jim Prentice)
Minister of the Environment

Signed this 3rd day of November, 2010

 

HER MAJESTY THE QUEEN IN RIGHT OF CANADA,
as represented by the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans
responsible for the Department of Fisheries and Oceans

Signature: (Gail Shea)
Minister of Fisheries and Oceans

Signed this 17th day of December, 2010

 

HER MAJESTY THE QUEEN IN RIGHT OF ONTARIO,
as represented by the Minister of Natural Resources
responsible for the Ministry of Natural Resources

Signature: (Linda Jeffrey)
Minister of Natural Resources

Signed this 12th day of January, 2011

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Appendix A: Accord for the Protection of Species at Risk

Federal, provincial and territorial ministers responsible for wildlife commit to a national approach for the protection of species at risk. The goal is to prevent species in Canada from becoming extinct as a consequence of human activity.
We recognize that:

  1. species do not recognize jurisdictional boundaries and cooperation is crucial to the conservation and protection of species at risk;
  2. the conservation of species at risk is a key component of the Canadian Biodiversity Strategy, which aims to conserve biological diversity in Canada;
  3. governments have a leadership role in providing sound information and appropriate measures for the conservation and protection of species at risk, and the effective involvement of all Canadians is essential;
  4. species conservation initiatives will be met through complementary federal and provincial/territorial legislation, regulations, policies, and programs;
  5. stewardship activities contributing to the conservation of species should be supported as an integral element in preventing species from becoming at risk; and
  6. lack of full scientific certainty must not be used as a reason to delay measures to avoid or minimize threats to species at risk.

    We agree to:
    1. participate in the Canadian Endangered Species Conservation Council in order to coordinate our activities and resolve issues for the protection of species at risk in Canada;
    2. recognize the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada as a source of independent advice on the status of species at risk nationally; and
    3. establish complementary legislation and programs that provide for effective protection of species at risk throughout Canada, and that will:
      1. address all native wild species;
      2. provide an independent process for assessing the status of species at risk;
      3. legally designate species as threatened or endangered;
      4. provide immediate legal protection for threatened or endangered species;
      5. provide protection for the habitat of threatened or endangered species;
      6. provide for the development of recovery plans within one year for endangered species and two years for threatened species that address the identified threats to the species and its habitat;
      7. ensure multi-jurisdictional cooperation for the protection of species that cross borders through the development and implementation of recovery plans;
      8. consider the needs of species at risk as part of environmental assessment processes;
      9. implement recovery plans in a timely fashion;
      10. monitor, assess and report regularly on the status of all wild species;
      11. emphasize preventive measures to keep species from becoming at risk;
      12. improve awareness of the needs of species at risk;
      13. encourage citizens to participate in conservation and protection actions;
      14. recognize, foster and support effective and long term stewardship by resource users and managers, landowners, and other citizens; and
      15. provide for effective enforcement.
    4. refer any disputes that may arise under this Accord to the Canadian Endangered Species Conservation Council for resolution.