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Public consultation begins on new species at risk legislation

The province has begun a three-stage approach to gathering feedback that will inform policy development for new species at risk legislation.

Currently, the province has 231 species listed under the federal Species at Risk Act. While there are protection measures for some species under the current provincial regulations, there is no comprehensive legislation for the protection of species at risk.

“The great variety of plants and animals in British Columbia provides important ecological, social, cultural and economic benefits to the province and its residents,” said George Heyman, Minister of Environment and Climate Change Strategy, in a news release. “With new species at risk legislation, we have the opportunity to protect B.C.’s irreplaceable biodiversity and to bring stability to Indigenous communities, industry and the public. These public consultations are a further step towards an effective and innovative approach to protecting and recovering species at risk.”

Phase 1 will consist of a series of one-to-one conversations with key stakeholder groups, online discussions with members of the public and regional engagements with Indigenous communities.

Phase 2 is a collaborative, multi-day workshop with key stakeholders in spring 2018.

Phase 3 will be an intentions paper, issued for public comment in the fall of 2018, that will outline specific details of B.C.’s proposed species at risk legislation.

Species at risk legislation will fulfil the Province’s commitment to reduce adverse impacts on B.C.’s most vulnerable species. The legislation will establish a clear process for protecting species at risk, to meet obligations under the Canada-British Columbia Agreement on Species at Risk, as well as provide increased certainty for those operating on B.C.’s land base.

The engagement and consultation will occur concurrently between Indigenous groups, stakeholders and the public.

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