Species at Risk Act
What is the Species at Risk Act?
The Species at Risk Act (SARA) is a federal law with three main goals:
- to prevent endangered or threatened species from becoming extinct or extirpated;
- to help in the recovery of endangered, threatened and extirpated species; and
- to manage species of special concern to help prevent them from becoming endangered or threatened.
SARA was passed in December 2002 and came into full effect in June 2004.
Decisions on whether or not to list species under SARA are made by the Government of Canada and are based on both scientific assessments and public consultation. Another requirement of the Act is the creation of recovery plans for species that are listed as extirpated, endangered, threatened or of special concern under the Act.
SARA identifies how governments, organizations and individuals can work together to achieve its goals. The Government of Canada encourages stewardship as a means to protect species at risk and help them recover. Stewardship means taking care of the land, air, water, plants, animals and culture in such a way that they can be passed on to future generations.
If this cooperative approach is unsuccessful, SARA provides the Government of Canada with the power to protect individuals, their residence and their critical habitat, setting penalties for offences under the Act.