February 19, 2019
The scientific consensus is that there is urgent need for immediate action to protect species at risk. Federal and provincial governments in Canada have laws to conserve imperiled species, but this alone is not enough. To have any effect, the obligations created by these laws must be fulfilled and the need for action taken seriously by government.
Nova Scotia’s Endangered Species Act is meant “to provide for the protection, designation, recovery and …conservation of species at risk in the Province, including habitat protection”. To achieve this, the Act places important legal obligations on the Minister of Lands and Forestry.
In 2015, East Coast Environmental Law and the Environmental Law Students’ Society at Dalhousie University jointly authored a report concluding that the Minister was not fulfilling his legal obligations to protect species at risk. East Coast Environmental Law has now published an updated version of that report, called Protected on Paper Only: An Evaluation of Nova Scotia's Legal Obligations Under the Endangered Species Act. In our updated report, we check in on the government’s compliance with the Act, focusing on its obligations to create plans and identify areas to be considered for designation as core habitat. What we find is that since 2015, 11 more species have been added to the “at risk” list and little has been done to improve the status of listed species.
In failing to meet its legal obligations, the provincial government is increasing the already formidable risk facing Nova Scotia’s most imperiled species. The need to act against the threats faced by endangered species is urgent and will only become more pressing as time goes on. The scientific community has been clear in its finding that species populations around the world are in significant decline.
East Coast Environmental Law urges the Nova Scotia government to take immediate action to comply with its legal obligations under the Endangered Species Act.
Go to Protected on Paper Only by clicking here.