Tag Archives: Canadian Politics

Canada’s Abysmal Track Record on Endangered Species Protection

Keeping up & in the know…

CBC: Canada Opts Not to Block International Trade in 76 Endangered Species — Canada Expressed Reservations at 2013 Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species

“…The federal government has reservations about restricting international trade in endangered species — more of them than almost any other government on Earth.

…Canada has opted out of nearly every resolution to protect endangered species taken at last year’s meeting of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES)….

…Canadian trade in those species will continue as normal.


…Over the entire 39-year history of the treaty, Iceland has filed 22 reservations; Japan 18 and the United Kingdom eight. The United States has filed none.

Few of the species Canada declined to protect have significant domestic value….


The government has also failed to follow through with a promise last August to update its wild animal and plant trade regulations.


Canada has been fighting a rearguard action at CITES over polar bears. It has been working to stop the organization from further restricting trade in polar bear parts.”

-Canadian Press

Canada's abysmal record on endangered species protection includes organizing to prevent the ban on the international trade of polar bear parts.

Inhabitat: Why is Canada Refusing to Protect 76 Endangered Species?

“At CITES, delegates from 180 countries voted to add 76 plant and animal species to the endangered species list. This means that, ideally, all 180 countries would enact their own domestic legislation to protect the newly-added endangered species from international trade. The CITES agreement first began in 1973 and no country has ever opted out of the agreement.

Canada, however, has elected to be the only one of the 180 nations to reject the terms of the treaty….”

Huffington Post: The Canadian Government Is Failing Endangered Species

“CITES is an international conservation agreement with the fundamental goal of ensuring that global commercial trade in wild animals and plants does not threaten their survival. Roughly 36,000 species of animals and plants are protected against over-exploitation by CITES. Almost every country on earth is a signatory to this Treaty, and Canada was one of the first to join.


A damning new scientific analysis by Canadian scientists shows that attempts to protect endangered species here at home are almost totally ineffective. According to the study, 86 per cent of species assessed multiple times since 1977 either stayed at the same risk level or deteriorated over time. The authors found that the status of species at-risk in Canada rarely improved, with only 5.7 per cent of those assessed recovering to a “not at risk” status.

A few days later, scientists reiterated concerns raised over a year ago that Environment Canada was still taking far too long to list species deemed at risk. In fact, the process for listing species now appears to have stopped completely, with none of the 67 species recommended for listing under the Species at Risk Act since January 2011 given the additional protection they need.


Ironically, this is all making the news whilst Minister Aglukkaq is leading the Canadian delegation to the United Nations Conference on Climate Change in Lima, Peru. In her country address, Minister Aglukkaq said, “Canada is a country that has always done its part.” Sadly, this no longer seems to be true….”

-Sheryl Fink, Director, IFAW Seals Program

PLOS ONE: Canada’s Species at Risk Rarely Recover — The Story Behind the PLOS ONE Article

“The process of species protection in Canada is far from straightforward. For a given species, the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC) first provides an assessment, which is then forwarded to the federal government to decide whether or not to list that species under Canada’s Species at Risk Act (SARA). Once listed under SARA, a series of legal obligations for protection set in; for example, for endangered species, critical habitat must be identified where possible in the Recovery Plan.

Up to 2013 we found: of 369 species examined more than once by COSEWIC, 86% had become more endangered or failed to improve.[1] We also examined whether being protected by SARA was associated with improved COSEWIC assessment outcomes relative to unlisted species—the answer was “no,” unfortunately. Further, we found that for more than half of eligible SARA-listed species, critical habitat had not been fully identified; without identification, this habitat cannot be fully protected.”

-Dr. Caroline Fox & Dr. Brett Favaro

Tri-City News: Species Remain at Risk in Absence of Government Action

“A recent analysis of the effectiveness of species-at-risk legislation between the U.S.A. and Canada indicated that, while the American legislation has been impressively effective in improving the status of species at risk, very few such improvements have been north of the border.

On the international scene, the recent record of the Harper government is truly abysmal.


With blatant disregard for trade in endangered species, the Harper government last year allowed the shipment of whale meat from Iceland to Japan by rail across Canada. This meat, including some from whale species at risk, had been refused at several ports in Europe but apparently raised no such concerns in Canada.”

-Elaine Golds

Take Action!

SumOfUs: Tell the Harper Government to Protect Newly Endangered Species from International Trade!