Process to include Wildlife Management Boards in COSEWIC status assessments

Process to include Wildlife Management Boards1 (WMBs) in the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC) Status Assessment process.

May 2009


Wildlife Management Boards (WMBs) in British Columbia, Yukon, Northwest Territories, Nunavut, and Quebec were established under land claims agreements to manage wildlife in their jurisdictions. Because COSEWIC has been mandated to evaluate the status of wildlife species at risk in Canada, it is important that COSEWIC and the Wildlife Management Boards work together for wildlife species that fall into their joint jurisdictions. Discussions between COSEWIC and the Wildlife Management Boards resulted in a process to ensure that the WMBs have opportunity for input during the preparation and review of status reports for wildlife species within their management area.

As a first step, COSEWIC prepared a list for each WMB showing the wildlife species assessed by COSEWIC in the jurisdiction of each WMB, and the wildlife species' scheduled assessment updates. Each WMB was asked to verify that the wildlife species occurred in their jurisdiction. COSEWIC will add to and amend the lists of "WMB species" as necessary. The WMBs were also provided the COSEWIC assessment criteria and supporting explanatory material.

There will be regular communication between COSEWIC, the Aboriginal Traditional Knowledge Subcommittee (ATK SC) and the COSEWIC Secretariat with designated WMB contact persons. COSEWIC will continue to provide information to the Wildlife Management Boards on assessment procedures, meetings, calls for bids for reports and calls for membership. Meetings with WMBs will be scheduled when required, following a request by a majority of WMBs. Where feasible, such meetings will be coordinated with regular COSEWIC meetings. These measures will ensure that the Wildlife Management Boards remain apprised of COSEWIC's activities, and facilitate their involvement in the process of wildlife species assessment.

If the Chair of COSEWIC convenes an Emergency Assessment Subcommittee for a wildlife species found within the area of under the jurisdiction of a WMB, he or she will invite the WMB to select a non-voting member of that Subcommittee.

Wildlife Management Boards will be involved in each stage of wildlife species assessment, as detailed below.2

Wildlife species proposed for designation

  1. WMBs will be kept informed by COSEWIC about the schedule of wildlife species expected to be examined. This information will be provided to the WMBs by the Secretariat, together with background information on why the wildlife species should be assessed.
  2. COSEWIC will seek and welcome input from WMBs to its COSEWIC Candidate list and scheduling of assessment.

Status report commissioned

  1. At least one month before posting its annual call for bids, for each wildlife species, the COSEWIC secretariat will ask the WMBs how they want to be involved in report production. Responses received from the WMBs will be forwarded to the relevant Species Specialist Subcommittees (SSC) Co-chair, who will take it into account.
  2. WMBs may provide input on the Call for Bids for each report, amount of funding likely required to complete the report, and the selection of authors. Final selection of report writer remains a responsibility of each SSC.

Status report prepared and reviewed

  1. For the purpose of status report preparation and review, WMBs are considered range jurisdictions: i.e., WMBs will be contacted by report writers to request available information on wildlife species, including harvest studies and other surveys or reports.
  2. WMBs will have at least 3 months to review and provide comments on draft status reports and may suggest additional sources of information.
  3. WMBs will have 3 months to provide additional comments after receiving the Interim Status report. WMBs may waive their right to a 3-month review to expedite the assessment process. COSEWIC requires a response by all jurisdictions two months before its meeting.
  4. ATK inclusion will be coordinated with the ATK Subcommittee.
  5. WMBs and SSC and ATK SC Co-chairs will communicate directly regarding incorporation of comments into wildlife species status reports.
  6. The COSEWIC Secretariat will assist with requests from WMBs to circulate their review comments to other WMBs.
  7. Two months before each Wildlife Species Assessment Meeting, COSEWIC will provide WMBs with the revised copy of the Interim Status Report that will be sent to all members. The WMBs will be invited, by letter to the Chairperson from the COSEWIC Secretariat, to provide the relevant SSC Co-Chair their comments, recommendation for a national designation and the reason for their recommendation.

Wildlife species status assessment

  1. WMBs wishing to be involved in the status report review process will be invited to send observers to SSC meetings or to participate via teleconference.
  2. WMBs that have been involved in the review process may send observers to COSEWIC Assessment meetings. Observers will be welcomed at the discretion of the Chair of COSEWIC.
  3. WMBs will be contacted through conference calls to communicate assessment results after the COSEWIC Assessment meetings.

(1) "…any board or other body established under a land claims agreement that is authorized by the agreement to perform functions in respect of wildlife species," Species at Risk Act, S.C. 2002, c.29.

(2) Implementation of the process contained in this appendix is evolving over time and minor changes may be made based on experience gained and feedback from WMBs.

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, 14th floor
Gatineau QC K1A 0H3


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