COSEWIC wildlife species assessment: status appraisal summary process

The status appraisal process is used as a means to efficiently review the classification of a wildlife species for which status is unlikely to change, in order to assist Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC) in meeting its requirement under Species at Risk Act (SARA) to review the classification of each species at least every 10 years. 1

The procedure first involves preparation of a status appraisal summary, which is a brief document outlining relevant best available information pertaining to status. Status appraisal summaries will be generally prepared by a member (or members) of the relevant Species Specialist Subcommittees (SSC).

If the relevant Species Specialist Subcommittee is reasonably certain that the status of a particular wildlife species will not change upon review of classification, the SSC will commence the status appraisal process for that wildlife species. In making its decision as to whether a status appraisal process is appropriate, the SSC will informally consult with COSEWIC members from relevant jurisdictions, Aboriginal Traditional Knowledge Subcommittee (ATK SC), Wildlife Management Boards (WMB) and recovery team(s) to obtain any information they may have with regards to the possibility that the wildlife species’ status category may or may not have changed. Additional experts with information on the wildlife species also may be contacted.

The prepared status appraisal summary is appended to the existing status report and is subject to thorough reviews by the appropriate Species Specialist Subcommittee and the Aboriginal Traditional Knowledge Subcommittee, as well as by jurisdictions that have a responsibility for the wildlife species (including governments of the provinces and territories where the wildlife species occurs, federal departments responsible for the wildlife species, and Wildlife Management Boards). Additional outside experts may also be asked to review Status Reports. When the reviews are complete and revisions have been satisfactorily incorporated, the report is distributed to all COSEWIC members.

At a COSEWIC wildlife species assessment meeting, COSEWIC members use status appraisal summaries as a basis for discussion and for status retention, concluding the review of classification process.

The status appraisal summary becomes an addendum to the existing status report and is posted on the SARA Public Registry along with the existing status report.


(1) For information on the regular assessment process, used for new assessments and for reviews of classification when status may have changed since the last assessment, please refer to the Assessment Process and Criteria web page [COSEWIC Assessment Process, Categories and Guidelines].

About us

The Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC) is an independent advisory panel to the Minister of Environment and Climate Change Canada that meets twice a year to assess the status of wildlife species at risk of extinction. Members are wildlife biology experts from academia, government, non-governmental organizations and the private sector responsible for designating wildlife species in danger of disappearing from Canada.


COSEWIC secretariat
Canadian Wildlife Service
Environment and Climate Change Canada
351 St. Joseph Blvd, 16th floor
Gatineau QC K1A 0H3

Telephone: 819-938-4125
Fax: 819-938-3984
Email: ec.cosepac-cosewic.ec@canada.ca

Latest News

COSEWIC press release: May 2019

ST. JOHN'S, May 6, 2019 /CNW/ - Canada's marine protected areas are more important than ever. The Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC) has just assessed three whales, including two of the world's largest, as under threat in Canadian waters.


Assessment results (May 2019 COSEWIC wildlife species assessment meeting)

Twice per year, Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC) meets to discuss and evaluate the status of Canadian wildlife species. Here you will find the List of Wildlife Species scheduled for the next COSEWIC Wildlife Species Assessment Meeting, the results of wildlife species assessment meeting, and the updated COSEWIC Canadian Wildlife Species at Risk Publication.