Species at Risk Act

The purposes of the Species at Risk Act (SARA) are to prevent wildlife species in Canada from disappearing, to provide for the recovery of wildlife species that are extirpated (no longer exist in the wild in Canada), endangered, or threatened as a result of human activity, and to manage species of special concern to prevent them from becoming endangered or threatened. A series of measures applicable across Canada provides the means to accomplish these goals. Some of these measures establish how governments, organizations, and individuals in Canada work together, while others implement a species assessment process to ensure the protection and recovery of species. Some measures provide for sanctions for offences under SARA.

The Habitat Stewardship Program supports the public's habitat protection and species at risk recovery initiatives.

SARA also provides for the issuing of permits or the conclusion of agreements for certain scientific or educational activities and for the implementation of special emergency measures.

The adoption of the Species at Risk Act in 2002 completed the National Strategy for the Protection of Species at Risk. Two other components preceded this Act: the Accord for the Protection of Species at Risk signed in 1996, and the Habitat Stewardship Program established in 2000. Through these initiatives, Canada is making its commitment under the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity a reality.

SARA encourages the various governments in Canada to cooperate to protect wildlife species in this country. Consultation and cooperation with Aboriginal peoples are essential to the successful implementation of SARA. All Canadians are invited to participate in local community stewardship programs or express an opinion through the SARA Public Registry.

Whether you are...

  • Aboriginal people, hunters, trappers, fishermen, outfitters, outdoor enthusiasts, or scientific researchers;
  • representatives of agricultural, forest, mining, or oil and gas industries;
  • promoters of development projects;
  • elected municipal officials; or
  • members of a nongovernmental organization or a community group, or if you are an individual citizen,

SARA can affect you if a species at risk is found at any time throughout the year on a property in which you have an interest. To learn about the species' critical habitat, consult the SARA Public Registry. You can also contact the specialists at Environment Canada or Fisheries and Oceans Canada or provincial or territorial authorities to find out how to comply with the Species at Risk Act.

Links to the Species at Risk Act

Other Links