|Threatened and Endangered Species
Species at Risk Act
Canada's Species at Risk Act: Implementation at a Snail's Pace
As the national law to protect species, one would think that SARA covers all of Canada. In fact, however, habitat protection is mandatory only for aquatic species and on federal lands (such as post offices, military bases and much of the Territories).
This is unfortunate, as species do not recognize political boundaries. However, the Act is equipped with what is called a "safety net" that allows the federal government to order SARA's protections to apply to other species on other lands. SARA requires the Minister to recommend such an order to protect a species and/or the habitat upon which it depends if he or she is of the opinion that a province is failing to effectively do so. To date however, despite the fact that several provinces don't even have species at risk legislation, no Minister has ever made such a recommendation, and the government has never passed such an order.