CALGARY – The Government of Canada released a progress report on critical habitat for boreal caribou today. Ecojustice lawyer Barry Robinson issued the following statement in response:
“Boreal caribou are in serious trouble across Canada. In the face of a dearth of action from the provinces, the federal government must step up its efforts to protect this iconic species.
“The report released today shows that there has been modest progress towards boreal caribou habitat protection and restoration since April 2018. However, the overall picture the report paints is one of provincial inaction and federal failure to address this.
“In Alberta, for example, new wildland provincial parks and the continued moratorium on new oil and gas tenures in caribou ranges are helpful tools to protect the province’s declining herds. But, like every other province in Canada, Alberta has yet to complete range plans that would show how it plans to keep boreal caribou habitat undisturbed.
“Boreal caribou are an iconic species with both cultural and natural significance. As ecosystem bellwethers, boreal caribou’s health and wellbeing are key indicators of whether the forests and wetlands where they live are flourishing or struggling.
“Under Canadian species law, the Minister of Environment and Climate Change Catherine McKenna must to take steps to protect at-risk species like boreal caribou when provinces fail to do so themselves. Until provincial protections are in place, Ecojustice urges the federal government to issue safety net orders under the Species at Risk Act to protect boreal caribou in Alberta and in Ontario.”
Ecojustice, Canada’s largest environmental law charity, goes to court and uses the power of the law to defend nature, combat climate change, and fight for a healthy environment for all.
In November 2017, Ecojustice sent a petition on behalf of the Alberta Wilderness Association, Cold Lake First Nations and David Suzuki Foundation, asking the Minister of Environment and Climate Change to recommend Cabinet issue a safety net order to protect boreal caribou in Alberta under the Species at Risk Act.
In November 2018, Ecojustice sent a similar petition on behalf of the David Suzuki Foundation, Ontario Nature and Wildlands League, calling for federal protection for boreal caribou herds in Ontario.