Canada Gazette, Part I, Volume 157, Number 45: Order Amending Schedule 1 to the Species at Risk Act

November 11, 2023

Statutory authority
Species at Risk Act

Sponsoring department
Department of the Environment


(This statement is not part of the Order.)


The Eastern Wolf (Canis sp. cf. lycaon) was listed in Part 4 — Special Concern on Schedule 1 (List of Wildlife Species at Risk) of the Species at Risk Act (SARA) in 2003. A reassessment of the species by the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canadafootnote 1 (COSEWIC) was received by the Minister of the Environment (the Minister) in 2015. The reassessment noted a small population size with a restricted range, rendering population expansion unlikely outside of protected areas, and therefore, assessed the Eastern Wolf as threatened.

The proposed Order Amending Schedule 1 to the Species at Risk Act (proposed Order) is needed to reclassify the Eastern Wolf from a status of species of special concern to threatened to ensure that the species is afforded a level of protection commensurate with risks to the species’ survival. Listing species at risk on Schedule 1 of SARA, and the associated protections triggered by this listing, support not only the protection of the species, but also overall biodiversity and ecosystem productivity.


The Eastern Wolf is an intermediate-sized canid with females weighing an average of 24 kg and 29 kg for males. Their fur (pelage) is often described as reddish-brown/tawny but is highly variable. The species is found mostly in deciduous and mixed forest landscapes, their dens are located in conifer/hardwood-dominated landscapes near a permanent water source, and their territory size is often near 200 kmfootnote 2. The wolves live in family-based packs composed of a breeding pair and offspring from the current and previous years. An average of five pups are born from late April to early May and they remain at the den site for 6 to 8 weeks. Dispersing juveniles leave the pack after 37 weeks. Their diet generally consists of White-tailed Deer (Odocoileus virginianus), Moose (Alces alces) and Beaver (Castor canadensis).

The current distribution of Eastern Wolves is thought to be restricted to the forests of central Ontario and southwestern Québec, namely the Great Lakes–St. Lawrence Forest Region. Eastern Wolves were extirpated from most of their original range in North America due to eradication of large Canis over much of the past 400 years. The population size is unknown, but likely fewer than 1 000 mature individuals exist. The estimated minimum population size is 236 mature individuals, mainly located within protected areas. There is little population trend information outside of Algonquin Provincial Park, the site with the most Eastern Wolf records to date, which depicts a relatively stable population.

In 1999, COSEWIC considered the Eastern Grey Wolf (Canis lupus lycaon) a subspecies of the Grey Wolf (Canis lupus) and placed it in the Data Deficient category.footnote 2 Status was re-examined (as Eastern Wolf, Canis lupus lycaon) and designated as a species of special concern in 2001. Debate exists about the taxonomic status of the Eastern Wolf but there is consensus, based on genetic analyses, that the Eastern Wolf is not a subspecies of Grey Wolf. In May 2015, the species was reassessed by COSEWIC as a new wildlife species, the Eastern Wolf (Canis sp. cf. lycaon), and was designated as threatened. In the 2015 COSEWIC Assessment and Status Report, the Eastern Wolf was noted to be worthy of conservation because of its distinctiveness, persistence, and significance as a large carnivore, and because it is likely part of the last remnant population of the large Canis from eastern North America.

General protections

Environment and Climate Change Canada (the Department) plays a leadership role as the federal regulator for preventing terrestrial species from becoming extinct or extirpatedfootnote 3 from Canada. SARA is the primary federal legislative mechanism for delivering on this responsibility. The purposes of SARA are threefold: to prevent wildlife species from becoming extirpated from Canada or extinct; to provide for the recovery of wildlife species that are listed as extirpated, endangered, or threatened; and to manage species of special concern to prevent them from becoming endangered or threatened. When a species is listed on Schedule 1 of SARA as extirpated, endangered, or threatened, general prohibitions apply automatically on federal landfootnote 4 for terrestrial species. These general prohibitions make it an offence to kill, harm, harass, capture, or take an individual of a listed (extirpated, endangered, or threatened) species, and/or to possess, collect, buy, sell, or trade an individual of the listed species or any part or derivative of such an individual. It is also prohibited to damage or destroy the residence (e.g. nest or den) of the species.

Listing a species as endangered, threatened, or extirpated triggers mandatory recovery planning by the competent minister(s)footnote 5 in cooperation with appropriate provincial or territorial governments, other federal ministers with authority over federal lands where the species is found, and wildlife management boards authorized by a land claims agreement, among others. If the recovery of the species is deemed possible, the recovery strategy must address threats to the survival of the listed species, including any loss of habitat, and must include, among other things, the identification of critical habitat, to the extent possible, based on the best available scientific information.

The recovery strategy must also include a statement of when one or more action plans in relation to the recovery strategy will be completed. Action plans summarize the projects and activities required to meet the recovery strategy objectives and goals. Action plans include information on habitat, details of protection measures, and evaluation of socio-economic costs and benefits of the recovery strategy.

If critical habitat is identified on federal lands, the competent minister must protect it using the various tools available under SARA, including, but not necessarily limited to, a critical habitat protection order.

Threats and limiting factors

The main threat and limiting factor for Eastern Wolves outside protected areas is likely human-caused mortality from hunting and trapping. Based on research in Algonquin Provincial Park, excessive mortality likely limits dispersal, and alters pack breeding dynamics, leading to another main threat, gene introgression (hybridization) with Eastern Coyotes (Canis latrans var), due to the lack of available mates of their own species (i.e. Eastern wolves). Habitat loss and fragmentation associated with road networks and urbanization is expected to continue outside protected areas and may deter population expansion. In addition, negative public attitudes towards wolves, and established packs of Eastern Coyote may also limit population expansion.


The objective of the Order Amending Schedule 1 to the Species at Risk Act is to support the survival and recovery of the Eastern Wolf in Canada by up-listing it from a species of special concern to threatened.


The proposed Order would amend the List of Wildlife Species at Risk (Schedule 1 of SARA) by up-listing the Eastern Wolf from a species of special concern to threatened.

Regulatory development


The Department posted the Minister’s response statement for the Eastern Wolf on the Species at Risk Public Registry on December 23, 2015, which opened consultations. These consultations were supported through the posting of the document entitled Consultation on Amending the List of Species under the Species at Risk Act: Terrestrial Species — January 2016 on the Public Registry in January 2016. The Eastern Wolf was included in this package with an extended 9-month consultation period, from January to October 2016. The consultation document provided information on the Eastern Wolf, including the reason for the proposed reclassification, a biological description and location information. The consultation document was also directly distributed to over 3 200 individuals and organizations, including Indigenous groups, provincial and territorial governments, various industrial sectors, resource users, landowners, and environmental non-governmental organizations (ENGO) with an interest in this species.

Although the initial consultations date back to 2016–17, the comments remain valid, as the Eastern Wolf faces the same threats as it did at the time of the consultations (a conclusion supported by the species’ 2021 management plan). There have been no significant changes to benefits and socio-economic factors since 2016–17 with respect to this species; therefore, additional consultations with stakeholders and Indigenous peoples (who largely supported the proposed listing), outside of the Canada Gazette, Part I prepublication consultation phase, are not warranted at this time.

To ensure comprehensive and inclusive consultations, the Department organized teleconferences and identified direct points of contact to explain the proposal and discuss its potential impacts, as needed. Those consultations were ongoing into 2017. In total, the Department received 2 627 comments. Comments were received from ENGOs, Indigenous groups, an industry organization, a provincial government, other federal government departments, and individual members of the public. The majority supported or did not state a position on the proposed up-listing of the Eastern Wolf from species of special concern to threatened.

A petition, which called on the Department to follow COSEWIC’s designation of the Eastern Wolf as a threatened species, received 2 599 individual signatories indicating their full support for the proposed Order. Of the remaining 28 comments, 15 supported the proposed listing, 11 did not indicate a position (i.e. provided a general comment) and 2 opposed the proposed Order.

One government-owned contractor-operated organization expressed concern regarding the potential costs it may bear on a development project due to the proposed Order, as well as any future critical habitat protections that could be implemented as a result of up-listing the Eastern Wolf. The Department followed up directly with a questionnaire in 2022, and again with additional questions in early 2023, to ensure its concerns were considered under the proposed Order. The additional information it provided was used to develop a costing scenario, which is detailed and explained in the “Analysis of costs to other government departments” section found below.

One federal government department expressed concern about the uncertainty surrounding genetics and the ability to differentiate between an Eastern Wolf and a hybrid species, and that land managers might have difficulty recognizing which canid is the protected species. It also raised concerns about the potential impacts of a future critical habitat protection order on its activities and infrastructure.

Regarding the concerns related to the genetics of the Eastern Wolf (Canis sp. cf. lycaon), there is extensive research supporting the classification of the Eastern Wolf as a distinct species. The Department considers the COSEWIC assessment identifying the species as threatened to be valid based on the information provided in the 2015 COSEWIC assessment status report. The Department acknowledges that there may be difficulty differentiating an Eastern Wolf from a hybrid, and will work closely with enforcement officers and land managers to mitigate this challenge as much as possible through education. The exact specification on what constitutes an “Eastern Wolf” (i.e. what percentage of the DNA must be Eastern Wolf to be considered an Eastern Wolf species) will be determined at the recovery stage. When a species is listed as threatened under SARA, it triggers the requirement for a recovery strategy and the making of a future critical habitat protection order on federal lands. Both would be developed in consultation and cooperation with impacted provinces, other federal government departments and Indigenous communities.

A provincial government department opposed the up-listing and identified concerns related to the socio-economic impacts of up-listing the Eastern Wolf. It indicated that recreational activities like hunting and trapping, commercial activities involving raw fur processing, and wild animal control and damage prevention would be affected by the up-listing, which may result in negative economic impacts for the province. In addition, the province does not officially recognize the Eastern Wolf as a species due to the taxonomic uncertainty and knowledge gaps surrounding the physical identification, geographic distribution, and abundance of canid species in the province. The provincial department recommended that a socio-economic impact study be conducted to better assess the consequences of the up-listing.

The taxonomic status of the Eastern Wolf has been the subject of debate; however, recent progress in genetic research has led to a better understanding of the origins of several species and hybrids of the Canis genus in North America. The genetic analyses have indicated that the Eastern Wolf is not a subspecies of the Grey Wolf, and all indications are that the Eastern Wolf is a distinct species under SARA. Regarding the concerns related to the socio-economic impacts of up-listing, as per the Cabinet Directive on Regulation, the Department undertook a cost-benefit analysis of the proposed Order. The details of this analysis can be found in the “Regulatory analysis” section below.

A community member of a First Nation in Ontario submitted a comment that noted their belief that there is not a shortage of Eastern Wolves and that the species can cause damage to trap lines. They expressed concern about the potential economic impact of up-listing the species on their trap line.

The distribution of any species, including those at risk, is not uniform. While there may be many Eastern Wolves in some areas, this is not reflected throughout the species’ range. The actual population size is unknown, but it is likely that there are fewer than 1 000 mature individuals; the actual number is believed to be closer to 236 mature individuals. As noted above, the Department’s assessment of the socio-economic impacts is detailed in the “Regulatory analysis” section below.

Modern treaty obligations and Indigenous engagement and consultation

As required by the Cabinet Directive on the Federal Approach to Modern Treaty Implementation, an assessment of modern treaty implications was conducted in relation to the proposed Order. The Eastern Wolf’s extent of occurrence does not overlap with any Indigenous lands covered by modern treaty agreements; therefore, no modern treaty implications are anticipated. However, section 35 of the Constitution Act, 1982 recognizes and affirms the existing Aboriginal and treaty rights of Indigenous peoples in Canada, including rights related to activities, practices and traditions of Indigenous peoples that are integral to their distinctive culture. Even though the Government is of the view that subsection 35(1) does not promise immunity from government regulation, the Government bears the burden of justifying any legislation that has some negative effect on any aboriginal right protected under subsection 35(1).

The Eastern Wolf’s extent of occurrence intersects with several First Nations reserves, including 11 in Ontario and 3 in Quebec. To ensure comprehensive consultations were undertaken, the Department sent targeted emails and/or letters to individual First Nations organizations, inviting their comments. The correspondence set out the consultation approach and offered additional information sources on the listing and consultation processes for terrestrial species. In addition, the Department offered the opportunity for further discussions with any group who requested it via either a telephone or teleconference consultation session. Five First Nations, composed of four from Ontario and one from Quebec, participated in further consultation sessions.

During the additional consultation sessions, one First Nation indicated that some community members trap Grey Wolves and coyotes. Concerns were raised about the difficulties identifying canid species and hybrids, and how this might affect trapping activities. Members were concerned about whether the up-listing of the Eastern Wolf would limit trapping in certain areas, as there is a possibility that the Eastern Wolf may be trapped accidentally even if traps target other species. These comments are addressed in the “I. Benefits” and “II. Costs” sections of this document.

One First Nation noted that there are only two trappers in its community, and it is unknown if they have ever encountered an Eastern Wolf. It was suggested that the community may require additional educational resources and opportunities to improve the perception of species at risk and encourage stewardship. If the Eastern Wolf were up-listed to threatened, information and expertise from First Nations communities would be sought during the recovery planning phase to ensure the inclusion of Indigenous knowledge and scientific expertise in the preparation of recovery documents.

Representatives from two First Nations highlighted the social and cultural significance of the Eastern Wolf to their communities. They suggested that additional resources be attributed to awareness and Eastern Wolf conservation within their respective communities. Interest in DNA sampling of harvested pelts was indicated to help further identify distribution of the species. It was also suggested that educational resources be shared with hunters to help in the identification of the Eastern Wolf.

One First Nation indicated that wolves are not historically trapped in their community, with only three wolves having been harvested by community members. Questions were raised regarding Indigenous rights to harvest listed species for ceremonial and medicinal purposes. The Department indicated that the harvesting of Eastern Wolves off reserve falls under provincial jurisdiction. However, possession of harvested individuals on reserve lands for ceremonial and medicinal purposes is exempt from SARA’s general prohibitions. A comment was also made remarking that any restrictions or regulations applying to the Eastern Wolf will affect the community, as the species is located within its traditional territory. Furthermore, a comment was made indicating the community’s general support for the protection of species at risk, but that the Chief and Council would like to see the integrity of their rights maintained.

One First Nation expressed concerns regarding the engagement process, noting that it requires more time for the consultation process to review and respond, and that it felt a lack of engagement by the Government with people who hold an intimate knowledge of the species. A community member of the same First Nation also expressed concerns with up-listing the Eastern Wolf, citing implications to their beaver trap line. They mentioned that hunters and trappers will be affected if increased Eastern Wolf predation reduces moose, deer, and beaver populations. Additionally, it was questioned whether the Department would compensate trappers for their assistance with DNA sampling of canid species.

Many of the comments received point to a need for additional educational materials to help raise awareness about the Eastern Wolf and to assist communities in the identification of the species. The Department is exploring how best to address this issue through compliance and promotion materials. The Department assessed the potential socio-economic impacts (as well as the benefits) that the proposal could have on Indigenous peoples, specifically. The analysis is presented below in the “Benefits” and “Costs” sections of this document. With respect to the length of the consultation period, initial consultations were undertaken over a period of nine months (from January to October 2016), which is the time frame for terrestrial species undergoing extended consultations. Follow-up engagement with Indigenous groups and interested stakeholders took place beyond the close of the public consultations, into 2017. The Department makes every effort to ensure that Indigenous communities have the time and resources necessary to participate in the consultation process.

Instrument choice

SARA stipulates that, after receiving an assessment from COSEWIC on the status of a wildlife species, the Governor in Council (GIC) may review that assessment and may, on the recommendation of the competent minister,

The protection of species at risk is a shared responsibility between the federal government and the provinces and territories; therefore, the federal government must respect its responsibilities to protect species on federal lands, or everywhere in Canada for migratory birds or aquatic species.

The Act includes sections that support voluntary stewardship approaches to conservation in collaboration with any other government in Canada, organization, or person. While these sections could be used to generate positive outcomes for a species, the obligation for the Minister to make a recommendation to the GIC for a decision in respect of an assessment from COSEWIC cannot be bypassed.

Regulatory analysis

This analysis presents the incremental impacts, both benefits and costs, of the proposed Order. Incremental impacts are defined as the difference between the baseline scenario and the scenario in which the proposed Order is implemented over the same time period. The baseline scenario includes activities ongoing on federal lands where a species is found and incorporates any projected changes over the next 10 years that would occur without the proposed Order in place. The scenario in which the proposed Order is implemented includes the impacts expected to arise from general prohibitions as well any potential future critical habitat protection order on federal lands. Since critical habitat is only identified in a recovery strategy following the listing stage in Schedule 1 of SARA, the extent of critical habitat identification (and therefore related protection measures) is unknown at this time. Therefore, the analysis is based on the best information available at the time of publication.

An analytical period of 10 years has been selected, because the status of the species must be reassessed by COSEWIC every 10 years. Costs provided in “present value” or “over 10 years” terms were discounted at 3%footnote 6 for the period of 2024–2033 to a base year of 2023. Unless otherwise noted, all monetary values reported in this analysis are in 2023 constant dollars.

The proposed Order is expected to trigger protections and coordinated actions to support recovery of the Eastern Wolf, thereby helping to preserve and enhance the associated socio-economic value and cultural significance to Indigenous peoples, as well as economic, recreational, and cultural opportunities for Canadians (e.g. trapping, wildlife watching, continued existence of an iconic Canadian species). The costs incremental to the proposed Order are expected to be low.

Some First Nations trappers may experience monetary losses stemming from the prohibition on First Nations reserves of activities that can harm Eastern Wolf, such as trapping, ranging from zero to up to a present value of $1.2 million over 10 years, depending on the compliance scenario that materializes. No other stakeholders are expected to assume costs related to compliance with general prohibitions, although some may have to apply for a permit, under SARA, to conduct specific activities. For all permit applications expected, the combined incremental cost to applicants (i.e. First Nations, other federal departments, researchers, and scientists) is estimated to be about $80,000 and is expected to be assumed in the first year only. It is assumed that applicants would apply for each required permit only once during the 10-year period, and that the applications would be submitted within the first year following listing. Government administrative costs related to the proposed Order are anticipated to be low, and stem from the development of the recovery strategy and the action plan, permit application review, and compliance promotion and enforcement activities. These costs are estimated to range between $800,000 and $1.1 million over 10 years. The overall costs to society are therefore estimated to range between $900,000 and $2.4 million over 10 years.


The assessment of benefits for protecting the Eastern Wolf follows the total economic value (TEV)footnote 7 framework. Success in securing the Eastern Wolf’s continued existence would likely result from a combination of protection and recovery measures undertaken by federal and provincial governments, First Nations peoples, and stakeholders. The benefits described below are associated with the successful recovery of Eastern Wolf populations and are not directly attributable to the proposed Order.

Cultural significance to First Nations peoples

As a wolf species, the Eastern Wolf has many meanings for First Nations peoples and is significant to the ways of life for many communities. The land on which the Eastern Wolf resides is also of high importance to First Nations communities for the many flora and fauna that are part of the forest ecosystem, but also for the many traditional practices that still take place on those lands.

In an effort to gather knowledge on the Eastern Wolf, the Department consulted First Nations peoples, some of whom shared the level of significance of the wolf within their culture and traditions. Stories and teachings related to the wolf exist across many First Nations communities. For those consulted, wolves share many spiritual characteristics with humans (e.g. living in family groups and taking care of each other), and are a model for how to interact with nature (e.g. hunting, sustainability, or maintaining a natural balance). A relationship akin to that between blood relatives or with other humans exists with wolves. Some individuals expressed having had various experiences with wolves, such as walking with them, sleeping near them, feeling protected by them, and having spiritual experiences involving them when out on the land.footnote 8

Some First Nations communities across Canada report a history of cohabitation with wolves. In some communities, it is considered high praise to be described as “hunting like a wolf.”footnote 9 Athabascan Nations consider the wolf as important as siblings. The traditional designation of some matrilineal clans as “wolf clans” in Huron, Mohawk, Oneida, and Onondaga cultures dates from the early adaptation to an agricultural lifestyle.footnote 10 In these clan systems, different clans are represented by different animals and birds;footnote 11 wolf clans were among the most common. Members of a clan try to abide by the values attributable to their clan animal, which is considered a relative and ancestor of the clan members.footnote 12

As described by McIntyre (1995), if a wolf is trapped accidentally and gravely injured, the situation is explained to the wolf before it is killed and the remains are handled with dignity in order to prevent bad spirits from affecting future hunting efforts.footnote 13 People from the Blackfoot Nation describe the wolf as a sacred medicine animal.footnote 13 Some describe the wolf “nation” as deserving the same rights as people. In addition, many First Nations stories and legends positively portray the wolf, referring to the wolf as an Elder, Teacher, Mentor or Benefactor.

Direct use by First Nations peoples through harvesting

First Nations peoples have been harvesting wolves for various purposes for centuries. For example, wolf parts were historically used among eastern woodlands, plains, and west coast First Nations communities for ritual and ceremonial purposes. In some instances, wolf skin pouches were used during ceremonies to enclose articles or objects of great significance.footnote 14 More generally, wolf bones, hair, teeth, skins and organs have been used in ceremonies.footnote 15 In some First Nations communities, wolf pelts were used in ceremonies to invoke wolf spirits.footnote 15 While details of sacred ceremonies involving the wolf are not sharable outside the various First Nations communities, some Mohawk and west coast First Nations ceremonies continue to include wolf parts.footnote 16

First Nations peoples from the eastern woodlands have harvested wolves for their hides and body parts to make clothing or utensils; and for decorative, recreational and trade purposes. They have also occasionally harvested wolves for their meat.footnote 17,footnote 17 However, other than in moments of food scarcity, wolves were rarely harvested for their meat by some First Nations peoples as the meat was regarded as inadequate nourishment.footnote 15 In other words, wolves would only be a last-resort food source.

Non-Indigenous trapping

Wolves and coyotes are harvested mostly through trapping for the purpose of selling their furs and hides for revenue. Based on Canadian fur auction results between 2016 and 2021,footnote 18 on a review of offerings on the market, and on anecdotal evidence, the value of an average Eastern Wolf pelt is estimated to be within a range of $65 to $204, depending on physical characteristics such as size and colour.footnote 19

Recreational value

Wolves provide recreational value to Canadians and visitors; many people enjoy observing wolves in the wild. One indicator of the recreational value provided by wolves is that wolves can be found in most major commercial zoos in Canada, which charge visitors a fee to enjoy watching fauna.footnote 20 One zoo even offers a “sleeping with the wolves” experience, in which visitors can reserve a night in lodging that has direct views on the zoo’s wolf enclosure (advertised from $549).footnote 21In Yellowstone National Park in the United States, the restoration of the wolf population has contributed $69 million in additional annual tourism revenues for local economies.footnote 22 Algonquin Provincial Park, which is home to most of the Eastern Wolf’s known occurrences, holds “wolf howl” events, during which rangers and visitors drive to a location and try to imitate wolf howls to prompt a response from wolf packs within the park.footnote 23 The last successful “wolf howl” in Algonquin Provincial Park had 1 204 people participating.footnote 24

Existence value

Many people derive well-being from simply knowing that a species exists now and may exist in the future. Although no quantitative estimates of the existence value of the Eastern Wolf exist, multiple studies indicate that society places substantial value on vulnerable species, especially charismatic, symbolic, or emblematic species.footnote 25,footnote 26,footnote 27 Wolves are iconic Canadian wildlife species, as indicated by their presence in most zoosfootnote 20 and their prominence in sports teams’ names.footnote 28 In addition, multiple valuation studies conducted before 2009 in the United States estimated at an average of $115 per householdfootnote 29 the willingness-to-pay a one-time payment for the reintroduction of the Grey Wolf in local natural spaces or to prevent its local extirpation. Although the willingness-to-pay for preventing the loss of the Eastern Wolf in Canada may be different, this study demonstrates the general public’s interest for wolf conservation.

Option value

Canadian residents and firms may hold a value associated with the preservation of Canadian genetic information that may be used in the future for biological, medicinal, genetic engineering and other applications. As the Eastern Wolf is genetically distinct from other canid species such as Grey Wolf and Eastern Coyote, it may have an option value related to research, disease prevention, and potential conservation options in the future.

Furthermore, a decision about whether to take action to prevent a species from becoming extinct involves several issues regarding uncertainty and irreversibility. In particular, the potential irreversibility of a decision to not protect creates an imbalance in the cost of making a “wrong” decision. Economic theory also suggests there is a benefit to erring on the side of avoiding an irreversible outcome (i.e. extinction).footnote 30 Therefore, even in situations where protection costs outweigh benefits, with uncertainty and irreversibility, the added costs of an incorrect decision could tip the balance, making the overall benefits of protection outweigh the costs.


Costs to First Nations peoples, federal departments and other stakeholders are expected to arise from compliance with general prohibitions, including potential permit applications, and compliance with any future critical habitat protection orders on federal lands. Costs to the Government of Canada would include the effort to develop the recovery strategy and the action plan, permit application processing, as well as enforcement and compliance promotion activities. These costs are discussed further below.

Costs to First Nations peoples of complying with general prohibitions

First Nations peoples that trap canids on reserves could potentially be affected by the proposed Order, as general prohibitions would no longer allow this activity on federal lands, regardless of purpose. Trapping is the largest anthropogenic threat to the Eastern Wolf’s recovery.footnote 31 There are indications that trapping for wolves and coyotes is occurring within the Eastern Wolf’s extent of occurrencefootnote 32 and that some members of potentially implicated First Nations reserves may engage in this activity. However, it is difficult to estimate the level of Eastern Wolf trapping relative to trapping of other canid species, and, more specifically, to estimate the extent of Eastern Wolf trapping occurring on First Nations reserves as opposed to off reserves. Of the 14 First Nations reserves where the Eastern Wolf could be found, 3 do not have conditions that would be suitable for trapping, while the rest are considered suitable for trapping.

Analysis of commercial trapping losses to First Nations trappers

Given a lack of data on First Nations trapping on reserve and uncertainties regarding how trappers would adjust behaviour to comply with the proposed Order, three scenarios were developed to estimate potential impacts of the proposed Order on commercial trapping. The scenarios do not provide advice on how or where a trapper should conduct trapping activities, but were instead created for impact analysis purposes. The scenarios are presented in increasing order of estimated costs to First Nations trappers.

Scenario 1: First Nations trappers choose to trap canids off reserves on non-federal land rather than on reserve

The first scenario is based on anecdotal evidence and the Eastern Wolf’s preferred avoidance of areas occupied by humans. One of the main assumptions is that only minimal or zero trapping of canids currently occurs on reserves within the Eastern Wolf’s extent of occurrence. For those cases where First Nations trappers do engage in the trapping of canids on reserves, this scenario assumes that they would choose to trap canids off reserves in order to comply with the general prohibitions against killing individuals set out under SARA. This is based on the assumption that they could not trap other wolves without significant risks of unintentional Eastern Wolf catch. It is also assumed that targeting coyotes on reserves would still pose a risk, although moderate, of unintentionally catching Eastern Wolf. There may be costs related to relocating traps outside reserves and having to travel farther distances to trap lines. Geospatial analysis has shown that lands surrounding most First Nations reserves are likely suitable to Eastern Wolf, which means First Nations trappers would only travel a relatively short distance to reach new trapping areas, for the most part.

For this scenario, based on the distance travelled to substitute trapping outside the Eastern Wolf’s range, the net estimated loss to First Nations peoples could range from zero to a few thousand dollars per year. However, it is assumed that the lost revenue would be offset by higher prices to maintain profits from selling canids harvested off reserve (on non-federal lands).

Scenario 2: First Nations trappers on reserves substitute wolf trapping equipment to target other species

Although not necessarily suitable from a cultural perspective, this scenario presumes that a proportion of First Nations trappers would choose to change their trapping equipment to target other species on reserve (e.g. coyote, beaver). This is based on two assumptions: first, some First Nations trappers may find it easier or may prefer pursuing trapping activities on reserve, instead of substituting trapping locations; second, coyote traps and trapping practices are considered different enough from those of wolves to prevent most or any accidental Eastern Wolf catch.footnote 33 The trappers that would choose to substitute their equipment would be required to buy new equipment and adjust their trapping practices to target and catch non-wolf animals.

Although a potentially higher-cost option for First Nations trappers, it is expected that they would not suffer high losses under this scenario, which could be a more viable option in cases where using lands surrounding reserves for trapping wolves would not be the chosen alternative. In this scenario, it is assumed that there are no other factors preventing an increase in trapping of other species (e.g. population sustainability) which equals the decrease in canid trapping.

Scenario 3: First Nations trappers cease all canid trapping activities on First Nations reserve and federal lands

Although anecdotal evidence alludes to minimal trapping occurring on reserves, the full extent of trapping on reserves remains unknown at this time. Therefore, to remain conservative, this higher cost scenario assumes that 100% of the canids harvested by First Nations peoples are caught on federal reserves. This means that a relatively high number of canids are assumed to be caught every year on the implicated First Nations reserves. To comply with general prohibitions under SARA against killing Eastern Wolf individuals, this scenario assumes that First Nations trappers would cease all canid trapping on reserves. This assumes that they could not trap for other wolves without a high risk of catching Eastern Wolves and they would believe that traps targeting coyotes would still pose a risk of catching Eastern Wolves as bycatch. Some trappers may substitute with trapping off reserve (on non-federal lands) and with trapping for non-canid species. However, it is assumed that these alternatives would not be sufficient to compensate entirely for the loss due to the relatively high number of trappers engaged in canid trapping under the assumptions of this scenario.

In addition, this scenario assumes that zero substitutions take place. Therefore, the loss to First Nations communities is estimated using an approximation of the number of canids harvested by First Nations trappers and then multiplying it by an average value per pelt based on market price. Approximately 50% of trappers in Canada identify as Indigenous.footnote 34 Therefore, it is assumed that 50% of Eastern Wolves trapped were trapped by Indigenous peoples. This factor is then multiplied by the number of wolf and coyote hides harvested in the Eastern Wolf’s extent of occurrence as per provincial published statistics, which results in the approximate number of canid harvests that are attributable to First Nations trappers. Fur and hide prices vary widely based on multiple factors such as physical characteristics (e.g. size, colour). Based on reports of sales from prominent fur auctions, a range of average canid pelt value of $77 to $248 is used for this analysis.footnote 35 As there is no way to estimate the average expenses/spending associated with wolf trapping and hide selling, the losses to First Nations trappers are based on revenues.

Based on these assumptions and available data, estimates of losses to First Nations trappers for this scenario range from $50,000 to $150,000 annually, or between $400,000 and $1.2 million over 10 years. These estimates are considered overestimates based on the conservative nature of the assumptions taken.

It is expected that scenarios 1 or 2 would be more likely to materialize than scenario 3, based on the most rational behaviour expected to be adopted by First Nations trappers that engage in the trapping of canids on reserves.

Analysis of trapping and possession on First Nations reserves for non-commercial purposes

Under SARA, the possession of Eastern Wolf parts or derivatives for ceremonial or medicinal purposes would still be allowed on First Nations reserves following the implementation of the proposed Order. Based on consultation results, there is no indication that Eastern Wolf parts are kept on reserves other than for ceremonial or medicinal purposes. While possession for these purposes is exempted under SARA, killing Eastern Wolves on First Nations reserves would be prohibited. Therefore, in addition to the costs related to the prohibition of commercial trapping, there may be costs to First Nations peoples related to these other purposes, which are not considered in the three previous scenarios.

To comply with general prohibitions, there is a high likelihood that those First Nations trappers would substitute that activity with trapping off reserve on non-federal lands. These trappers would assume costs corresponding to the distance they would travel to reach a new trapping location off reserve. Assuming trapping for non-commercial purposes is relatively infrequent, these First Nations Indigenous trappers would likely assume minimal costs.

There is also a possibility that some trappers would stop trapping for canids altogether. Although customs of First Nations peoples and communities within the Eastern Wolf’s extent of occurrence are not entirely known, it is assumed that if trappers halted canid trapping, they could lose the opportunity to benefit from the traditional uses of the hides or body parts of wolves. This could be for purposes, such as ceremonies, which can be central to the identity of many First Nations peoples,footnote 15,footnote 36 as well as for decorative or recreational purposes, or as artefacts.footnote 37 They would also lose the capacity to use this particular experience as an opportunity to pass on knowledge and teach specific skills to younger members of their family or to enjoy interactions inherent to this activity, such as connecting with one another, including family and friends. A part of these losses could be substituted at a moderate cost through buying hides on the fur market, although uses that rely on the actual trapping experience could not be substituted.footnote 38

Additionally, some First Nations trappers may be targeting canids on reserves to reduce the predation on other species that represent their main trapping targets for either revenue or consumption purposes. In preventing future canid trapping on First Nations reserves, the proposed Order may affect the productivity of these First Nations trappers’ other trap lines, which could result in revenue losses, the extent of which has not been estimated due to significant uncertainty.

Analysis of costs to other government departments

There are ten federally administered properties under the authority of five different federal departments and agencies identified as both being located within the Eastern Wolf’s extent of occurrence and containing habitat at least somewhat suitable to the Eastern Wolf that may be affected by the proposed Order. However, there are no indications that trapping, the largest human threat to the Eastern Wolf, occurs on these properties. Minimal impacts from the proposed Order are expected for all these properties with the exception of the Chalk River Laboratories (CRL) property where there may be a planned development project. These properties are listed in the table below.

Table 1: List of federally administered properties potentially affected by the proposed Order
Name of property Federal Department owner Region
Burwash Military Training Site Department of National Defence Northern Ontario
Canadian Forces Base (CFB) Petawawa Department of National Defence Eastern Ontario
Chalk River Laboratories Atomic Energy of Canada Limited Eastern Ontario
Georgian Bay Islands National Park Parks Canada Agency Central Ontario
Killaloe/Bonnechere Airport Transport Canada Northern Ontario
Nuclear Power Demonstration Reactor site Atomic Energy of Canada Limited Eastern Ontario
CFB Valcartier Department of National Defence Capitale-Nationale, Quebec
Forges du Saint-Maurice National Historic Site Parks Canada Agency Mauricie, Quebec
Gatineau Park National Capital Commission Outaouais, Quebec
La Mauricie National Park Parks Canada Agency Mauricie, Quebec

Two properties owned by Atomic Energy of Canada Limited (AECL), the CRL and a site referred to as the Nuclear Power Demonstration Reactor site, are operated by Canadian Nuclear Laboratories (CNL), a government-owned contractor-operated company. Trapping on AECL properties is not authorized, and CNL has an environmental and wildlife management program which helps support compliance with SARA and overall limits negative impacts of its activities over local fauna and flora. However, following concerns raised by CNL during consultations conducted in 2017, the Department consulted with them again in 2022 to obtain additional details on potential impacts to their plans and activities. One such plan is the proposed construction of the Near Surface Disposal Facility (NSDF) on the CRL property for storing nuclear waste generated by the local nuclear reactors managed by CNL.footnote 39 In their 2022 consultation feedback, CNL confirmed the continued presence of wolf packs as well as active wolf dens on the CRL property. These wolves have not been genetically tested, but the adjacent CFB Petawawa property has determined through genetic testing that wolves occurring on their property are Eastern Wolves. Therefore, there is a high likelihood that wolves occurring on the CRL property are Eastern Wolves.

The NSDF’s construction phase would start with the destruction of a forested patch of land to prepare the site, which has old, inactive, unused wolf dens located on it. These dens are likely inactive because of the proximity, i.e. less than 1 km, to the significant activity occurring at the CRL facilities, where more than 2 800 people work, as well as because of the proximity, i.e. 200 m, to the main road leading to the facilities. Given that the dens are inactive, they would not be considered a species’ residence under SARA, and therefore the project would not be affected directly by the proposed Order. However, it could be significantly affected by eventual subsequent critical habitat protection if events unfold in a specific order. The project has remained at the regulatory approval stage for some time, including a federal environmental assessment, since 2016, which has led to accumulated delays in its process. Therefore, the timeline for potential approval and a subsequent start of construction is currently unpredictable. As the timeline is key in determining whether CNL’s project may be affected by the proposed Order, four scenarios based on different primary assumptions were designed and assessed based on further input provided by CNL in early 2023.

Among these scenarios, three could likely occur and would result in negligible to no costs for CNL, and the fourth, which is significantly less likely to occur, could result in major costs for CNL.footnote 40 Because the fourth scenario has a very low probability of occurrence, the associated costs were not estimated by the Department. CNL has, however, provided its own estimate of costs at up to $160 million, which corresponds to the cancellation of the NSDF project and the restart of the whole planning and approval process from the beginning to build a substitute project at an alternative location. The proposed Order is not expected to significantly affect activities at AECL’s Nuclear Power Demonstration Reactor site, and CNL is therefore not likely to incur incremental costs overall for its operations at either site, other than for potential permit applications.

Two military bases and one shooting range owned by the Department of National Defence (DND) contain habitat suitable for the Eastern Wolf: CFB Petawawa, CFB Valcartier and the Burwash Military Training Site. There are limited impacts expected for DND, as trapping is not authorized and DND has environmental and wildlife management programs in place to support compliance with SARA and other environmental legislation. However, where activities are related to national security or authorized under another Act of Parliament, the properties or portions of them may be exempted from the general prohibitions and critical habitat protections under SARA.

Three Parks Canada Agency administered properties contain habitat that could be suitable to the Eastern Wolf, but only La Mauricie National Park is likely to have Eastern Wolf occurrences. Therefore, and given it contains pristine habitat for the Eastern Wolf, critical habitat has high potential of being identified within this property. However, species and habitats are already afforded protection in national parks and national historic sites under the Canada National Parks Act. Therefore, the Parks Canada Agency would incur no incremental impacts from having to comply with general prohibitions or from a potential critical habitat protection order stemming from the proposed Order. However, it is expected that Parks Canada Agency SARA compliant permits may be needed for some activities in this park, as described further below.

A property owned by Transport Canada (TC) is currently in the process of being transferred to a First Nation. Given this ongoing process, TC has ceased all activities at the property, and is therefore not implicated by the proposed Order.

Gatineau Park, which is under the authority and management of the National Capital Commission (NCC), was identified as having habitat somewhat suitable to the Eastern Wolf. However, previous surveys and anecdotal evidence indicate that local wild canids are either coyotes or grey wolves.footnote 41,footnote 42

Costs of permit applications

Permits would be required for activities that would otherwise be prohibited under SARA. Although no conclusions can be made on whether a permit could be issued prior to the submission and review of the application, this analysis considers the potential labour cost implications of applying for a permit as a result of the proposed Order and assumes that no further costs are incurred by applicants related to prohibitions, i.e. the permit would be approved. It is assumed that applicants would need to apply for each required permit only once over the 10-year analytical period.

Based on the analysis of upcoming projects, it is unlikely that many permit applications would be submitted for incidental activities. On the other hand, research permits and those for activities benefiting the species or required to enhance its chance of survival in the wild are likely to be applied for. In addition to the consultations for the change in status for this species, there have been ongoing consultations on the development of the management plan. The Department’s consultations and these recovery engagement efforts have shown that at least some First Nations communities have already participated in or are actively participating in ongoing research activities targeting Eastern Wolf recovery, some as part of various conservation funding programs. Some First Nations have also signified their interest to collaborate with the federal government on conservation and recovery of the Eastern Wolf during pre-consultations.

Assuming one First Nation will apply for permits on behalf of all First Nations reserves with which they are associated, it is estimated that bands would apply for 12 permits.footnote 43 Of these 12, up to 2 permits are expected for activities where affecting the species is incidental to the conducting of a specific activity, and the rest is assumed to be for research related to the conservation of the species or for activities that benefit the species. These permits are estimated to cost the First Nations up to $18,000 (undiscounted) in administrative costs.

Federal departments are anticipated to apply for 10 permits in total, with up to 6 for activities where affecting the species is incidental to conducting a specific activity, 1 for research purposes or to benefit the species and 3 to make Parks Canada Agency permits under the Canada National Parks Act SARA compliant. Given the extensive presence of wolves on its properties, which is likely to be identified as Eastern Wolf, CNL has estimated above average costs per permit application. Therefore, the potential incremental resources required for the preparation of permit applications and notification letters are approximately $48,000 (undiscounted) in labour cost. Based on the average expected permitting costs, the costs of permits for all other federal properties are estimated to reach up to $15,000 (undiscounted) in administrative costs.

The total incremental costs to the Government of Canada associated with the review of these 22 potential permit applications, 19 of which would be for new permits and 3 of which would be the SARA compliant increment, in the 10 years following the listing are estimated to reach up to $65,000 (undiscounted).

Table 2a: Average applicant cost for SARA permit applications
Type of permit application Cost per permit table b2 note a Number of applications
Incidental impact permit $2,700 8
Research permit $1,300 11
The Parks Canada Agency on Parks Canada Agency administered land $800 3

Table b2 note(s)

Table b2 note a

With exceptions. Estimates have been rounded.

Return to table b2 note a referrer

Table 2b: Average government cost for SARA permit applications
Type of permit application Cost per permit table b3 note a Number of applications
New permit — the Department $3,400 19
SARA compliant increment permit — the Department $700 3

Table b3 note(s)

Table b3 note a

With exceptions. Estimates have been rounded.

Return to table b3 note a referrer

Administrative costs to the Government of Canada

The cost to the Government of Canada to develop the recovery strategy and the action plan for the Eastern Wolf is estimated to be between $160,000 and $400,000 (undiscounted).

Implications in terms of compliance promotion for the Eastern Wolf are uncertain at this time, but assumptions based on the activities expected to be undertaken and material expected to be developed is estimated to be $15,000 in the first year of implementation of the proposed Order.

The proposed Order is expected to generate enforcement costs for the Government of Canada. Pre-operational enforcement efforts (i.e. strategic development and engagement with First Nations peoples and stakeholders) are estimated to cost about $48,000. The enforcement cost during the first year of implementation is estimated at about $100,000. This includes $34,000 for engagement and analysis, $48,000 for inspections and $18,000 for measures to deal with any alleged violations. The estimated total for each subsequent year of operation is estimated to be $55,000, for a total cost of $600,000 over 10 years.

Implications on impact assessments

There could be some implications for projectsfootnote 44 required to undergo an impact assessment (IA) by or under an Act of Parliament. However, any costs are expected to be minimal relative to the total cost of performing an IA. Once a species is listed in Schedule 1 of SARA, under any designation, additional requirements under section 79 of SARA are triggered for project proponents and government officials undertaking an IA. These requirements include identifying all adverse effects that the project could have on the species and its critical habitat and, if the project is carried out, to ensure that measures are taken to avoid or lessen those effects and to monitor them. However, the Department always recommends to proponents in IA guidelines (early in the IA process) to evaluate effects on species already assessed by COSEWIC that may become listed under Schedule 1 of SARA in the near future, so these costs are likely already incorporated in the baseline scenario.

Potential impact on future SARA regulations

The listing of a wildlife species under SARA as threatened, endangered or extirpated triggers a series of obligations for the government, including the preparation of a recovery strategy that includes the identification, to the extent possible, of the habitat necessary for the survival or recovery of the species (critical habitat), and different obligations regarding the protection of that critical habitat. Protecting critical habitat on federal lands is required under SARA and could require regulatory action. If the Minister formed the opinion that critical habitat on non-federal land was not effectively protected or that there was an imminent threat to species, other regulatory action could be taken under SARA. The socio-economic impacts of each regulatory action would be assessed if this additional protection became necessary.

Summary of benefit-cost analysis

Implications for affected First Nations

Given the significant cultural and spiritual value associated with wolves, including the Eastern Wolf, within the traditions of many First Nations in Canada, First Nations peoples would likely benefit more than any other demographic groups in Canada from any measure that contributes to the protection and conservation of this species.

General prohibitions may impact Indigenous peoples if they engage in trapping of canids on the First Nations reserves located within the Eastern Wolf’s extent of occurrence. As they would no longer be permitted to harm or kill an Eastern Wolf on federal land, trappers may have to change their trapping activities to ensure compliance with the proposed Order. There are indications that trapping for wolves and coyotes does occur within the Eastern Wolf’s extent of occurrence and that members of these potentially implicated First Nations reserves engage in this activity. However, canid trapping is likely practised by only a small proportion of these individuals, and the proportion of those who practise it on reserves is likely significantly smaller.

Table 3: Summary of non-monetized costs to First Nations affected by the proposed Order
Affected activity Description of cost
First Nations trapping for
non-commercial purposes
There may also be an impact on First Nations peoples who occasionally engage in trapping of canids on reserves for non-commercial purposes and end-uses (e.g. cultural or ceremonial). Although disproportionate impacts for these individuals could be expected, it is assumed that they could continue engaging in non-commercial trapping beyond the reserves’ boundaries, on non-federal lands, where there is likely significantly more habitat suitable to canids, and presumably more canids. This would somewhat mitigate the resulting negative impacts on these individuals.
Table 4: Summary of monetized costs to First Nations affected by the proposed Order
Affected activity Description of cost Monetized total present value (over 10 years) table b5 note a
First Nations trapping for commercial purposes Avoidance of canid trapping on First Nations reserves $0 to $1.2 million
Activity resulting in incidental takes of Eastern Wolves Permit applications by First Nations bands $18,000

Table b5 note(s)

Table b5 note a

Using a discount rate of 3%.

Return to table b5 note a referrer

Other benefits of the proposed Order

Other than contributing to the preservation of the cultural and spiritual value of the Eastern Wolf to First Nations peoples as mentioned above, the proposed Order is expected to trigger protections and coordinated actions to support recovery of the Eastern Wolf, which will help to preserve and enhance economic, recreational, and cultural opportunities for Canadians (e.g. wildlife watching and continued existence of an iconic Canadian species).

Costs to the Government of Canada
Table 5: Summary of costs to the Government of Canada
Affected stakeholder Description of cost Monetized total present value (over 10 years) table b6 note a
Other departments and agencies Permit applications $65,000
Department of the Environment Permit applications processing $65,000
Department of the Environment Development and publication of recovery strategy and action plan $150,000 to $380,000
Department of the Environment Compliance promotion $15,000
Department of the Environment Enforcement $600,000
Total — Monetized costs n/a $900,000 to $1.1 million

Table b6 note(s)

Table b6 note a

Using a discount rate of 3%.

Return to table b6 note a referrer

The total incremental monetized costs to society of the proposed Order are expected to be low, as they are estimated to be between $900,000 and $2.4 million over 10 years.

Small business lens

Analysis under the small business lens concluded that certain Canadian small businesses would be affected by the proposed Order. First Nations trappers that engage in commercial trapping of canids on First Nations reserves could be affected by the proposed Order. It may force them to mitigate their activities to avoid catching Eastern Wolves, which could result in incremental costs for them. However, based on the multi-scenario analysis presented above, it is expected that trappers will choose the two most likely scenarios, which would not result in significant costs for them. In the unlikely event that they would decide to stop trapping for canids altogether and not substitute with trapping of other species or trap off reserves and not on federal lands, the proposed Order may result in higher costs for the trappers.

One-for-one rule

The one-for-one rule does not apply, as there is no incremental change in the administrative burden on businesses and no regulatory titles are repealed or introduced.

CNL is likely to carry administrative costs due to new permit applications required to make their activities compliant under SARA once the Eastern Wolf’s status is up-listed to “threatened.” Since CNL is operating on behalf of the Government of Canada, in this role it does not meet the definition of a business for the purposes of this analysis.

Regulatory cooperation and alignment

The federal government plays a leadership role as federal regulator in the designation of species at risk in Canada. However, the protection of wildlife species is a responsibility shared between the federal, provincial and territorial levels of government.

In the Province of Ontario, the Eastern Wolf is listed under Ontario’s Endangered Species Act, 2007, as a species of special concern. In Ontario, wolves are protected from regulated hunting and trapping in the Algonquin Provincial Park, in the townships surrounding the park, and in all provincial Crown Game Preserves. Eastern Wolves are also protected from hunting, but not from trapping, in the French River Provincial Park. In the Province of Quebec, wolves are considered a furbearer, and hunting and trapping of the species is regulated under the Act Respecting the Conservation and Development of Wildlife. However, they are not protected under the Act Respecting Threatened or Vulnerable Species. At the time of publication of the COSEWIC assessment in 2015, the Eastern Wolf was not officially recognized as a distinct species by the Government of Quebec. That was still the case as of February 2023.

The provincial and territorial governments have indicated their commitment to protecting and recovering species at risk through their endorsement of the Accord for the Protection of Species at Risk in 1996. In this spirit of cooperation, the Government of Ontario and the Government of Quebec provided comments during the development of the Eastern Wolf’s management plan. These acts of provincial cooperation are expected to continue with future development of the recovery strategy and action plans. The development of the recovery strategy and action plans, which would be triggered after amending the status of the species included in the proposed Order, would also require input from and coordination with different land management authorities such as other levels of government and Indigenous communities.

Strategic environmental assessment

A strategic environmental assessment concluded that the proposed Order would result in important positive environmental effects. Specifically, it demonstrated that the protection of wildlife species at risk contributes to national biodiversity and protects ecosystem productivity, health and resiliency.

The proposed Order would help Canada meet its commitments under the Convention on Biological Diversity. Given the interdependency of species, a loss of biodiversity can lead to decreases in ecosystem functions and services. These services are important to the health of Canadians and have important ties to Canada’s economy. The Eastern Wolf is considered an important keystone species that provide important ecosystem services such as nutrient cycling, which helps to keep ecosystems productive, and animal population control, which helps to maintain optimal habitat for other animals and plant species. Slight changes within an ecosystem resulting in the loss of individuals and species can therefore have adverse, irreversible and broad-ranging effects.

The proposed Order supports the 2022 to 2026 Federal Sustainable Development Strategy (FSDS) goal to “protect and recover species, conserve Canadian biodiversity” by directly supporting the protection and recovery of the Eastern Wolf, thereby conserving Canadian biodiversity. The proposed Order supports this goal by helping to ensure that the Eastern Wolf is provided appropriate protection, consistent with the recommendations made by COSEWIC, and can benefit from recovery measures, as appropriate. It would also indirectly contribute to the FSDS goal of “Take Action on Climate Change and its Impacts” by supporting the conservation of biodiversity, because the forest ecosystems of the Eastern Wolf play a key role in mitigating climate change impacts, as they sequester atmospheric carbon. The proposed Order also supports the goals of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development of the United Nations concerning life on land (goal 15) and climate action (goal 13).

The proposed Order would also support the recently adopted Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Frameworkfootnote 45 and the overarching global goal regarding the “sustainable use and management of biodiversity to ensure that nature’s contributions to people are valued, maintained, and enhanced.”

Gender-based analysis plus

A gender-based analysis plus (GBA+) was conducted for this proposal, looking at whether characteristics such as sex, gender, age, race, sexual orientation, income, education, employment status, language, visible minority status, region of residence, disability or religion could influence how a person is impacted by the proposed Order.

The analysis found that, in general, Canadians benefit positively from the protection of species at risk and from maintaining biodiversity. However, First Nations peoples, in particular male trappers, may disproportionately experience negative impacts because of the proposed Order, as they are generally more engaged in trapping activities than any other demographic group across Canada. It could be challenging for them to try to compensate for the loss of revenue arising from having to decrease or cease canid trapping habits in order to avoid Eastern Wolf by-catch, and to find an alternative source of income. A 2015–2016 First Nations Regional Health Survey reported that 4.3% of First Nations adults (6.9% males and 1.6% females) across Canada engaged in trapping activities during the three months prior to the survey.footnote 46 Of the approximately 50 000 active trappers across Canada, half are estimated to be Indigenous peoples.footnote 47

Although the number of Indigenous trappers that engage in canid trapping on the implicated First Nations reserves as well as their sociodemographic profile are unknown, a Quebec provincial survey determined that in 2016, around 95% of all trappers were male, while 70% of trappers were also over 44 years old, and 45% had high school education, or less.footnote 48

Implementation, compliance and enforcement, and service standards

The proposed Order would come into force on the day on which it is registered.

If the Eastern Wolf is up-listed from a species of special concern to threatened, the Department and the Parks Canada Agency would implement a compliance promotion plan. Compliance promotion initiatives are proactive measures that encourage voluntary compliance with the law through education and outreach activities and help raise awareness and understanding of the prohibitions. Compliance promotion initiatives aim to

These objectives may be accomplished, where applicable, through the dissemination of information products to Indigenous peoples and/or stakeholders explaining new prohibitions on federal lands with respect to the Eastern Wolf as it relates to the proposed Order. These products would be posted on the Species at Risk Public Registry. Mail-outs and presentations to targeted audiences may also be considered, as needed.

Within Parks Canada Agency’s network of protected heritage places, front-line staff are given the appropriate information regarding the species at risk found within their sites to inform visitors of prevention measures and engage them in the protection and conservation of species at risk.

SARA provides for penalties for contraventions to the Act, including fines or imprisonment, seizure and forfeiture of things seized or the proceeds of its disposition. Agreements on alternative measures may also be used to deal with an alleged offender under certain conditions. SARA also provides for inspections and search and seizure operations by enforcement officers designated under SARA. The offences and punishments are set out under SARA.footnote 49

Permits issued under SARA

Under section 73 of SARA, the competent minister may enter into an agreement or issue a permit authorizing a person to engage in an activity affecting a listed wildlife species, any part of its critical habitat, or the residences of its individuals. Section 74 allows for the competent minister to issue permits under another Act of Parliament (e.g. the Canada National Parks Act) that would have the same effect as those issued under section 73. SARA sets out the conditions and factors that the Minister must consider before issuing a permit.

Under the Permits Authorizing an Activity Affecting Listed Wildlife Species Regulations, the Department is normally required to make a decision on a permit application within 90 days. The 90-day countdown begins on the date of the notice informing an applicant that the Department has received a complete application. If an application is incomplete, the Department will notify the applicant, and the time limit will be suspended until all the missing information is received. The Regulations set out the exceptions to the 90-day service standard. The purpose of the service standards is to contribute to consistency, predictability and transparency of the SARA permitting process by providing applicants with clear and measurable service standards for the permit application process. The Department measures its service performance annually, and performance information is posted on the Department’s website no later than June 1 for the preceding fiscal year.


Paula Brand
Species at Risk Act Policy Division
Canadian Wildlife Service
Environment and Climate Change Canada
351 Saint-Joseph Boulevard, 15th floor
Gatineau, Quebec
J8Y 3Z5
Telephone: 1‑800‑668‑6767


Notice is given that the Governor in Council, pursuant to subsection 27(1) of the Species at Risk Actfootnote a, proposes to make the annexed Order Amending Schedule 1 to the Species at Risk Act.

Interested persons may make representations concerning the proposed Order within 30 days after the date of publication of this notice. They are strongly encouraged to use the online commenting feature that is available on the Canada Gazette website but if they use email, mail or any other means, the representations should cite the Canada Gazette, Part I, and the date of publication of this notice, and be sent to Paula Brand, Director, Species at Risk Act Policy, Canadian Wildlife Service, Department of the Environment, Gatineau, Quebec J8Y 3Z5 (tel.: 1‑800‑668‑6767; email:

Ottawa, October 23, 2023

Wendy Nixon
Assistant Clerk of the Privy Council

Order Amending Schedule 1 to the Species at Risk Act


1 Part 3 of Schedule 1 to the Species at Risk Act footnote a is amended by adding the following in alphabetical order under the heading “Mammals”:

2 Part 4 of Schedule 1 to the Act is amended by striking out the following under the heading “Mammals”:

Coming into Force

3 This Order comes into force on the day on which it is registered.

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