This notice is for informational purposes only. There is no requirement to consult on this initiative on the Environmental Registry of Ontario. Learn more about the types of notices on the registry.
Why consultation isn't required
While the Endangered Species Act, 2007 (ESA) is subject to public consultation requirements for proposals to make, amend or revoke a specific regulation made under the Act, amendments made to the Species at Risk in Ontario (SARO) List regulation (Ontario Regulation 230/08) are exempt from this requirement. The independent Committee on the Status of Species at Risk in Ontario (COSSARO) reviews, assesses and classifies at-risk species. The Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks amends the SARO List to reflect new species classifications as set out in COSSARO’s Annual Report, in accordance with Section 7 of the ESA. Changes to the SARO List are the result of decisions made by COSSARO and not by the Minister of the Environment, Conservation and Parks.
The Committee on the Status of Species at Risk in Ontario (COSSARO) is an independent committee, established under the Endangered Species Act, 2007 (ESA). COSSARO is responsible for classifying species at risk based on established criteria.
As outlined in the ESA, COSSARO has to submit an annual report to the Minister of the Environment, Conservation and Parks (Minister) that includes the outcomes of species assessment meetings held since the submission of their previous report, including:
- the classification of each species assessed
- a summary of listing decision rationales.
If the annual report sets out new species classifications that require amendments to the Species at Risk in Ontario (SARO) List, then the SARO List regulation (Ontario Regulation 230/08) has to be amended within 12 months of the Minister receiving the annual report.
Updates to the Species at Risk in Ontario List
On January 27, 2021 the Minister received COSSARO’s 2019-2020 Annual Report. In response to the new species classifications set out in the report, we amended Ontario Regulation 230/08. The SARO List has been updated to include:
- Fifteen new species:
- Seven endangered species:
- Black Ash
- Downy Yellow False Foxglove
- False-foxglove Sun Moth
- Gillman’s Goldenrod
- Toothed Globe
- White-rimmed Shingle Lichen
- Seven threatened species:
- Carolina Mantleslug
- Fern-leaved Yellow False Foxglove
- Hairy Valerian
- Hudsonian Godwit
- Lake Whitefish (Opeongo Lake large-bodied populations)
- Lake Whitefish (Opeongo Lake small-bodied populations)
- Smooth Yellow False Foxglove
- One special concern species:
- Red-tailed Leafhopper
- Seven endangered species:
- Changes to three species:
- Goldenseal was re-classified from Threatened to Special Concern
- Red-headed Woodpecker was re-classified from Special Concern to Endangered
- Spoon-leaved Moss was re-classified from Endangered to Threatened
- Updates to the common and/or scientific name of eight species to be consistent with recent nomenclatural or taxonomic changes:
- Eastern Prickly Pear Cactus (Opuntia humifusa) becomes Eastern Prickly-pear Cactus (Opuntia cespitosa)
- False Rue-anemone (Enemion biternatum) becomes Eastern False Rue-anemone (Enemion biternatum)
- Karner Blue (Lycaeides melissa samuelis) becomes Karner Blue (Plebejus samuelis)
- Ogden’s Pondweed (Potamogeton ogdenii) becomes Ogden’s Pondweed (Potamogeton x ogdenii)
- Showy Goldenrod (Boreal population) (Solidago speciosa) becomes Pale Showy Goldenrod (Solidago pallida)
- Showy Goldenrod (Great Lakes Plains population) (Solidago speciosa) becomes Stiff-leaved Showy Goldenrod (Solidago rigidiuscula)
- Small-flowered Lipocarpha (Lipocarpha micrantha) becomes Small-flowered Lipocarpha (Cyperus subsquarrosus)
- Virginia Mallow (Sida hermaphrodita) becomes Virginia Mallow (Ripariosida hermaphrodita)
Protection under the Endangered Species Act
Under the ESA, species that are newly-classified as extirpated, endangered or threatened automatically receive the following protections unless protections are temporarily suspended through a Minister’s order:
- Subsection 9(1) prohibits killing, harming, harassing, capturing, taking, collecting, possessing, transporting, buying, selling or trading species classified as extirpated, endangered or threatened.
- Subsection 10(1) prohibits damaging and destroying the habitat of species classified as endangered or threatened.
In addition, the ESA requires recovery strategies be prepared within one or two years for species listed as endangered or threatened, respectively.
For species listed as special concern, a species management plan has to be completed within five years, unless a federal recovery strategy or management plan for the species must be prepared under the federal Species at Risk Act.
Species and habitat protections cease to apply once the SARO List has been updated to re-classify a species from extirpated, endangered or threatened to special concern or not at risk.
Changes made to a species’ common or scientific name on the SARO List do not impact the species’ classification or the protections afforded to the species under the ESA.
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