Orders for the critical habitat of aquatic species listed under the Species at Risk Act

Enabling act(s): Species at Risk Act

Description of the objective

Critical habitat is the habitat that is necessary for the survival or recovery of a wildlife species listed under the Species at Risk Act (SARA) and that is identified as the species' critical habitat in the recovery strategy or in an action plan for the species. Critical Habitat Orders provide legalprotection to the critical habitats of listed endangered or threatened species or of a listed extirpated species if a recovery strategy has recommended its reintroduction into the wild in Canada, through the application of the prohibition in subsection 58(1) of SARA against the destruction of any part of the species’ critical habitat.

SARA requires that the critical habitat be legally protected by provisions in, or measures under, SARA or any other Act of Parliament or by the application of subsection 58(1) of SARA within 180 days after the posting, on the Species at Risk Public Registry, of the final recovery strategy or action plan that identified the critical habitat.

The following is a list of species for which critical habitat has been identified and a Critical Habitat Order  is being proposed by the Department of Fisheries and Oceans:

  • Channel Darter
  • Copper Redhorse
  • Atlantic Salmon (Inner Bay of Fundy population)
  • Kidneyshell
  • Killer Whale (Northeast Pacific Transient)
  • Leatherback Sea Turtle (Atlantic)
  • Nooksack Dace (Order to be amended)
  • Northern Riffleshell
  • Northern Wolffish
  • Paxton Lake Threespine Sticklebacks (two Orders)
  • Pugnose Shiner
  • Rainbow Smelt (Lake Utopia small bodied population)
  • Rayed Bean
  • Round Hickorynut
  • Round Pigtoe
  • Salamander Mussel
  • Salish Sucker
  • Snuffbox
  • Spotted Wolffish
  • Striped bass (St. Lawrence River population)
  • Vananda Creek Threespine Sticklebacks (two Orders)
  • Vancouver Lamprey
  • Western Brook Lamprey (Morrison Creek)

Critical Habitat Orders for other aquatic species will be developed as recovery strategies or action plans, that identify critical habitat, are finalized.

Indication of business impacts

There may be business impacts. The “One-for-One” Rule and/or Small Business Lens may apply.

Regulatory cooperation efforts (domestic and international)

The implementation of these SARA Critical Habitat Orders will complement existing federal legislation, such as the Fisheries Act.

SARA is a key tool for the conservation and protection of Canada’s biological diversity and fulfills a commitment made under the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity. As such, the Orders will respect this international agreement in furthering the protection of significant habitats in Canada to conserve a Canadian species at risk.

There are no international trade agreements that will be impacted as a result of the Critical Habitat Orders.

Public consultation opportunities

For all species, consultation on the Critical Habitat Order begins during the preparation of the recovery strategy or action plan that identifies critical habitat. SARA mandates that the recovery strategy and action plan be prepared in cooperation and consultation with certain persons, organizations or wildlife management boards. Upon completion, the proposed recovery strategy or action plan is included on the Species at Risk Public Registry, at which time all Canadians are given a 60 day period to provide comments. The Minister of Fisheries and Oceans then has 30 days to review the comments or make appropriate changes before posting a final version of the recovery strategy or action plan on the Public Registry.

During the 2019-2021 planning period, it is anticipated that for some species, the proposed Critical Habitat Order will be pre-published in the Canada Gazette, Part I to give Canadians a further 30 day notice period to provide comments. After the closure of the pre-publication period, the final version of the Critical Habitat Order is published in the Canada Gazette, Part II. All Critical Habitat Orders are published in Canada Gazette, Part II.

Further information

You can visit the Species at Risk Public Registry for more information on aquatic species at risk and critical habitat.

Departmental contact

André Poliquin
Manager, Recovery and Protection, Species at Risk Program
Telephone:  613-371-4864
E-mail:  andre.poliquin@dfo-mpo.gc.ca

Date the regulatory initiative was first included in the Forward Regulatory Plan: 2012

Date modified: