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.
We have updated this notice on January 27, 2023 to include the link to the regulation in the related files section.
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.
On January 26, 2022 the Minister received COSSARO’s 2021 Annual Report. As is required by the ESA, we amended the SARO List to reflect the new species classifications set out in the report. The SARO List has been updated to reflect:
- Seven new species:
- American Bumble Bee (Bombus pensylvanicus) was classified as special concern
- Davis’s Shieldback (Atlanticus davisi) was classified as threatened
- Lesser Yellowlegs (Tringa flavipes) was classified as threatened
- Purple Wartyback (Cyclonaias tuberculata) was classified as threatened
- Reversed Haploa Moth (Haploa reversa) was classified as threatened
- Striped Whitelip (Webbhelix multilineata) was classified as endangered
- Suckley’s Cuckoo Bumble Bee (Bombus suckleyi) was classified as endangered
- Changes to the following species:
- Barn Swallow (Hirundo rustica) was re-classified from threatened to special concern
- Kentucky Coffee-tree (Gymnocladus dioicus) was reclassified from threatened to threatened in the following geographic areas and not classified as at risk in all other jurisdictions in Ontario:
- The County of Elgin
- The County of Essex
- The County of Lambton
- The County of Middlesex
- The County of Norfolk
- The County of Oxford
- The Municipality of Chatham-Kent
- Lake Chubsucker (Erimyzon sucetta) was reclassified from threatened to endangered
- Lakeside Daily (Tetraneuris herbacea) was reclassified from threatened to special concern
- Rapids Clubtail (Gomphus quadricolor) was reclassified from endangered to threatened
- Red Knot rufa subspecies (Calidris canutus rufa), which was previously classified as endangered, has been modified into three separate designatable units (DUs) in Ontario due to the addition of the Northeastern South American and Southeastern USA / Gulf of Mexico / Caribbean wintering populations now being considered the rufa subspecies type. These DUs are primarily distinguished by their different overwintering grounds along with differences in their morphology and genetics. Each DU was added to the SARO List as follows:
- Red Knot – rufa subspecies (Northeastern South America wintering population) (Calidris canutus rufa) was classified as special concern
- Red Knot – rufa subspecies (Southeastern USA / Gulf of Mexico / Caribbean wintering population) (Calidris canutus rufa) was classified as endangered
- Red Knot – rufa subspecies (Tierra del Fuego / Patagonia wintering population) (Calidris canutus rufa) was classified as endangered
- Short-eared Owl (Asio flammeus) was reclassified from special concern to threatened
- Western Silvery Aster (Symphyotrichum sericeum) was reclassified from endangered to threatened
- The removal of three species because COSSARO determined that either the species is not at risk in Ontario or there is not enough data to determine if the species is at risk:
- Aweme Borer Moth (Papaipema aweme), which had been classified as endangered
- Beluga (Delphinapterus leucas), which had been classified as special concern
- Spring Salamander (Gyrinophilus porphyriticus), which had been classified as extirpated
- An update to the common and scientific name of one species to better reflect the outcome of COSSARO’s discussions regarding its genetics:
- Algonquin Wolf (Canis sp.) becomes Eastern Wolf (Canis sp. cf. lycaon)
In addition, an administrative amendment was made to correct the formatting of the scientific name of Hairy Valerian, which was added to the SARO List as a threatened species in 2022. As a result of the change, Valeriana edulis ssp. ciliata becomes Valeriana edulis ssp. ciliata.
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 by regulation:
- 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.
Species and habitat protections cease to apply to a species and its habitat once the SARO List has been updated to reclassify 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.
The ESA requires that recovery strategies be prepared within one or two years for species listed as endangered or threatened, respectively. A recovery strategy provides science-based advice for the minister on what is required to achieve recovery of a species.
For species listed as special concern, a species management plan must be completed within five years, unless a federal recovery strategy or management plan for the species is required under the federal Species at Risk Act. Management plans are prepared based on the current scientific knowledge for the species and set out advice and recommendations to the minister on approaches for the management of the species in Ontario.
Within nine months of the development of a recovery strategy or management plan, the minister must publish a government response statement for the species. A government response statement sets out the government’s policy response to the scientific advice provided in the recovery strategy or the possible actions identified in the management plan.
View materials in person
Some supporting materials may not be available online. If this is the case, you can request to view the materials in person.
Get in touch with the office listed below to find out if materials are available.
300 Water Street
Floor 2, Robinson Place South Tower
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Public Input Coordinator - Species at Risk
300 Water Street
5th Floor, North tower
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