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.
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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 set out in a report from COSSARO 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 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 31, 2023, the minister received COSSARO’s 2022 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:
- Six new species:
- Dukes’ Skipper (Euphyes dukesi), an insect, was classified as special concern.
- Eastern Sand Darter (Ammocrypta pellucida), a fish, which was previously listed as a single endangered population, has been modified into two populations in Ontario. Each population was added to the SARO List as follows:
- Eastern Sand Darter (Southwestern Ontario population) (Ammocrypta pellucida) was classified as threatened; and,
- Eastern Sand Darter (West Lake population) (Ammocrypta pellucida) was classified as endangered.
- Northern Oak Hairstreak (Satyrium favonius Ontario), an insect, was classified as threatened.
- Pumpkin Ash (Fraxinus profunda), a vascular plant, was classified as endangered.
- Skillet Clubtail (Gomphurus ventricosus), an insect, was classified as threatened.
- The reclassification of four species:
- American Ginseng (Panax quinquefolius), which was previously classified as endangered has been reclassified as threatened.
- Cougar (Puma concolor), which was previously classified as endangered has been reclassified as special concern (see reference number 4 below for information about the change to this species’ common name).
- Eastern False Rue-anemone (Enemion biternatum), which was previously classified as threatened has been reclassified as special concern.
- Eastern Foxsnake (Carolinian population) (Pantherophis vulpinus) which was previously classified as endangered has been reclassified as threatened (see reference number 4 below for information about the change to this species’ scientific name).
- The removal of Bald Eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus), which had been classified as special concern, because COSSARO determined that the species is not at risk.
- A change to the common and/or scientific name of the following species:
- Eastern Foxsnake (Carolinian population) (Pantherophis gloydi) becomes Eastern Foxsnake (Carolinian population) (Pantherophis vulpinus).
- Eastern Foxsnake (Georgian Bay population) (Pantherophis gloydi) becomes Eastern Foxsnake (Great Lakes / St. Lawrence population) (Pantherophis vulpinus).
- Greater Prairie-Chicken (Tympanuchus cupido) becomes Greater Prairie-Chicken (Tympanuchus cupido pinnatus).
- Mountain Lion or Cougar (Puma concolor) becomes Cougar (Puma concolor).
Protection under the Endangered Species Act, 2007
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 the 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.
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Get in touch with the office listed below to find out if materials are available.
300 Water Street
5th Floor, North Tower
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