Beginning in 1992, we pushed for a strong federal species protection law. This was our first major law reform initiative. Over the course of a decade, we worked with partners in the environmental community, engaged in consultations, offered drafting support, and forcefully responded when a weak species bill was proposed. We came to appreciate how slow law reform efforts can be, after two promising bills were sent back to the starting line when elections were called.

In 2002, after 10 years of work, the federal Species at Risk Act (SARA) received royal assent. When SARA became law, we released a comprehensive guide on how SARA can be used by citizens to protect vulnerable species and the habitat they rely on.

Why was Ecojustice Involved?

Early in our history we knew that without stronger species laws, our lawyers wouldn’t have the tools they needed to do their job effectively At that point, we committed to pushing for a federal law that would protect species by focusing on preserving ecosystems and protecting critical habitat rather than preserving species in isolation.

What does this victory mean?

SARA marked a significant improvement in species protection law in Canada. Where the federal government has fallen short in enforcement of SARA, Ecojustice has been able to bring several cases that have resulted in recovery strategies that include comprehensive habitat protection plans.