Vol. 152, No. 4 — February 21, 2018
SI/2018-17 February 21, 2018
SPECIES AT RISK ACT
List of Wildlife Species at Risk (referral back to COSEWIC) Order
P.C. 2018-53 February 1, 2018
Her Excellency the Governor General in Council, on the recommendation of the Minister of the Environment, pursuant to subsections 27(1.1) and (1.2) of the Species at Risk Act (see footnote a)
- (a) refers the assessment of the status of the Yukon Draba (Draba yukonensis) back to the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC) for further consideration; and
- (b) approves that the Minister of the Environment include in the public registry established under section 120 of that Act the statement that is attached as the annex to this Order and that sets out the reasons for the referral back to COSEWIC.
Statement Setting Out the Reasons for Referring the Assessment of the Yukon Draba (Draba yukonensis) Back to COSEWIC
Yukon Draba is a small herbaceous mustard plant. At the time of COSEWIC’s assessment in 2011, the only occurrence known worldwide was in a single meadow complex in southwestern Yukon. The meadow complex is under threat from industrial activities, nearby human habitation, invasive species, trampling by humans and forest encroachment. Given the rarity of suitable habitat within the range of natural dispersal, the restricted range and extreme population fluctuations as understood at the time of the assessment, COSEWIC proposed that the Yukon Draba be designated as endangered. However, since the publication of the assessment, COSEWIC has advised that a reassessment is warranted based on new information regarding the species range in Canada and its population dynamics.
(This note is not part of the Order.)
The objective of this Order is for the Governor in Council (GIC), on the recommendation of the Minister of the Environment, pursuant to subsections 27(1.1) and (1.2) of the Species at Risk Act (SARA), to refer the matter of the assessment of the Yukon Draba, undertaken pursuant to subsection 23(1) of SARA, back to the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC) for further information or consideration.
When COSEWIC assessed the Yukon Draba (Draba yukonensis) in 2011, it assigned a status of endangered to the species. However, since the publication of the assessment, COSEWIC has advised the Department of the Environment that a reassessment is warranted based on new information obtained through an increased survey effort in recent years. The new information indicates that the number of occurrences and the extent of the species distribution in Canada have increased significantly. While fluctuations in population size occur from year to year, they are not as dramatic as previously suspected.
The purpose of SARA is to prevent wildlife species from being extirpated or becoming extinct; to provide for the recovery of wildlife species that are extirpated, endangered, or threatened as a result of human activity; and to manage species of special concern to prevent them from becoming endangered or threatened. COSEWIC was formed as an independent scientific body in 1977 with a mandate to provide a single, official, scientifically sound, national classification of wildlife species at risk in Canada. COSEWIC provides the Minister of the Environment with assessments of the status of wildlife species in Canada.
Under subsection 27(1.1) of SARA, the GIC may, on the recommendation of the Minister of the Environment, within nine months after receiving COSEWIC’s assessment of the status of a species, review the COSEWIC assessment, accept the assessment and add the species to the List of Wildlife Species at Risk (the List), decide not to add the species to the List, or refer the matter back to COSEWIC for further information or consideration.
On June 2, 2017, the GIC acknowledged receipt of assessments for 32 species that COSEWIC provided to the Minister of the Environment. This initiated the nine-month period under SARA, which will end on March 2, 2018. By way of the Order, the GIC is referring the assessment of one of these species, the Yukon Draba, back to COSEWIC for further consideration.
The Minister of the Environment, in accordance with subsection 27(1.2) of SARA, will include a statement in the Public Registry setting out the reasons for the decision to refer the assessment of the Yukon Draba back to COSEWIC. Those reasons are set out in the Annex to the Order and will be posted on the website of the Public Registry established under SARA.
On June 17, 2017, a proposed Order to amend Schedule 1 of SARA was published in the Canada Gazette, Part I, for a 30-day public comment period. The accompanying Regulatory Impact Analysis Statement explained the rationale behind the recommendation to refer the assessment of the Yukon Draba back to COSEWIC. No comments pertaining to this proposal were received.
Mary Jane Roberts
Species at Risk Act Management and Regulatory Affairs
Canadian Wildlife Service
Environment and Climate Change Canada
- Footnote a
S.C. 2002, c. 29