For years, the Nova Scotia government has failed to adequately protect species-at-risk in the province. We took them to court to ensure they follow their own law, the Endangered Species Act (ESA).
Nova Scotia’s ESA sets out timelines and milestones for species recovery. But for years, the province has treated the law like a vague guideline rather than as the law of the land.
In 2015, our clients at East Coast Environmental Law sounded the alarm over Nova Scotia’s poor implementation of the ESA. Their report concluded the government had failed to comply with the law for 20 out of 37 species in decline.
A year later, Nova Scotia’s auditor general similarly condemned the provincial government’s inaction and made five recommendations for improvement. The province still has yet to fulfill those recommendations.
In May 2020, Nova Scotia’s Supreme Court ruled that the ESA is not a set of vague or voluntary guidelines – it is the law. The Court found that the Nova Scotia government is required to fulfill the law’s mandatory requirements to protect some of the province’s most vulnerable species. (Bancroft v. Nova Scotia [Lands and Forests], 2020 NSSC 175.)