Canada | Research and recommendations | Carrying
out initiatives | Coordinating efforts
Responsibilities for protecting
Canada's biodiversity fall on the shoulders of both the provincial,
territorial and federal governments. Provincial governments deal with
sites and issues within their own borders, while the federal government
is responsible for trade that crosses borders, migratory birds, fish,
marine animals and federally protected areas, such as national parks
and wildlife preserves. This page looks at the agencies responsible
for this work.
Information on the following
Canadian governmental organizations is given by theme, based on the
role of the organization. Generally speaking, organizations either do
research and make recommendations on that research or create and carry
These are all federal organizations;
provincial legislation and initiatives are too varied and numerous to
be covered here, but more information on provincial programs can be
found in the regional sections of Environment Canada.
Canada [link] is important
and large enough to merit special attention. As one can guess by its
name, this is the main governmental organization that deals with the
environment. Environment Canada encompasses many roles. Its mandate
is to preserve and improve air, water, and soil quality, conserve the
country's natural resources and species (including non-domestic species),
predict weather, and coordinate the federal government's environmental
policies and programs. It divides the country into five regions (Atlantic,
Quebec, Ontario, Prairies & Northern, and Pacific & Yukon) to allow
it to pursue its mandate while taking into account regional differences.
It currently has approximately 4700 employees and a half billion dollar
annual budget to carry out its mission.
Many organizations are part
of Environment Canada and carry out its mandate, including the Canadian
Wildlife Service, Ecological Monitoring and Assessment Network and the
Canadian Biodiversity Information Network, to name a few. More details
about these organizations are given below.
Before legislation is passed
or initiatives are undertaken, details about the problem and the best
means to solve it must be known. The following organizations perform
research and provide recommendations for actions to be taken. Their
reports help shape the legislation that help preserve biodiversity.
Monitoring and Assessment Network (EMAN) [link]
of Environment Canada, the Environmental Monitoring and Assessment Network
(EMAN) coordinates monitoring and research in over 100 sites across
Canada. Each monitoring site is already used for research, and sites
within ecozones are grouped together.
EMAN's goals are to provide an early warning of environmental problems
and identify new problems as soon as they arise, provide scientifically
valid reasons for conservation recommendations, and evaluate the effectiveness
of current conservation programs.
Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC) [link]
Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC),
is created to provide a centralized, official, and science-based body
to designate species at risk. COSEWIC operates at an arm's length from
government to ensure that its listing process is independent. Its listing
of species as being at risk does not lead to actions automatically being
taken. Instead, its findings are treated as recommendations.
The Canadian Species at
Risk report is updated annually, and the May
2001 report lists 352 species, subspecies and populations as being
Environmental Assessment Agency (CEAA) [link]
with carrying out the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act, the Canadian
Environmental Assessment Agency (CEAA) invests in research and development
that leads to better environmental assessment, investigates how to best
carry out assessments, and gets the public involved in the consultation
Canadian Wildlife Service
of Environment Canada, the Canadian Wildlife Service primarily coordinates
and carries out initiatives (see below), but also performs research
on wildlife biology, especially the effects of pollution on wildlife.
Resources Canada [link]
This organization is more economically-centred than the others listed
here. It deals with Canada's natural resources and how those resources
can best profit the country. Naturally, any exploitation of natural
resources has repercussions for conservation, and Natural Resources
Canada researches ways in which the impacts of the development and exploitation
of Canada's natural resources can be minimized.
Once informed conservation
decisions have been made, these are the federal organizations that carry
out the initiatives and accords. Each has jurisdiction over a particular
physical area or type of species. When needed, coordination between
these organizations is facilitated by particular agencies; see below
for more details).
Canada is part of Heritage Canada. Its mandate is in part to protect
Canada's natural heritage and to encourage the public to enjoy and preserve
this heritage. It carries out some research in Canada's National Parks,
largely inventories, but much of its resources are devoted to maintaining
its parks in a healthy state.
Wildlife Service [link]
of Environment Canada, the Canadian Wildlife Service handles national
wildlife issues, including migratory birds and other wildlife, endangered
species, and preserving natural habitat. The Canadian Wildlife Service
is a founding member of COSEWIC, active in RENEW, and responsible for
implementing CITES in Canada, to name a few of its duties and accomplishments.
of Fisheries and Oceans [link]
Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) is responsible for policies
and programs that affect Canada's interests in marine and fresh water.
Its emphasis leans towards the economic, but management of fisheries
resources, protection of the aquatic environment, and research all require
interest in conservation.
Ecosystems Conservation Branch [link]
The Marine Ecosystems Conservation Branch's (MECB) (part of DFO) mandate
is to implement the Oceans Act. Its responsibilities include developing
and managing Marine Protected Areas, developing an integrated management
program to protect marine resources, and developing and managing a marine
environmental quality program.
Endangered Species Conservation Council [link]
The Canadian Endangered Species Conservation Council (CESCC) was formed
in 1998 by Wildlife Ministers from the Government of Canada, provinces
and territories under the Accord for the Protection of Species at Risk
in Canada. The Council is made up of federal, provincial and territorial
ministers with responsibilities for wildlife species. This includes
Canada's minister of Fisheries and Oceans and the minister responsible
for Parks Canada. The Council's mandate includes specific responsibilities
for the listing and recovery of species at risk, as well as a role in
resolving disputes under the Accord.
Because provincial, territorial,
federal and non-governmental organizations have much the same conservation
aims and often deal with the same problem at the same time, much overlap
of efforts and redundant actions are possible. Agencies exist which
help to coordinate these efforts and make them as efficient as possible,
three of which are described below.
Convention Office [link]
Canada's adoption of the Convention on Biological Diversity requires
an agency to coordinate putting the Convention into practice in the
country, and that is the function of the Biodiversity Convention Office.
The Biodiversity Convention Office is part of the Canadian Wildlife
Service, and thus part of Environment Canada.
Biodiversity Information Network [link]
Canadian Biodiversity Information Network (CBIN) is Canada's node in
the International Clearing House Mechanism for the Convention on Biological
Diversity. It serves to provide a central hub for documents and information
related to biodiversity. Links will be submitted to the site by individual
organizations, allowing for more complete and up-to-date information
than if the CBIN itself were to try to discover all the information
on its own.
of Nationally Endangered Wildlife [link]
of Nationally Endangered Wildlife (RENEW) is actually a program rather
than an agency that coordinates joint efforts between federal, provincial,
territorial and non-governmental agencies to protect species designated
by COSEWIC as being at risk. RENEW's emphasis is on terrestrial vertebrates,
although a few plants and an ecosystem have also been included.The agencies
that are involved still maintain responsibility within their own jurisdictions.