COSEWIC wildlife species assessment: status report

Commissioning or Receiving New Status Reports and Updates to Status Reports

By establishing the COSEWIC Candidate List, COSEWIC has identified wildlife speciesWildlife Species for which status reports are desirable. In addition, COSEWIC tracks the status of wildlife speciesWildlife Species previously designated as Extirpated, Endangered, Threatened and Special Concern by preparing updated status reports.

COSEWIC wildlife species status reports summarize the information that is the basis for status determinations. Each report is an up-to-date compilation and analysis of all relevant, available, and credible biological information concerning a wildlife speciesWildlife Species and its status in Canada. For effective assessment, this information must include distribution, extent of occurrence, area of occupancy, abundance (including population estimates or number of occurrences, where available), population and habitat trends, and factors or threats limiting the wildlife speciesWildlife Species. For more details about the contents and structure of a status report, see Instructions for the Preparation of COSEWIC Status Reports. For guidelines concerning conflict of interest, please contact the COSEWIC Secretariat (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.).

Contracts for wildlife speciesWildlife Species status reports for new species and for wildlife speciesWildlife Species requiring a fully updated status reports are administered by Environment and Climate Change Canada according to Treasury Board guidelines. They are opened for a competitive bid on the COSEWIC website. Applicants (bidders) will be expected to submit a work plan and budget, a statement of qualifications, and a statement indicating willingness to waive moral rights, and cede intellectual property to the crown on behalf of COSEWIC. The call for bids is posted for a minimum of three weeks and normally for six weeks.

After the deadline for bid submissions has passed, the applicants are evaluated by the relevant SSCs according to a specified protocol, and a winning bid is chosen. All applicants are thanked for their bids, and informed whether or not their bid was chosen. In consultation with the SSC Co-chairs, the Secretariat commences negotiating with the successful applicant, resolving further details of the work plan, costs, possible travel plans, and timelines. The Secretariat prepares and executes the contract, receives milestones and invoices, and initiates payments in consultation with the SSC Co-chairs.

In some situations where it is suspected that the status of a wildlife speciesWildlife Species has not changed since last assessment, COSEWIC may decide to prepare a short status appraisal summary, which outlines relevant best available information pertaining to status. Status appraisal summaries and rapid reviews of classification will generally be prepared by a member (or members) of the relevant SSC. This summary, along with the existing status report, is sent for review, and the assessment is conducted in a specific way to expedite the process. In these cases, a fully updated status report is not required. More details on the status appraisal and rapid review of classification process are provided on the Wildlife Species Assessment web page.

The information below on status report preparation and wildlife speciesWildlife Species status assessment pertains to assessments based on new or fully updated status reports only.

Status Report Review and Approval Process

Once a Draft Status Report is received by the Secretariat and the responsible SSC Co- chair from a report writer and approved by the responsible SSC Co-chair(s), it is distributed by the Secretariat to all the SSC members, and any external experts recommended by the SSC for peer review. It is also distributed to the chair(s) of the recovery team (if the wildlife speciesWildlife Species is already assessed by COSEWIC and has a recovery team in place), to the jurisdiction(s), to any relevant WMBs, and to the ATK Subcommittee. Comments and suggestions are sent to the responsible SSC Co-chair and forwarded to the writer with instructions from the Co-chair for those changes that must be incorporated into the report.

The result is the Provisional Status Report. The involvement of commissioned report writers nominally ends here. If however, the SSC feels that additional changes are required, it may make any modifications needed to produce the Interim Report. Ideally, the Provisional and Interim Reports are identical.

In some cases, it may be advantageous to have the report writer’s involvement extend past the end of the six-month interim review period so that the report writer can undertake revisions resulting from the review, at the direction of the Co-chairs.

The Interim Status Report is forwarded by the responsible SSC Co-chair to the Secretariat which distributes it to the jurisdiction(s), relevant WMBs, the ATK Subcommittee, to the SSC members, the chair(s) of the recovery team (if the wildlife speciesWildlife Species is already assessed by COSEWIC and has a recovery team in place), and if required, any external experts (inside or outside government agencies) for final review normally at least six months before a Wildlife Species Assessment Meeting

All COSEWIC members will receive Interim Status Reports at least two months prior to the COSEWIC Wildlife Species Assessment Meeting at which they will be discussed. At this stage, the reports include the recommendations of status from the SSC. Once two-month interim reports have been sent to COSEWIC members, they cannot be withdrawn or assessment deferred without the approval of COSEWIC. Any change made to a two-month interim report after it has been sent to COSEWIC members which is likely to influence the application of the quantitative criteria must be brought to the attention of the COSEWIC members before or at the Wildlife Species Assessment Meeting at which the species is being assessed.

New information, knowledge, or data significant to the designation of the wildlife speciesWildlife Species should be presented at the Wildlife SpeciesWildlife Species Assessment Meeting in written form and COSEWIC may then:

  • defer consideration of the wildlife speciesWildlife Species until a subsequent meeting, or
  • proceed with the assessment, and the member will ensure that the SSC Co- chair is given the information to incorporate into the report.

The SSC Co-chair ensures that the final status designation and any revisions suggested and approved by COSEWIC at the Wildlife Species Assessment Meeting are incorporated into the Interim Status Report. The SSC Co-chair provides the Secretariat with a high quality, clean final copy of the report for publication. The Secretariat translates the report, adding a summary of the COSEWIC assessment, and arranges it for publication. The resulting COSEWIC Assessment and Status Report is then posted on the SARA public registry as a downloadable (PDF and html) document soon after the Wildlife Species Assessment Meeting.

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


Social Media