CALGARY — Barry Robinson, Ecojustice’s Interim Program Director of Climate Change, issued the following statement in response to a newly-released progress report on unprotected critical habitat for boreal caribou in Canada.

“After a decade of delays, the Minister of Environment and Climate Change Catherine McKenna has released her report on protecting critical habitat for one of Canada’s most iconic species: the boreal caribou. While the report lacks the level of detail that was expected, the report does conclude that protection for boreal caribou habitat is lacking across the provinces — a situation that has dire consequences in Northeastern Alberta, where oil sands development, forest harvesting and other industrial activities critically threaten herds’ survival.

We now urge the minister to consult with her provincial counterparts and recommend protection orders for the still-unprotected areas of critical habitat, as required by the Species at Risk Act.

In November 2017, Ecojustice lawyers, on behalf of Alberta Wilderness Association, Cold Lake First Nations, and David Suzuki Foundation, submitted a petition that urged Minister McKenna to recommend a safety net order under the Species at Risk Act (SARA) for five herds of caribou in northeastern Alberta that have been severely impacted by industrial development.