What is illegal under the Species at Risk Act?

Whooping Crane nesting sites

For those species listed as extirpated, endangered or threatened under the Species at Risk Act (SARA), it is illegal to:

  • kill, harm, harass, capture or take an individual;
  • possess, collect, buy, sell or trade an individual or any part of an individual; and
  • damage or destroy the residence of one or more individuals.

Although species of special concern are protected in part through management plans, none of the above restrictions apply to these species.

Permits, agreements and licences

Permits, agreements and licences can sometimes authorize a person to carry out an activity that would otherwise be an offence under SARA. These activities are authorized only if certain requirements are met, including the following three pre-conditions:

  • all reasonable alternatives to the activity that would reduce the impact on the species have been considered and the best solution has been adopted;
  • all feasible measures will be taken to minimize the impact of the activity on the species or its critical habitat or the residences of its individuals; and
  • the activity will not jeopardize the survival or recovery of the species.

There are other exceptions to the Act, such as, for example, activities needed for public safety, health or national security, or activities in accordance with conservation measures for wildlife species under a land claims agreement. SARA Permits and Agreements

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