Vol. 148, No. 26 — December 17, 2014
SOR/2014-274 November 26, 2014
SPECIES AT RISK ACT
Order Amending Schedule 1 to the Species at Risk Act
P.C. 2014-1291 November 25, 2014
Whereas the Minister of the Environment, pursuant to subsection 29(1) of the Species at Risk Act (see footnote a), is of the opinion that there is an imminent threat to the survival of the species specified in the annexed Order;
Therefore, His Excellency the Governor General in Council, on the recommendation of the Minister of the Environment, pursuant to subsection 27(1) of the Species at Risk Act (see footnote b), makes the annexed Order Amending Schedule 1 to the Species at Risk Act.
ORDER AMENDING SCHEDULE 1 TO THE SPECIES AT RISK ACT
1. Part 2 of Schedule 1 to the Species at Risk Act (see footnote 1) is amended by adding the following in alphabetical order under the heading “MAMMALS”:
- Bat, Tri-colored (Perimyotis subflavus)
Pipistrelle de l’Est
- Myotis, Little Brown (Myotis lucifugus)
Petite chauve-souris brune
- Myotis, Northern (Myotis septentrionalis)
COMING INTO FORCE
2. This Order comes into force on the day on which it is registered.
REGULATORY IMPACT ANALYSIS STATEMENT
(This statement is not part of the Order.)
It is estimated that since 2010, what was once likely Canada’s most widespread and common bat, the Little Brown Myotis (Myotis lucifugus), has declined by 94% from Nova Scotia to Ontario. Another of Canada’s most widespread bats, the Northern Myotis (Myotis septentrionalis) is also estimated to have suffered a 94% decline in the eastern part of its Canadian range, while a third bat, the Tri-colored Bat (Perimyotis subflavus) is estimated to have declined by over 75%. These declines are due to a highly contagious fungus, Pseudogymnoascus destructans, which grows on these species of bats while they hibernate, causing a disease known as White-nose Syndrome (WNS). These declines are considered by some experts to be the most rapid decline of mammals ever documented anywhere. At the rate at which the disease is spreading, scientists predict that the entire Canadian range of these bats will be infected within 12 to 18 years. It is likely that without additional actions to limit the spread of WNS and protections to help provide for the survival of possibly resilient individuals, these three bat species will face extirpation (i.e. they would no longer exist in the wild in Canada, but would exist elsewhere in the wild).
On February 3, 2012, an emergency assessment subcommittee of the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC) assessed three bat species as “Endangered” in Canada: the Little Brown Myotis (Myotis lucifugus), the Northern Myotis (Myotis septentrionalis) and the Tri-colored Bat (Perimyotis subflavus) [Table 1], which means that these three wildlife species are facing imminent extirpation or extinction.
The 2012 emergency assessments of the imminent threat posed by WNS to these three bat species were substantiated by verifiable evidence, which included evidence of the declines to these bats in Canada and the United States.
Shortly thereafter, the Chair of COSEWIC sent a letter to the Minister of the Environment requesting that in accordance with subsection 29(1) of SARA, she recommend to the Governor in Council that an Emergency Listing Order be made to list them on Schedule 1 of the Species at Risk Act (SARA). In November of 2013, COSEWIC reassessed the three bat species through the regular COSEWIC process, using a status report that compiles and analyzes the best available information on the species status in Canada. This reassessment confirmed COSEWIC’s original emergency assessment of Endangered. The report was received by the Minister of the Environment in October 2014.
Table 1: Three bat species assessed by the Committee on the Status of Wildlife in Canada
|Common name (Scientific name)
|Little Brown Myotis (Myotis lucifugus)
|Northern Myotis (Myotis septentrionalis)
|Tri-colored Bat (Perimyotis subflavus)
Both the 2012 and 2014 COSEWIC assessments indicated that the main threat to the survival of the three species of bats is the presence of a highly contagious fungus, Pseudogymnoascus destructans, in hibernation areas, such as caves and inactive mines. This fungus is responsible for the onset of WNS. The fungus is spreading rapidly and causing high rates of mortality for all three bat species. Bats affected by WNS arouse frequently during hibernation, depleting their limited resources (stored water, electrolytes and fat) and making them more likely to die.
The analysis done by Environment Canada contained herein for the three bat species was based on the information provided in the 2012 and 2014 COSEWIC assessments and three main assumptions are (a) the expectation that mortality trends from eastern populations in Canada will apply to the western Canadian populations; (b) that there is a high probability that WNS will rapidly spread to all hibernacula in the Canadian range; and (c) given the catastrophic declines in eastern Canada and the northeast United States, there is little likelihood of Canadian populations being rescued by individuals immigrating into Canada with a tolerance to WNS.
This fungus is thought to have originated in Europe and was first recorded in the United States in 2006, and then arrived in Canada in 2010. The fungus grows in cold, humid environments; consequently, most of Canada’s bats that hibernate in cold, damp conditions are vulnerable to contracting the disease. The fungus is likely spread by contact between individual bats, their environments and by people who carry the fungus spores on their clothing, equipment, footwear or by other means. For example, there is a possibility that bats may become infected with WNS by recreational cavers, miners, or spelunkers who use contaminated equipment (e.g. boots, gloves) in multiple hibernacula. Given that the ranges and hibernation areas of the three bat species overlap, the disease can also be transmitted from one species to another. Although there is speculation that some individuals may be resistant to the fungus, there is little evidence of resistance to date. There is no known treatment or cure for WNS and bats do not appear to have developed immunity to it.
While information on WNS is somewhat limited, the evidence shows a rapid, catastrophic collapse in the bat population and a rapid spread of the disease. Recent counts at all Canadian hibernacula where WNS has been identified (see footnote 2) show declines ranging from 90–99% within two years of exposure (see footnote 3) for the Little Brown Myotis and Northern Myotis, and the disease is spreading at a rate of 200–250 km/year in Canada. It has now been identified in five Canadian provinces: Ontario, Quebec, Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick. By 2012, WNS killed an estimated seven million bats in North America. (see footnote 4) If WNS continues to spread in Canada at its current rate of 200–250 km/year, it could occur across Canada within 12 to 18 years. Some experts believe that Canada is likely to lose all its cave-dwelling bat species.
Bats are long-lived species (more than 30 years for the Little Brown Myotis) that have low annual reproductive rates. As their numbers decline, remaining individuals are increasingly important to the species’ survival. Even if a species develops a resistance to the fungus responsible for WNS, it could still take more than 70–100 years for the current population to double due to the low reproductive rates of all three species. In the meantime, slowing and/or stopping the spread of the fungus by strategies and activities developed through research and coordination supported by recovery planning may enable some populations to persist and provide for the re-establishment of neighbouring populations.
The Little Brown Myotis is an insect-eating bat found throughout much of Canada and the United States. Approximately 50% of its global range has historically been in Canada, occurring throughout much of Newfoundland and south-central Labrador, and across Canada below the tree-line to the Pacific Ocean, including Haida Gwaii and Vancouver Island. They have also occurred across the southern Northwest Territories and Yukon. Although population size is unknown, available data suggests that the Little Brown Myotis was the most common bat in much of Canada. Limited effort was made to determine its overall population size in the past because this wildlife species has been until recently relatively common, abundant, stable and widespread throughout Canada. Consequently, a sharp decline in their populations was never expected.
The Northern Myotis (commonly known as the Northern Long-eared Bat) is an insect-eating bat found throughout much of Canada and the northern United States. Approximately 40% of its global range is in Canada. (see footnote 5) Similar to the Little Brown Myotis, the Northern Myotis has been recorded from parts of Newfoundland and Labrador westward and south of the treeline to the Yukon and northern British Columbia. It is absent from the Canadian Prairies. Limited effort has also been made to determine its overall population size.
The Tri-colored Bat (formerly known as Eastern Pipistrelle) is an insect-eating bat found in southeastern Canada and throughout the eastern United States. Its occurrence has been recorded only in southern parts of Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Quebec and central Ontario southward. Overall population size is not known; however, approximately 15% of its global range is believed to be in Canada. The species roosts with Little Brown Myotis and Northern Myotis, but in much lower numbers.
The Little Brown Myotis, Northern Myotis and Tri-colored Bats are all highly susceptible to WNS. All three species are similar in body size, longevity, foraging habitat, food items and overwintering habitat. These three species may hibernate in the same hibernacula, and it is difficult to identify species at a distance or in crevices.
Given the low number of bats which remain following exposure to the fungus that causes WNS, and as bats are long-lived and have low annual reproductive rates, if bats are to survive and recover, it becomes increasingly important to protect them from other sources of mortality as WNS spreads. Other sources of mortality for the three bat species include chemical contamination, change in forest structure, collisions with wind turbines, injuries caused by differences in pressure around wind turbines (called barotrauma), disturbances to hibernating bats (depleting their resources for surviving the winter) and colony eradication (usually the result of destruction of summer colonies in buildings).
Estimates of how many bats have died in Canada are severely limited. For Tri-colored Bats, information on where they hibernate is limited; for Little Brown and Northern Myotis Bats, the information in much of their ranges is also lacking, particularly in the northern part of their ranges. Collecting information is difficult due to low survey effort, the large expanse of land, and absence of information of hibernacula locations.
All three bat species are found on both federal and non-federal lands within their respective ranges in Canada.
Throughout this Regulatory Impact Analysis Statement, the term “area of interest” is used to help identify the stakeholders and activities that could potentially be affected by the Emergency Listing Order. The area of interest refers to all lands subject to the Emergency Listing Order within the entire range where at least one of the three bat species occurs (i.e. the bats’ range). The lands that are subject to the Emergency Listing Order are (i) federal lands in the provinces, which include all property officially owned by the Government of Canada’s departments and agencies, reserve lands, and lands under long-term and comprehensive control of the Government of Canada; and (ii) federal lands under the authority of the Minister of the Environment or Parks Canada Agency in the territories, which include protected areas, migratory birds sanctuaries, national wildlife areas, national parks, etc.
As shown in Figure 1 below, the currently identified area of interest covers approximately 145 953 km2, accounting for roughly 4% of the overall area of bat ranges of the three species across Canada.
Within national parks and national park reserves named in Schedule 1 or 2 to the Canada National Parks Act (CNPA), the CNPA and its regulations protect bat hibernacula year-round. Specifically, section 8 of the National Park General Regulations prohibits access to caves and requires anyone entering to obtain written permission from the superintendent unless a notice permitting entry has been posted by the superintendent to the entrance to a cave.
This Emergency Listing Order adds the three bat species facing imminent threats to their survival and recovery to Schedule 1 of SARA as Endangered. Listing provides legal protection of these species when found on federal lands in the provinces (including reserve lands, and lands owned by or leased to federal departments or agencies) and, in the territories, on lands that are under the authority of the Minister of the Environment or the Parks Canada Agency.
The addition of the Little Brown Myotis, the Tri-colored Bat and the Northern Myotis to Schedule 1 of SARA as Endangered invokes the general prohibitions, which protect individuals of these three species of bats from being killed, harmed, harassed, captured and taken on the area of interest. In addition, listing prohibits individuals of these three species — as well as any part or derivative of an individual — from being possessed, collected, bought, sold or traded, and makes it an offence if their residences are damaged or destroyed on the area of interest. These prohibitions apply only on federal lands in the provinces and, in the territories, on federal lands that are under the authority of the Minister of the Environment or the Parks Canada Agency.
A person wishing to engage in an activity that would contravene one or more of the general prohibitions may apply to the Minister for a permit. A permit may be issued if the Minister is of the opinion that
- a) the activity is scientific research relating to the conservation of the species and conducted by qualified persons;
- b) the activity benefits the species or is required to enhance its chance of survival in the wild; or
- c) affecting the species is incidental to the carrying out of the activity.
Additionally, the permit may only be issued if the competent minister is of the opinion that
- a) all reasonable alternatives to the activity that would reduce the impact on the species have been considered, and the best solution has been adopted;
- b) 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
- c) the activity will not jeopardize the survival or recovery of the species.
The listing of these three species under SARA also triggers the recovery planning process in order to help ensure their survival and recovery, starting with the preparation of a recovery strategy within one year of listing.
The cost-benefit analysis discusses quantitative and qualitative incremental impacts of the Emergency Listing Order from a societal perspective. The analysis begins with a discussion of the benefits of the Emergency Listing Order in terms of the total economic value (TEV) of bats. The subsequent sections assess the impacts of the Emergency Listing Order on the three main sectors which may be affected by the Emergency Listing Order. For each sector, two scenarios are identified: 1) the business-as-usual scenario (BAU), and 2) the policy scenario. The BAU scenario refers to the current situation, i.e. the current activities ongoing in the area of interest as well as any projected changes over the next 10 years (2015–2024) that would occur without the Listing Order in place. The policy scenario refers to a situation in which the Emergency Listing Order is implemented within the area of interest over the same period. Subsequently, a quantitative and qualitative analysis of the incremental costs of the Emergency Listing Order was performed. Costs to the government and other sectors are also discussed. At the end of the analysis, a distributional analysis of these costs and benefits is presented.
The analysis of benefits mainly discusses qualitatively the benefits of the Emergency Listing Order in terms of the TEV of the three bat species. The cost analysis focuses on costs to the wind energy, mining, pest control, researcher and tourism sectors. The incremental costs associated with the Emergency Listing Order are expected to be low. An analytical period of 10 years (2015–2024) was selected, as it is expected that the status of the three bat species would be reassessed by COSEWIC within 10 years after the Emergency Listing Order comes into force.
Unless otherwise stated, all monetary values are in 2013 Canadian dollars. (see footnote 8) A discount rate of 3% is used to estimate the present value (PV) of the costs and benefits.
Benefits in terms of total economic value of bats
Any decision about whether to take action to prevent a species from becoming extinct involves three issues which do not usually occur simultaneously in most cost-benefit analyses:
- 1) There is uncertainty about whether the effort to prevent extirpation would be successful.
- 2) The costs associated with protecting the species are known with greater certainty than the benefits of protecting the species, making a calculation of probable net benefits difficult due to a lack of information.
- 3) A decision against protection where the species is ultimately lost cannot be reversed. However, a decision to protect could be reversed in the future, if it turns out that the costs of protection outweigh the benefits. In other words, the losses associated with a decision not to protect are irreversible if it results in extirpation of the species. In contrast, losses associated with a decision to protect can usually be reversed if need be.
To reflect these challenges, the cost-benefit analysis presents the best available information and economic analysis possible. Preventing the extirpation of these species would likely result from the Emergency Listing Order in combination with additional protection measures undertaken by other levels of governments and stakeholders. Therefore, although the listing is likely a necessary condition for the survival of these species, the benefits described in this section cannot be attributed to the Emergency Listing Order alone. As a result, they are provided for context.
Given the broad range of ecological goods and services that the bats may provide to society, the TEV framework is adopted for assessing the benefits from the survival of the species.
The concept of TEV represents all economic values to society derived from an environmental asset such as a species at risk. The concept includes benefits that can be observed in terms of market and non-market values that contribute to the well-being of society. The total economic value of an environmental asset consists of use values and non-use values.
Use values can be further broken down into direct use value, indirect use value, and option value. Direct use value refers to the consumptive use of a resource such as its use as a food source, or to non-consumptive activities, such as observing a species in the wild. Indirect use value is derived from the use of some other good or service that is affected by the given environmental good. Option value represents the value of retaining the option of possible future uses associated with the species.
Non-use values include existence value and bequest value. The former refers to the altruistic value individuals derive from knowing that a species exists; the latter represents the altruistic value of preserving a species for future generations.
Although some of the values discussed below are associated with bats in general, the three bat species in question form an important part of the overall bat population in North America. Loss of any of these species in Canada would imply that certain benefits uniquely associated with the extirpated species would no longer be available for individuals and businesses in Canada. Although there are other species of bats in Canada, they have significantly different physiologies, behaviours and habitat preferences, and prey upon somewhat different insects than the three bat species that have been listed.
Consumptive use value
The only known consumptive use value associated with bats in Canada is derived from bat guano (i.e. bat excrement) which has been used to produce fertilizer. Guano is imported, or collected, and sold as a fertilizer by small-scale, independent enterprises. The quantity of guano sold and the revenue derived from it is currently unknown.
Non-consumptive use value
The non-consumptive use value of bats lies in their recreational, cultural, educational and research values.
The most important recreational service provided by bats is bat watching. The Vacationer’s Guide to Bat Watching (1998) (see footnote 9) lists more than 70 parks, zoos, museums, and other sites in the United States and Canada where visitors can view either wild or captive bats or participate in bat programs and exhibits. Tourist attractions known for bat viewing in Canada include the Bonnechere Caves in Ontario, (see footnote 10) Squilax General Store and Caboose Hostel in British Columbia, (see footnote 11) The Toronto Zoo, Biodôme de Montréal, and Peachland Primary School in British Columbia. (see footnote 12) It is not clear how many people have participated in these activities in Canada. Bat viewers and businesses offering bat-watching related supplies and services benefit from the presence of bats.
Indirect use value
The three bat species support healthy ecosystems by providing important ecological services such as pest control and the redistribution of nutrients. In general, these three species of bats are aerial insectivores and consume large quantities of insects. For example, one Little Brown Myotis can consume significant quantities of insects (e.g. more than 1 200 mosquito-sized insects in an hour) that are a nuisance to or harm people, or damage forests or a variety of important Canadian crops, including wheat and canola. (see footnote 13) Many of the flying insects that the three bat species consume are harmful to the agricultural and forestry sectors, and to property owners and municipalities. (see footnote 14), (see footnote 15) The potential benefits that society may derive from the bats’ pest control services may include increased crop and timber yield and avoided costs to farmers for pesticides.
While there is a lack of data on the biological pest control value of these three bat species specifically in Canada, preliminary analysis does show a link between the pest control services provided by the three species of bats and Canadian agriculture. The Little Brown Myotis, Northern Myotis and Tri-colored Bat each consume significant quantities of insects that damage a variety of Canadian crops, including wheat, barley, corn, oats, canola, flaxseed, and other oilseeds. For example, 4 of the 12 types of insects that affect winter and summer wheat production in Canada are preyed upon by at least one of the three bat species. Agricultural land for these crops overlaps to a large extent with the range of the three bat species, and generated approximately $20 billion in farm cash receipts in 2013. (see footnote 16) Historically, pests can reduce the yield of field crops by up to 35%. (see footnote 17) Controlling these pests often demands multiple insecticide treatments — total farm expenditures on pesticides in Canada are approximately $2.4 billion annually. (see footnote 18)
An American study (see footnote 19) estimated that another species of bat that fed upon cotton crop pests in southwest Texas provided a service valued between $154,000 and $2,193,000 annually (in 2013 $CAN). These values cannot be readily transferred to a Canadian context, since the consumption of pests varies across species, sites, and time of year. However, they do suggest the potential for the three bat species to have a significant impact on the Canadian economy and ecosystems.
Therefore, it can be safely assumed that the absence of these bats will have a negative impact on Canadian agriculture, either via reduced crop yields or increased costs associated with additional insecticide use. It is also worth noting that forestry businesses may benefit from the additional protection of the three bat species, since these bat species are extremely flexible in their diets and prey upon many different types of insects, including some that are among the most destructive to forests in Canada (e.g. spruce budworm, (see footnote 20) spruce beetle (see footnote 21) and forest tent caterpillar (see footnote 22)).
The three species of bats likely contribute pest control services beyond the agricultural and forestry sectors, such as in a residential context. Many cities are mandated to control insect populations, specifically for mosquitos. In fact, during the consultations related to this Emergency Listing Order, one municipality stated that any reduction in the local bat population could lead to increased costs associated with insect control.
Bats also contribute to nutrient cycling, the process by which soils regain nutrients that enable new plant growth. High value nutrients from foraging sites are transferred to roosting sites with low nutrient value through bat guano. (see footnote 23) The concentration of guano deposits contribute to soil fertility by increasing nitrogen levels. Guano deposits below a Northern and Indiana Myotis communal roost increased nitrogen mineralization by 380%. (see footnote 24) Bats also irregularly drop nutrient-rich fecal pellets as they forage and migrate across the Canadian landscape. Communal bat roosts in forests may have a significant effect in enriching forest soils in nutrient-poor systems.
All of these services translate into economic values to society. However, due to the lack of scientific evidence specific to the three species in question, the precise contribution of the three species of concern is not currently known and cannot be quantified.
Option value refers to the value of retaining the option of possible future uses associated with the species. The literature often defines option value as a “risk premium” because it involves uncertainty about the future. For example, Canadian residents and firms may hold an option value for the bats associated with the preservation of the Canadian genetic information that may be used in the future for biological, medicinal, genetic engineering and other applications.
As mentioned earlier, a decision about whether to take action to prevent a species from becoming extinct involves several issues regarding uncertainty and irreversibility. In particular, the economics literature (see footnote 25) shows that the potential irreversibility of a decision not to protect creates an imbalance in the cost of making one of two possible errors. A decision against protection where the species is ultimately lost cannot be reversed, whereas a decision to protect could be reversed in the future, if it turns out that the costs of protection outweigh the benefits. The imbalance lies in the cost of a decision that is later seen to be suboptimal. There is a benefit to erring on the side of reducing an irreversible error, the size of which depends on the deviation between (unknown) benefits and costs. In cases where the costs of protection equal the benefits, the added costs of the probability of an irreversible decision increase the total costs of a decision to not protect, and increases the benefits from a decision to protect. Therefore, even in situations where protection costs outweigh benefits, with uncertainty and irreversibility the added costs of an incorrect decision could tip the overall benefits of protection to outweigh the costs.
Beyond the conventional use-values of a species, people derive satisfaction and perceive benefits from knowing that the species still exist (“existence value”) or will exist in the future (“bequest value”). These non-use values are considered to be altruistic, but contribute to the welfare of Canadians.
With respect to species at risk, non-use values tend to be the values with the greatest monetary value. No quantitative estimate of the existence value of bats is currently available, due to a lack of information and the fact that bats are such unique creatures, rendering a benefit-transfer approach challenging.
Co-benefits of the Emergency Listing Order
The prohibitions against harassing the three bat species or damaging their residences, which will result from the Emergency Listing Order, may also result in protections for additional species. Specifically, the individuals choosing not to enter caves or inactive mines within the area of interest to ensure they do not contravene the general prohibitions may aid other bats and animals sharing the same residences.
The mitigation measures taken by the owners and operators of wind turbines within the area of interest in order to comply with SARA’s general prohibitions would reduce the mortality of migrating birds and other bat species that fly near these wind turbines. For example, pest control BMPs will likely benefit Big Brown Bats since they are probably the most common bats that are found in homes. The same would be true for the mining sector for winter hibernacula, but in addition to Big Brown Bats, Eastern Small-footed Myotis will also benefit from the general prohibitions in hibernacula, as well as other rare cave or mine hibernating bat species in British Columbia.
The Emergency Listing Order will likely affect three main sectors: wind energy, mining, and tourism (caving) in the area of interest. Bats hibernate in some caves or inactive mines (i.e. abandoned or closed mines), and can be killed by wind turbine operations. Therefore, costs to these sectors could occur. Possible impacts on other stakeholders, including pest control businesses, forestry, infrastructure and researchers are also discussed below.
There is existing legislation in several provinces and territories protecting the three species of bats to a certain degree, and voluntary measures currently adopted by the private sector and individuals. The Emergency Listing Order will complement the protection measures currently in place. The incremental impacts discussed below are assumed to be entirely attributable to the Emergency Listing Order.
Costs — Energy sector
Many studies have shown that bats can be killed either through collisions with the blades of the turbines or barotrauma (i.e. the rotating blades can cause a drop in air pressure that causes the bats’ lungs to explode). (see footnote 26) However, in Canada, most wind farms undergo an assessment of the risk of bird and bat mortality prior to construction. Nonetheless, based on post-construction monitoring studies, some level of bat mortality still occurs.
Effective mitigation includes measures such as changing the angle of turbine blades (i.e. feathering), or raising the minimum wind speed at which wind turbine operation could begin, which is referred to as the “cut-in speed.” However, for some older turbine models, neither of these two options is viable. Therefore, some turbine operators may have to shut down such turbines at night and restart them in the morning to avoid bat fatalities for several weeks when the risk to bats is highest.
Operators of wind turbines where at least one of the three bat species occurs within the area of interest will need to implement mitigation measures such as those discussed above to reduce bat mortality. The specific mitigation measures to be adopted by each facility would depend on the type of turbine model, but all will lead to a loss in power generation.
The extent to which a wind turbine would suffer production loss as a result of the Emergency Listing Order is a function of several factors:
- (i) For most wind turbines where bat mortality occurs, mitigation only needs to take effect at night within a six- to eight-week period of the year during the fall migration season, when bats are most at risk of colliding with wind turbines. However, bat mortality may also occur at some turbines during the spring migration season; thus, additional mitigation could be required (albeit rarely) for up to six weeks in spring for these farms.
- (ii) Power generation losses depend on the technical capability of turbines. For turbine models capable of raising the cut-in speed, blade feathering or other mitigation measures, an incremental loss of production would only need to take place when wind speeds are within a narrow range, (see footnote 27) usually between 3.5 m/s and 5.5 m/s (up to 4 m/s and 5.5 m/s for some turbine models). This is because when wind speeds are below the lower bound of this range (the usual cut-in speeds for most turbines), no electricity would be generated even under the BAU scenario. When wind speeds exceed 5.5 m/s (the recommended cut-in speed that would reduce bat mortality), turbines would be producing the same amount of electricity under both the BAU and other possible scenarios, thus no incremental change in production is expected. It is also worth noting that raising the cut-in speed and blade feathering is relatively cost-effective due to the fact that turbines generate less electricity in low wind speeds. (see footnote 28) In contrast, some old turbines that are unable to apply the mitigation measures discussed above may have to be shut down at night and restarted in the morning to prevent bat mortality, which would result in much higher production losses (i.e. roughly 5% vs. 0.1% for turbines that can use mitigation measures).
- (iii) Power loss also depends on the wind regime, which is site specific and may change over time. For example, during periods when wind speeds are persistently high (above 5.5 m/s) or low (below 3.5 m/s or 4 m/s), the foregone production is expected to be relatively low compared to periods when wind speeds fall within the range of 3.5 m/s to 5.5 m/s for longer durations and more frequently.
- (iv) Finally, all else being equal, larger turbines will likely incur relatively higher production losses than smaller ones.
Wind energy development has been rapidly expanding in Canada in recent years: overall capacity has more than quadrupled over the last five years. The current installed capacity in Canada is 8 706 MW, with a total of 18 345 GWh of electricity generated in 2013. (see footnote 29)
According to geographical information system (GIS) analysis and discussions with federal departments, approximately six wind farms currently overlap the area of interest (i.e. eight wind turbines in total, with a total rated power of 7.3 MW, which accounts for less than 0.1% of national wind power capacity). Around 21% of the installed capacity belongs to or partially belongs to federal departments or agencies (the Crown), while the rest is owned or partially owned by three Aboriginal communities. Most of the Crown-owned capacity may be installed for on-site use and would not transmit electricity to the power grid.
To account for future growth in wind energy up to the year 2024, projected provincial growth rates of wind energy capacity are applied to each province’s portion of the area of interest. Also, one 10 MW project on Aboriginal land in Manitoba and one 300 MW project on Aboriginal land in Ontario that have been approved are projected to start production in 2015 and 2016, respectively. Consequently, it is estimated that the total installed capacity in the entire area of interest will increase to 356 MW by 2024 (3% of the national wind power capacity) and be predominantly owned by Aboriginal communities. These wind turbines combined will produce 7 177 GWh of electricity over 2015–2024, generating $721 million in gross revenues in present value terms discounted at 3% over the period.
With the Emergency Listing Order in place, wind turbine owners and operators on federal lands need to avoid killing or harming the three bat species. If the activity is likely to affect bats (e.g. kill or harm individuals), operators would need to seek permits under paragraph 73(2)(c) of SARA. Permits would be granted only where all reasonable alternatives were considered and the best solution is adopted, all feasible measures are taken to minimize the impact of the activity and the activity will not jeopardize the survival or recovery of the species. Permit applicants will bear the administrative costs of applying for the permit, adopting mitigation measures / Best Management Practices (BMPs), complying with all the conditions the Minister may require in the permit, as well as reporting. The Department intends to contact each turbine operator as part of its compliance promotion efforts to provide information on SARA’s requirements and contact information should there be a need to discuss options for mitigation.
Environment Canada does not currently have an estimate of how many wind turbines within the area of interest are killing at least one of the three species of bats, or how many of each bat species is killed by these turbines each year. Therefore, to illustrate a “pessimistic scenario,” this analysis works with the conservative assumption that bat mortality has been observed at 100% of the turbines within the area of interest (Assumption 1).
It is assumed that operators of all the turbines will implement mitigation measures for eight weeks a year (e.g. the fall migration season, from mid-July to early/mid-September every year). The fall migration season is when bats are most likely to be affected by turbine operations. (see footnote 30) As discussed above, the usual mitigation measures explored in relevant studies mainly include (i) changing the angle, or “feathering,” of turbine blades; (ii) raising the minimum wind speed at which operation could begin, which is referred to as the “cut-in speed”; or (iii) shutting down the turbines if (i) and (ii) are not technically possible. The second option is the most widely adopted approach cited in the literature. (see footnote 31) All three options will result in a loss in production. Only one study (Arnett et al., 2011) has been found to discuss labor costs associated with mitigation measures. The study concluded that companies could incur “…minor costs for staff time to set up processes and controls and to implement curtailment treatments (i.e. raising cut-in speed).” However, it did not quantify any additional staff time.
Given that the costs of feathering and raising the cut-in speed are likely to be similar, it is assumed that all turbines installed during and after 2007 within the area of interest will run with a raised cut-in speed for eight hours a day for eight weeks during the fall migration season (Assumption 2). This assumption may be conservative given that researchers are actively working on developing more cost-efficient mitigation measures that may become available in the near future.
To account for the fact that some older turbine models are incapable of raising cut-in speed, it is further assumed that all turbines installed prior to 2007 within the area of interest will be shut down for eight hours a day during the same period every year (Assumption 3). This is also likely a highly conservative assumption because feathering and raising cut-in speed are viable for some of the turbines built prior to 2007. Assumptions 2 and 3 are both conservative in the sense that some turbine operators may be able to obtain a permit under paragraph 73(2)(c) of SARA, where permits are granted if affecting the species is incidental to the carrying out of the activity, in cases of mortality, which may involve minimal costs such as additional administrative costs and mitigation measures, some of which operators may already be practising.
The estimated cost to the wind energy sector does not take into account that wind facilities could incur some incremental costs associated with activities such as applying for permits, reporting as required for permits, and staff time spent on altering turbine operations. However, the quantified cost (in terms of foregone revenues) to the wind energy sector still tends to be conservative because (i) the additional costs associated with changing cut-in speeds or start-up/shutdown are expected to be minor, given how the settings on most turbines are remotely controlled; and (ii) the estimation is based on several highly conservative assumptions discussed above.
- Incremental costs
Using research findings from Baerwald et al. (2009) (see footnote 32) and the conservative assumptions above, it is estimated that the total foregone production for all wind turbines assumed to be affected could reach 7.9 GWh during 2015–2024. This translates into approximately up to $680,000 in foregone gross revenues (excluding subsidies paid to wind energy producers) (see footnote 33) for the affected wind turbines in present value terms, discounted at 3%. The quantified cost to Aboriginal communities could be up to $660,000 of foregone revenues, i.e. 97% of the overall quantified cost to the wind energy sector.
Given that (a) wind power represents a relatively small share of the overall power generation capacity in Canada (in 2013, wind facilities supplied approximately 3% of the total electricity demand in the country, (see footnote 34) (b) the foregone production represents only 0.003% of national wind energy production, and (c) total electricity production is driven by demand rather than supply, it is assumed that the total electricity transmitted to the power grid across Canada will not change as a result of the Emergency Listing Order. Any production loss at one wind farm could be compensated by production at other energy plants elsewhere. Therefore, although some individual operators would incur costs from foregone production, the foregone revenue for the entire electricity sector is expected to be insignificant if any (see “Distributional analysis” below for a discussion of distributional implications of the Emergency Listing Order). Due to uncertainty about sources of the compensated production and the fact that it accounts for only a negligible portion of overall electricity production in Canada, this analysis does not quantify any changes in production input costs associated with electricity to be generated from alternative sources. From the perspective of Canadian society, it is expected that only minimal incremental costs in the energy sector can be attributed to the Emergency Listing Order.
Part of the loss of power generation on the affected wind farms could be compensated by production from zero-emission sources such as hydro, solar and other wind facilities. The rest of the loss could be compensated by production from fossil fuel–fed power plants, which could lead to increased emissions of greenhouse gases and criteria air contaminants. However, at this level of production, any extra pollution will be extremely limited, so no significant environmental cost is expected.
Overall, the net social cost resulting from the adoption of mitigation measures by the wind energy sector is expected to be minimal.
- Sensitivity analysis
The analysis presented above likely overestimates the impact of the Emergency Listing Order on wind facilities. Nonetheless, in order to examine the effects of key assumptions, a sensitivity analysis was conducted by varying the value of several parameters. As shown in Table 2, if different assumptions are made about key parameters (e.g. the type of mitigation measures required, how long mitigation would be required during the year, the number of wind turbines affected), the cost to the wind energy sector could be higher or lower to a certain degree. The mitigation measures described in Table 2 apply to turbine models built during or after 2007 with the ability to implement mitigations such as increasing cut-in speed or feathering; throughout it is assumed that turbine models built prior to 2007 will have to be shut down to avoid bat mortality.
Although not expected, given that newer turbines are capable of undertaking various mitigation measures, a worst case scenario was developed (the “High 1” scenario below) to demonstrate what costs would be if all operators were required to shut down both older and newer turbines for eight hours a day for eight weeks during the fall migration season, and for ten hours a day for six weeks in the spring migration season. This highly conservative assumption (i.e. turbines have to be shut down every night during the entire migration period, even when wind speeds are not within the range that requires mitigation) would lead to a total production loss of 688 GWh, and foregone revenue (and additional cost to obtain electricity for in-situ use) of $58 million in present value terms over 10 years. If raising cut-in speed/feathering would be effective enough for newer turbines to minimize bat mortality during the spring migration season, and they only need to be turned off at night during the fall migration season (the “High 2” scenario below, the cost in terms of foregone revenue (and additional cost to obtain electricity for in-situ use) would be reduced to $34 million in present value terms over the same period. Again, these scenarios are not anticipated.
Under one of the other scenarios, it is assumed that all the wind facilities, except the planned 300 MW project in Ontario, would be able to comply with the Emergency Listing Order without taking any mitigation measures. On this planned wind farm, it is assumed that the cut-in speed of the wind turbines would be raised for eight hours a day for eight weeks during the fall migration season to reduce bat mortality, resulting in up to $540,000 foregone revenue in present value terms over 10 years. Alternatively, if it is assumed that no mitigation measures would be necessary on this planned wind farm while operators of all the other wind turbines within the area of interest would adopt the same practice as discussed above, the total foregone production could lead to a cost of $140,000 over 10 years.
Table 2: Sensitivity analysis for impacts of the Emergency Listing Order on the wind energy sector, 2015–2024
|Affected Facilities Within Area of Interest
|Foregone Revenues — Excluding Subsidies (Million Can$)
|Raising cut-in speed/feathering for newer turbines
|Spring and Fall
|All the turbines be shut down at night
|Spring and Fall
|All the turbines be shut down at night during the fall migration season; raising cut-in speed/feathering would be effective enough for newer turbines during the spring migration season
|Planned Ontario wind farm
|Raising cut-in speed/feathering for newer turbines
|All except planned Ontario wind farm
|Raising cut-in speed/feathering for newer turbines
Costs — Mining sector
The three species of bats may use inactive mines as a place to hibernate during their hibernation season. Therefore, the Emergency Listing Order may impact mining companies that currently plan to reopen or redevelop inactive mines used by bats within the area subject to the Emergency Listing Order. In certain limited cases, bats may also use inactive sections of active underground mines for hibernation. However, as discussed below, no active underground mines have been identified within the area of interest. As a result, no incremental costs to active producing mines are expected.
The term “inactive mine” includes both abandoned mines (i.e. inactive mines without clearly-defined ownership) and closed mines (i.e. inactive mines with clearly defined ownership). The exact number of inactive mines in Canada is currently unknown, but MacKasey (2000) suggests that approximately 10 000 abandoned mine sites exist in Canada. (see footnote 35) Inactive oil sands mines, open-pit mines and concentrators are excluded from the analysis since they are not suitable bat habitat, and therefore would not be affected by the Emergency Listing Order. For other types of inactive mines which are underground, bats may hibernate in adits (i.e. horizontal tunnels) and shafts (i.e. vertical tunnels). Further, only a small proportion of inactive mines are expected to actually contain hibernacula since few will meet the specific requirements for hibernation, including the micro-climate inside the mines and macro-habitat features surrounding the mines.
Mining companies sometimes reopen or rejuvenate inactive mines, (see footnote 36) or develop brownfield projects, i.e. new mines created in areas with existing inactive mines. Such decisions are usually driven by market prices of mining products and the reserves available on a mine site.
Overall, across Canada, between zero and eight inactive mines within the bats’ range were rejuvenated (i.e. turned from an underground mine into an open-pit mine) or reopened annually over the past 14 years (2000–2013). During the same period, between zero and nine mines were opened annually within bats’ range, but it is not clear how many of them were brownfield projects. (see footnote 37)
The total number of active mines (excluding oil sands mines) in Canada that are listed by Natural Resources Canada as “principal” was 230 in 2012. (see footnote 38) If open-pit mines and concentrators are further excluded from the list as they are not suitable bat habitat, the total number of principal producing underground mines in Canada is 121, and 112 of them are located within the bats’ range. Of these 112 principal active underground mines within the bats’ range, GIS analysis shows that there are no active underground mines currently on federal property (including Aboriginal lands classified as federal land). (see footnote 39) Thus, the vast majority of mining in Canada currently takes place outside of the area of interest for the Emergency Listing Order.
As a result, the number of inactive underground mines on federal lands is also likely of a similar order. Environment Canada is aware of several federal properties that contain inactive mines, virtually all of which have not operated in several decades or more. Therefore, given that there is a relatively small percentage of inactive underground mines on federal lands compared to the distribution outside the area of interest, and that a small percentage of inactive mines tend to be reopened or redeveloped, it is assumed that no reopening, rejuvenation or other brownfield redevelopment will take place within the area of interest. The reopening or the redevelopment of a mine where at least one of the three bat species hibernates would be a rare event within the area of interest. In some cases, such as abandoned mines in national wildlife areas or national parks, re-opening of mines will contravene current regulations or Government of Canada land use policies and/or guidelines. During listing consultations with stakeholders and discussions with other departments, Environment Canada was not made aware of any inactive mines on federal lands that are planned for reopening or redevelopment.
- Incremental costs
If individuals of one or more of the three bat species in question are found in an inactive mine on lands subject to the Emergency Listing Order, operators or land managers will need to avoid killing, harming or harassing the bats and/or damaging or destroying their residence and will need to seek a permit and/or modify activities that would otherwise contravene the SARA’s general prohibitions. Mitigation measures could include delaying reopening or redevelopment of an inactive mine that is a residence, so that such activities do not occur while the bats are using the residence. This could cause a delay in reopening or redevelopment, and therefore the cost of delayed production revenue (and the benefit of delayed redevelopment and operating cost). However, mining companies may not necessarily need to delay such projects. They could pro-actively avoid harming, harassing, or killing hibernating bats by putting up some inexpensive temporary structure (e.g. one inch mesh material such as chicken wire, polypropylene or similar material) in summer to prevent bats from entering in the fall and winter for hibernation. As such, the only major costs that could be incurred could be associated with covering entrances to hibernacula used by bats and following voluntary decontamination protocols to prevent human-assisted spread of WNS. Such costs, at a maximum, would be up to hundreds of thousands of dollars on an annualized basis for a large mine. Measures to reduce the impact that such activities will have on bats would be considered as part of the permitting process described below.
The Minister of the Environment could issue a permit if the applicant is able to demonstrate that reasonable alternatives have been considered, feasible measures will be taken to minimize the impact of the activity, and the activity will not jeopardize the survival or recovery of the species. A number of factors would be considered when making the recommendation, such as the importance of the inactive mine to the bat colony using it (e.g. number of bats, how long it has been used, etc.) or the presence of the fungus causing WNS in the mine. In the event that the permit is not granted based on jeopardy to the species, the reopening or redevelopment of an inactive mine would involve costs associated with foregone production.
Another effect would relate to owners of inactive mines or land managers that do not currently plan to reopen or redevelop such mines during 2015–2024 but face pre-existing public safety requirements which require gating of the mine. Owners planning to gate a mine for safety reasons would need to ensure that they do not violate the prohibitions against killing, harming or harassing bats (or damaging or destroying their residences) in doing so. Some methods of gating or securing inactive mines can destroy bat residences or kill bats. By using bat-friendly gates (i.e. gates with openings large enough for bats to enter but small enough to prevent access by humans), or modifying existing signage, gating can be done in a way that both protects the bats and secures the inactive mine for the public. The use of bat-friendly gating or signs would be relatively inexpensive to implement.
Overall, no inactive mines are expected to be reopened or redeveloped in the area of interest. Given that (a) the number of inactive mines within the area of interest is likely to be small, (b) a very small percentage of mines have been reopened and redeveloped annually in Canada overall, and (c) not all inactive mines are used by at least one of the three bat species, the probability of an inactive mine being unable to resume operations or redevelopment and incurring foregone revenues due to the Emergency Listing Order is deemed to be extremely low. As a result, in the mining sector, only minimal incremental costs associated with mitigation measures such as bat-friendly gating/signage could be attributed to the Emergency Listing Order.
Costs — Caving activities
Caves in Canada are used by casual recreational cave tourists, spelunkers and speleologists (i.e. individuals who explore caves as a hobby or study caves scientifically), and bat researchers. Some organizations cater to these activities and may derive revenue from caving services such as guided caving expeditions, admission to caves and sales of caving gear.
The Emergency Listing Order could impact organizations that offer caving services and the non-profit caving community. Harming and harassing of bats is prohibited, as is the damage and destruction of residences. Spreading the fungus that causes WNS could be considered harming individuals and/or damaging or destroying their residence. Therefore, since a person could spread the spores of WNS via their boots, clothing or equipment, accessing caves that have been or are currently used by individuals of the three bat species could result in a contravention of the prohibitions. In order to engage in activities that will not contravene the prohibitions, a person may need to mitigate the impact of their activities, such as by following decontamination protocols or choosing not to access the caves. However, it is thought that very few caves will provide the specific conditions needed by bats for hibernacula (including the micro-climate inside the caves and macro-habitat features surrounding the caves).
It should be noted that many caving and speleological organizations already take and promote voluntary measures to reduce the spread of the fungus responsible for WNS.
No incremental impact is expected on lands under Parks Canada Agency (PCA) authority because PCA sites are already managed to protect wildlife and their habitat, and sites with known hibernacula are already implementing measures to prepare for and prevent the spread of White-nose Syndrome. As mentioned earlier, within National Parks and National Parks Reserves named in Schedule 1 and 2 in the CNPA, section 8 of the National Park General Regulations prohibits access to caves and requires anyone entering to obtain written permission from the Superintendent unless a notice permitting entry has been posted by the Superintendent at the entrance to the cave.
Overall, since there are many existing voluntary measures and not all caves are suitable as hibernacula because of the specific requirements for hibernation, the incremental impacts on caving activities attributable to the Emergency Listing Order are expected to be low.
- Incremental costs — Caving tourism service providers
Based on the Hoover’s Business Database (supplemented with internet searches), 80 for-profit and non-profit organizations (excluding 14 organizations offering caving-related services on PCA lands) across Canada have been identified as offering caving-related services in 2013. These services and activities include guided caving expeditions, admission to caves, caving membership services, cave safety and rescue courses, cave conservation services, booking of caving expeditions, caving promotion from tourism offices, multi-day and multi-activity trips of which caving is an activity and campgrounds in popular caving areas.
Two criteria were used to identify which of these 80 organizations may be impacted by the Emergency Listing Order: (1) they must derive a non-negligible proportion of their revenues from direct caving services (i.e. guided caving expeditions, admission to caves, or sales of caving gear); and (2) they are located or have provided caving services within the area of interest. The organizations’ headquarter addresses were georeferenced using GIS to determine whether they are within the area of interest. It was concluded that none of the 80 organizations (excluding those on PCA lands) met the above criteria.
It is possible that some of these 80 organizations headquartered outside the area of interest or organizations that are not included in the Hoover’s database may secure permits to operate caving services on federal land. Nonetheless, the likelihood is low that they would be impacted by the Emergency Listing Order because (a) not all caves are used by at least one of the three bat species; and (b) many land managers within National Parks, protected areas and some Aboriginal communities have already been preventing or discouraging people from entering caves in which bats are hibernating in the winter due to WNS. Therefore, the caving sector is not expected to incur any foregone revenues due to the Emergency Listing Order’s prohibitions.
- Incremental costs — Recreational cavers
Recreational cavers could be affected by the Emergency Listing Order. As noted above, accessing caves when in use by individuals of the three bat species could result in harassment of the bats. In order to engage in activities that could contravene the prohibitions, they will need to engage in mitigation measures, such as following decontamination protocols or choosing not to access the caves.
Due to the Emergency Listing Order, recreational cavers may choose to cease visiting some caves within the area of interest, possibly inconveniencing them. In addition, to comply with the Emergency Listing Order, they may incur the cost of following decontamination protocols in the summer months for those caves on federal lands that are not already closed year round. Potential decontamination protocols could include inexpensive procedures such as using anti-septic wipes on footwear, and/or boiling or washing equipment. Another method to avoid contaminating non-infected caves is the use of a set of equipment only for WNS contaminated areas. This could take the form of a set of dedicated equipment for use in contaminated caves or disposable clothing; the cost of additional caving equipment varies depending on the type of caving. Given the relatively small number of cavers in Canada, the total incremental cost to this group of individuals is not expected to be large, as they are also likely able to choose to visit other caves outside the area subject to the Emergency Listing Order.
Costs — Other sectors
- Pest control companies
The Emergency Listing Order may impact pest control businesses operating on federal lands. It could also impact federal land managers in charge of maintaining or demolishing buildings, including historic buildings and warehouses, used by bats as summer roosts. Pest control businesses and federal land managers will need to find ways to avoid violating SARA’s general prohibitions on federal lands, or obtain a SARA permit to conduct activities that would otherwise be prohibited. To avoid killing, harming, or harassing bats, pest management companies can adopt “bat-friendly” approaches, such as undertaking humane bat control practices where possible (e.g. waiting until after maternity roosting season is over; installing one-way doors; ensuring that all bats have left before the entrances are sealed). Nonetheless, the Emergency Listing Order does not apply to activities that are related to public safety and health where such activities are authorized under an Act of Parliament. Should the activity in question not fall with the exceptions in the Act, and a SARA permit is issued, this might result in a minimal administrative cost to pest control businesses or land managers that provide bat control services in federal buildings within the area of interest.
However, the impact on the pest control sector is expected to be low because: (i) many pest management companies are already following bat-friendly practices; (ii) most of the pest management companies, including those who are not currently following bat-friendly practices, already own the tools and materials and have the labour required to comply with the Emergency Listing Order; (iii) the incremental cost, if any, would mainly involve a delay in excluding bats from buildings for up to three months.
- Bat researchers
Bat researchers may be impacted by the Emergency Listing Order given that the nature of their activities, when taking place in the area of interest of the Emergency Listing Order, may contravene the general prohibitions. However, they may apply for permits for activities (e.g. possession of live bats or bat corpses) which could be granted if their activity is scientific research that relates to the conservation of the species and is carried out by qualified persons, is beneficial to the species, is required to enhance its survival or affecting the species is incidental to carrying out the activity. Given that researchers are likely already respecting mitigation measures, that they also have the alternative of going to similar study sites off of lands subject to the Emergency Listing Order, and that permits are likely to be granted for legitimate research efforts to assist the three species of bats, costs are expected to be negligible.
Trees are sometimes used by the three species of bats as roosts. While many bats, typically males, change roost every day or every few days, others, particularly female Northern Myotis with young, will return to the same roost tree for a period of three weeks. Roost trees are usually large trees with cavities. Therefore, trees with active roosts are considered residences for bats, and their removal is considered damaging or destroying a residence, which will be an offense on lands subject to the Emergency Listing Order. While bats may return to residences in trees, they do not necessarily need to use the same roost trees and do not need to be able to return to the same residence the following year. As a result, if the tree is removed outside of the breeding season or if netting over trees or cavities prevents bats from re-using it again, depending on availability, bats will find another tree to roost in the next year.
Bats generally use the same trees in the same forests and at the same time of the year as migratory birds. Individuals and businesses who already respect the Migratory Birds Convention Act, 1994 (MBCA) prohibitions against the destruction of nests and eggs will probably also be in compliance with the Emergency Listing Order. Therefore, the Emergency Listing Order of the three bat species does not create incremental costs to the forestry industry.
Bats may also use bridges during breeding season. Repairing or removing bridges with active bat maternity colonies in them on federal lands would contravene the general prohibitions. However, similar to the case of forestry, many bridges used by bats are also used by migratory birds during the same season of the year. Therefore, many operators who already comply with MBCA will also likely comply with the Emergency Listing Order. In addition, such activities will be exempted from SARA if they are authorized through the issuance of a permit or under another federal Act of Parliament for public safety, health or national security reasons. As a result, the incremental cost to the infrastructure sector is expected to be low.
- Impacts associated with other SARA provisions
The listing of the species in Schedule 1 of SARA triggers a recovery planning process under the Act. Recovery planning includes critical habitat identification (i.e. the habitat necessary for the recovery of species) and is based solely on biological considerations.
If critical habitat is identified on federal lands, it must be legally protected. There are a number of tools under SARA to accomplish this. For example, the Minister of the Environment may post a statement describing how the habitat is protected by existing federal acts, and/or order additional protections in the event there are gaps in existing federal legislation. For portions of critical habitat on non-federal lands, SARA allows for effective protection of the critical habitat by the responsible management authority (e.g. provinces, territories or other stakeholders). In cases where the competent minister determines that critical habitat on non-federal lands is not being protected, the Governor in Council, on the recommendation of the competent minister, can make regulations to protect this critical habitat.
An anticipated challenge of the recovery planning process is the lack of scientific information about the three species of bats. Further, it may not always be possible to identify critical habitat in a recovery strategy, and in those cases, a schedule of studies outlining the activities required to obtain the information necessary to complete the identification of critical habitat will be included.
Costs — Government
The implementation of the Emergency Listing Order will involve re-allocation of existing staff, operational budgets and grants and contributions to focus on bats. The costs will include activities designed to promote compliance with the general prohibitions, enforcement activities, recovery planning activities, implementation such as through the Habitat Stewardship Program for Species at Risk and communications.
The Government of Canada will use existing resources to promote compliance with the general prohibitions of SARA through activities which may include online resources posted on the Species at Risk Public Registry, fact sheets, best management practices, mail-outs and information sessions with affected stakeholders, including other federal government departments, Aboriginal communities, recreational and commercial cavers, mining companies, wind turbine operators, pest control companies and users of Parks Canada sites. It is anticipated that total hours are approximately equivalent to 0.4 full-time employee, as well as about $10,000 in funds for one year that will be re-allocated from other work to focus on the compliance promotion efforts related to the Emergency Listing Order.
Using previous examples of routine enforcement efforts at Environment Canada as a basis, the estimated annual enforcement costs are $77,000, broken down as follows: roughly $44,000 for inspections (which includes operations, maintenance costs and transportation), $16,500 for investigations, $5,000 for measures to deal with alleged violations and $11,500 for other activities.
The total compliance promotion and enforcement costs amount to roughly $700,000 in present value terms discounted at 3% over 10 years.
While there’s no cost breakdown available for enforcement efforts at the Parks Canada Agency, existing resources will be used to implement routine enforcement efforts on lands under the authority of the Parks Canada Agency. Therefore, no incremental increase in operational costs is anticipated.
Some electricity producers (such as wind facilities outside the area of interest, hydro power plants and fossil fuel-fed power plants) may benefit from the opportunity of delivering more power to the electricity grid to compensate for any production losses on affected wind farms. However, given the relative magnitude of the possible impact, the Emergency Listing Order is unlikely to create an uneven playing field, or any significant overall distributional effects, for the electricity generation sector in Canada. It is important to note, however, that the majority of foregone wind electricity generation will be incurred by Aboriginal community-owned businesses.
No significant costs associated with the Emergency Listing Order are expected for mining companies, caving tourism service providers, pest control companies, researchers and the government.
Although the Emergency Listing Order only applies to federal lands in the provinces or lands that are under the authority of the Minister of the Environment or the Parks Canada Agency in the territories, it will contribute to the survival of the three bat species across Canada. Given that the three bat species are present on a vast area covering most parts of Canada, the benefit derived from the contribution of the Emergency Listing Order to protecting these species are expected to be reaped by all Canadians.
Conclusion of the cost-benefit analysis
This cost-benefit analysis presented some potential impacts of the Emergency Listing Order for protection of the Little Brown Myotis, the Northern Myotis and the Tri-colored Bat in Canada.
It is challenging to conduct a cost-benefit analysis in the presence of uncertainty about the ability to successfully prevent extirpation, and uncertainty about the benefits attributable to the three species in question. However, the Emergency Listing Order is likely one of the necessary conditions for the survival of the three bat species, and evidence suggests that these species likely provide significant benefits, particularly given their important role in controlling pests that harm agricultural crops and forests. Moreover, given the irreversibility of extirpation, acting to protect the species now enables subsequent decisions to be made in the future if more information becomes available (i.e. taking steps now “buys time” for the species to adapt to the fungus that causes WNS, or for researchers to discover new ways to protect bats and prevent the spread of WNS).
In terms of known impacts on Canadian society overall, incremental costs are expected to be relatively low. The only expected costs are associated with compliance promotion and enforcement costs to the federal government. Looking only at wind energy, there may be some foregone revenues (excluding subsidies paid to wind energy producers) in this sector of approximately up to $680,000 (present value, discounted at 3%) over the same 10-year period. Up to $660,000 of this foregone wind energy production would be borne by Aboriginal-owned businesses. However, since this foregone production will be made up for by increases in other forms of electricity generation, there is no overall economic impact from a societal perspective. Any impacts on other industries are expected to be minimal.
Thus, it is highly likely that the benefits of the Emergency Listing Order outweigh the costs.
The “One-for-One” Rule applies because the proposed addition to Schedule 1 of SARA would impose new administrative costs on the wind energy sector. A total of three businesses in the wind energy sector could be affected by the proposed additions. Additional administrative costs would arise solely from labour costs related to the time spent by employees on activities related to familiarizing themselves with new obligations, to applying for permits, and to monitoring and reporting requirements.
With the Emergency Listing Order in place, businesses could seek a permit under paragraph 73(2)(c) of SARA. Permits are assessed on a case-by-case basis and would be granted only where all reasonable alternatives were considered and the best solution was adopted, all feasible measures were taken to minimize the impact of the activity and the activity would not jeopardize the survival or recovery of the species.
The estimated costs of administrative burden were based on the experience of SARA permit administrators and previous incidental impact permits. The annualized average of new administrative burden costs potentially imposed on wind farms located in the area of interest would be $741 (2012 Can$) and the annualized average administrative cost per business would be $247 (2012 Can$). The administrative burden costs are based on the assumption that
- (1) Three wind farms will apply for SARA permits every three years;
- (2) It will take these three wind farms each four hours to learn the new requirements to apply for permits;
- (3) It will take these three wind farms each two hours to fill out the permit application;
- (4) It will take these three wind farms each half an hour to do clerical duties in regard to the permit application (e.g. printing it out, sending it to Environment Canada);
- (5) Once the permit expires, it will take these three wind farms each eight hours to monitor around the wind turbines to assess bat mortality and to write a report to Environment Canada; and
- (6) These three wind farms each will hire a consultant to do scientific research to track and monitor bat mortality. Also this will create a baseline scenario that will be required for the permit application from the wind farm.
Further analysis suggests that no other sectors would incur new administrative costs. There are no forestry, infrastructure, mining or commercial caving businesses located in the area of interest. Independent researchers would be considered as part of the businesses they are contracted by, and pest control businesses are believed to already be implementing bat-friendly practices that may avoid the need for permits.
Small business lens
The small business lens applies to this proposal, as the administrative burden and compliance costs disproportionately impact small business.
With the Emergency Listing Order in place, small businesses could seek a permit under paragraph 73(2)(c) of SARA. Permits are assessed on a case-by-case basis and would be granted only where all reasonable alternatives were considered and the best solution was adopted, all feasible measures were taken to minimize the impact of the activity and the activity would not jeopardize the survival or recovery of the species.
Although the small business lens applies, it is expected that the Emergency Listing Order will have nationwide cost impacts of less than the $1 million annual threshold. Like in the “One-for-One” Rule analysis, estimated administrative burden costs were based on the experience of SARA permit administrators and previous incidental impact permits. The small business lens also accounts for compliance costs. The compliance costs were based on the estimated time that employees of wind farms would need to spend to mitigate the effects on bats from wind turbines. The estimated annualized increase in total industry costs (compliance and administrative) would be $920 (2012 Can$) for the three affected small businesses and the average annualized cost per small business would be $310 (2012 Can$). In addition, it has been estimated that the wind farms will have an annualized foregone revenue of $79,000 (in 2012 Can$) and a total foregone revenue (present value over 10 years, discounted at 3%) of $670,000 (in 2012 Can$).
In addition to the resulting administrative burden costs to businesses for the “One-for-One” Rule analysis, compliance costs have also been included in the small business lens analysis. Therefore, based on knowledge from scientists at Environment Canada, in addition to the above-mentioned assumptions from the “One-for-One” Rule, it is assumed that
(1) These three wind farms each can control the speed or blade angle or stop each turbine using computer technology (as opposed to physically going to each turbine and manually carrying out mitigation measures).
Further analysis suggests that no other sector would incur new administrative and compliance costs. There are no forestry, infrastructure, mining or commercial caving businesses located in the area of interest. Independent researchers would be considered as part of the businesses they are contracted by, and pest control businesses are believed to already be implementing bat-friendly practices that may avoid the need for permits.
Wind energy sector
Of the six existing wind farms that have been identified in the area of interest, three wind farms are owned by the federal government, two are owned by Aboriginal local governments and the last wind farm is a joint venture between an Aboriginal local government and a commercial utilities operation where a municipality is the sole shareholder.
The small business lens applies because the three existing wind farms owned or partially owned by Aboriginal communities are estimated to each derive revenues from wind turbine operations: one wind farm has an annual revenue of less than $1.7 M, each of the other two have annual revenues between $300,000 and $400,000. Based on several conservative assumptions, a study on costs associated with mitigation measures in Alberta, the capacity of the affected turbines, the wind turbine utilization rate and price projections for each province, it is estimated that the impact on two of these businesses could be up to 0.1% of annual revenues, while the other one could lose up to 5.5% of its annual revenues due to possible technological limitations to implement lower-cost mitigation measures (i.e. one wind turbine is older and would possibly have to be shut down at night, likely during migration seasons, since it may not be capable of raising the cut-in speed or feathering). The costs for this latter business are considered high enough to constitute a disproportionate impact (up to $10,000 per year in costs).
However, there is insufficient information at this time to have a complete understanding of what the actual impacts will be. The estimates above are likely to be conservative, and it is unknown how much output might be lost for the older turbine for two reasons: (i) some older turbine models are capable of raising cut-in speeds or feathering, which entails much lower foregone revenue; and (ii) the analysis made the highly conservative assumption that bats are found at all wind facilities within the area of interest, thus it is assumed that mitigation measures are required for all wind turbines, which may not necessarily be the case.
As noted in the cost-benefit analysis, there are no active mines currently in the area of interest that could be used as hibernacula. Therefore, there are no anticipated administrative burden or compliance costs to mining businesses with respect to listing the three bat species.
Commercial caving sector
There are no commercial caving companies located within the lands affected by this Emergency Listing Order. While it is possible that caving businesses that are located outside the area of interest might go caving within the area of interest, it is likely that these businesses would explore other locations outside the area of interest that provide similar environments. Therefore, commercial caving companies are not expected to be impacted by the listing, and no administrative burden or compliance costs are anticipated for this sector.
Pest control sector
It is not anticipated that there will be administrative or compliance costs to the pest management sector because research and the results from the consultations suggest that many companies already use bat-friendly practices, and pest control businesses already have the expertise and equipment necessary to comply with the Emergency Listing Order. Therefore, it is assumed that there will be no incremental increases regarding administrative burden and compliance costs.
Given that independent researchers likely work for companies in sectors that have already been considered (e.g. mining and energy), they are not considered businesses themselves and are not considered in the small business lens analysis.
Forestry and infrastructure sectors
Due to the existing requirements of the MBCA, including the prohibitions against the destruction of migratory bird nests, it is anticipated that most businesses within the forestry and infrastructure sectors will already operate in a manner consistent with the requirements of SARA with respect to these three bat species. Therefore, no incremental administrative burden or compliance costs to businesses are anticipated.
Regulatory flexible option
No regulatory flexible option is possible due to the requirements of the Species at Risk Act. The general prohibitions come into effect upon listing the three bat species, and there is no legislated authority to provide a regulated exemption for small business, nor an option to delay the implementation of the general prohibitions. In addition, due to the emergency nature of the situation, immediate action is needed in order to deal with the rapid decline of the three bat populations.
Environment Canada recognizes the shared responsibility for species at risk between the federal and provincial/territorial governments and values the existing relationships and collaboration.
Environment Canada conducted targeted consultations in July and August 2014 with federal partners, provinces and territories, Aboriginal communities and some potentially affected stakeholders to obtain feedback on the impacts of listing the three bat species under SARA, including costs and benefits.
Efforts were made to consult representatives from the following sectors, since analysis conducted in advance of the consultations indicated that they were the sectors most likely to be affected by listing and/or bat conservation measures:
- Wind energy (as turbines can cause bat mortality)
- Mining (as bats sometimes hibernate in inactive mines)
- Pest control (removing bats from buildings)
- Forestry (since bats roost in trees in the summer)
- Speleologists/caving/ecotourism and parks with cave attractions
- Bat researchers
- Aboriginal communities
- Jurisdictions (provinces, territories)
A consultation document was distributed as a means of seeking feedback. The document provided information on the SARA listing process and asked specific questions related to the listing of bats and their conservation. The executive summaries of the most recent status assessment of the bat species from COSEWIC were included in this document.
At the national level, consultations were conducted with targeted national associations, government departments, industry and environmental non-government associations. Researchers and experts participating in the ad hoc Canadian Inter-agency White-nose Syndrome Committee, which reports to the federal-provincial- territorial Canadian Wildlife Directors Committee, were also consulted. Feedback was sought via phone calls, emails and briefings of potentially interested parties.
Regional consultations were also conducted through letters, emails and/or phone calls to researchers, pest management companies, provincial representatives, caving associations, non- governmental organizations (NGOs) and others. Aboriginal communities who owned or are planning to develop wind farms were also contacted through these tools, however, Environment Canada did not receive any responses, despite follow-up efforts.
In total, 94 responses were received. No respondents disputed the threat of WNS or the importance of conserving bats. The majority of respondents indicated that they were in support of listing, while three respondents indicated that they had concerns. The other respondents had not specifically indicated a yes or no for the listing, but were categorized as “unknown” and “maybe.” These responses included health and safety concerns, permitting issues and other possible impacts related to the protection of critical habitat.
The majority of individual respondents supported the listing and are concerned about the decline in the populations.
Provincial, territorial and municipal governments
Provinces, territories and municipalities were generally supportive of listing and anticipate low impacts. Representatives of one territory highlighted that while they support the listing, they would need additional resources to implement measures for further research. Another province was also supportive, with caveats that more data is needed in the provinces and that their resources are constrained. Environment Canada recognizes the importance of a coordinated approach of jurisdictions working on this issue. Three municipalities also provided feedback and all three responded that they were supportive of listing, and one commented that a decline of bats would likely increase their mosquito spraying costs.
Aboriginal organizations and communities
Thirteen comments were received from Aboriginal organizations or communities. While eight Aboriginal organizations or communities did not specify whether or not they support the listing, five categorically supported the listing. The comments included concern regarding the decline of bats, as well as potential implications of listing for activities on Aboriginal lands, including the ability to exclude bats from buildings, the establishment of future developments and the use of traditional lands. Environment Canada notes that bats can be excluded from buildings in a bat-friendly manner, and that permits under SARA may be issued to remove bats from buildings in situations of concern for human health and safety, under certain circumstances.
Of the 14 respondents from industry and industry associations, five supported or had no opposition to the listing, two forestry associations had concerns, and the remaining respondents did not specify whether they supported the listing, but provided comments on impacts. Of the two forestry associations that expressed concerns, one did not support the listing as it did not see how the species would benefit, and instead suggested that greater awareness be created and encouraged additional research regarding the pathogen. The association was concerned that future critical habitat protection could impact the industry’s activities. The other association had similar concerns related to uncertainties about the extent of critical habitat to be identified and suggested that the focus for the regulatory approach be on hibernacula, not summer habitats, which it said could be managed with stewardship measures. Environment Canada notes that conclusions on future critical habitat for the bats are premature. Any future critical habitat protection for the species will occur according to SARA, whereby recovery strategies identify critical habitat, or set out a schedule of studies required for the identification of critical habitat. There are opportunities for stakeholder engagement as part of the recovery planning and any required critical habitat protection on non-federal land.
Other respondents also expressed concern that the listing may be followed by additional SARA protection that could have economic impacts on businesses, with negative indirect impacts on communities and tax revenues. Mining sector respondents identified that the permitting process may cause delays. Environment Canada notes that timelines for decisions on permits are regulated (to a 90-day permit decision timeline). All permits will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis with the goal of meeting that regulated timeline.
Respondents from the wind energy sector noted that this sector takes the issue of impacts on bats from wind turbines very seriously and suggested the development of best management practices (BMPs), which could be geographically specific to lessen the burden in WNS-free regions. Environment Canada concurs with the importance of pursuing BMPs for bat conservation in various industrial sectors. Environment Canada contacted each Aboriginal-owned wind farm individually, but no response was received from these three businesses. Although Environment Canada does not have the benefit of the views of these companies, the department believes that it is important to move forward with the emergency listing due to the urgency of the situation, as well as the fact that once the bat species are listed, Environment Canada will contact these companies to discuss implementation and compliance plans.
Pest control representatives noted that there would be little impact on their businesses because these three bat species are a small proportion of their business, and many of the businesses are largely practicing bat-friendly techniques. Two pest management businesses with specialties in bat management stated that they have lost income due to a decline in the bat population; consequently, they support the listing. All industry stakeholders committed to cooperative work with government on best management practices.
One speleological organization disagreed with COSEWIC’s Endangered status assessment and suggested special concern status instead, arguing that there is little information on how the spores are spread and that their members already voluntarily follow best management practices, including disinfecting equipment and clothing. Environment Canada notes that SARA provides specific definitions for each status and that it is COSEWIC that determines the status of a species. COSEWIC has assessed the species under SARA as Endangered as the bats are facing an imminent threat to their survival. Listing as special concern is thus not an option at this time.
This organization also noted that its members already follow provincial best practices in regard to bat hibernacula. It states that the majority of the caves used are found on provincial Crown land. The organization had concerns that once these three species are federally listed under SARA, the province may follow suit and list as well. This concerned the organization because this may possibly restrict future access to the caves currently used. Critical habitat identification for these bat species would occur according to the timelines set out in SARA. A recovery strategy will be required within one year of the listing of the species. The recovery strategies will identify critical habitat to the extent possible, or set out a schedule of studies required to do so. Environment Canada notes that there are consultation and engagement opportunities for recovery strategies that would allow interested organizations to provide input at that stage in the process. Provincial decisions regarding species at risk are dealt with through their own separate process.
Non-governmental organizations and researchers
Conservation groups, experts and members of the public were all supportive of listing. While supportive of the listing, they were concerned that the listing may impede their ability to study bats and WNS. As is the case for permits related to mining, Environment Canada notes that all permits will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis in order to meet the regulated timeline for their consideration. All ENGOs supported the listing and some described existing bat conservation activities and stated a willingness to do more in this area.
Canada’s natural heritage is an integral part of our national identity and history. Many species at risk can serve as indicators of environmental quality, while some are culturally important. It is valuable to Canadians not only to preserve species in the short term, but also for future generations to enjoy. The unique characteristics and evolutionary histories may also be of special interest to the scientific community. The conservation of wildlife at risk is an important component of the Government of Canada’s commitment to upholding international commitments made under the Convention on Biological Diversity. Biodiversity is important to Canada’s current and future economy and natural wealth. A self-sustaining healthy ecosystem with its various elements in place, including species at risk, contributes positively to landowner and public livelihoods.
This is especially true of the three bat species, because they provide a broad range of ecological goods and services to Canadian society, most notably, important pest control services, which likely contribute to crop yields. The Little Brown Myotis, Northern Myotis and Tri-colored Bat each consume significant quantities of insects that damage a variety of Canadian crops, including wheat, barley, corn, oats, canola, flaxseed, and other oilseeds. The pest control services offered by these three species of bats also result in avoided expenditures on pesticides. It can be safely assumed that the absence of these bats would have a negative impact on Canadian agricultural and forestry sectors, and to property owners and municipalities, either via reduced crop yields or costs associated with additional insecticide use.
A Strategic Environmental Assessment was conducted and concluded that the Emergency Listing Order would have positive environmental effects and would support Goal 4: “Conserving and Restoring Ecosystems, Wildlife and Habitat and Protecting Canadians,” and its target to “Conserve and Restore Ecosystems, Wildlife and Habitat” of the Federal Sustainable Development Strategy. In addition, the Emergency Listing Order would contribute to Target 4.1.6: “Fulfill the federal government’s obligation under the Species at Risk Act to evaluate populations and to add, reclassify or remove species listed under the Act and plan for their recovery.”
In addition to pest control, bats offer inspiration behind scientific and technological innovations in communications, biomimetics, aerospace engineering and medicine, as well as the redistribution of nutrients and recreational bat watching.
As the rates of decline for each of the three bat species are high, by aiming to prevent the human-assisted spread of the fungus that causes WNS, this Emergency Listing Order will help prevent the accelerated decline in their populations, allowing for the possibility of recovery and survival in Canada.
In terms of known impacts on Canadian society overall, the incremental costs of listing the three bat species are expected to be relatively low. The only expected costs are associated with compliance promotion and enforcement costs to the federal government. Looking only at wind energy, there may be some foregone revenues in this sector of approximately up to $680,000 (present value, discounted at 3%) over the 10-year period from 2015 to 2024. Up to $660,000 of this foregone wind energy production would be borne by Aboriginal community-owned businesses. However, since this foregone production will be made up for by increases in other forms of electricity generation, there is no overall economic impact from a societal perspective. Any impacts on other industries are expected to be minimal.
Insignificant negative environmental effects are expected from this proposal. Consequently, residual environmental effects will be minimal. Given the important services provided by these three bat species, the irreversibility of the dramatic decline they are facing, the anticipated low economic impact and the important protection for individuals and residences afforded through the listing under SARA, it is believed that the implementation of this Emergency Listing Order is a key course of action. As noted earlier, other actions are also needed for the survival and recovery of these three bat species in Canada.
Implementation, enforcement and service standards
Environment Canada developed a compliance strategy for the Emergency Listing Order, to address the first five years of implementation of compliance promotion and enforcement activities related to SARA’s general prohibitions. Compliance promotion initiatives are proactive measures that encourage voluntary compliance with the law through education and outreach activities. While offering explanations of the legal requirements under SARA, these activities raise awareness and understanding of SARA’s general prohibitions.
The compliance strategy addresses compliance with SARA’s general prohibitions for the three bat species listed as Endangered on Schedule 1 of SARA on federal lands in the provinces and only on federal lands in the territories that are under the authority of the Minister of the Environment or the Parks Canada Agency. It outlines the priorities, affected communities, timelines and key messages for compliance activities. The compliance strategy aims to increase awareness and understanding of the Emergency Listing Order among the affected communities, promote the adoption of behaviours by the affected communities that will contribute to the overall conservation and protection of wildlife at risk, achieve compliance by the affected communities, and enhance the knowledge of these communities regarding species at risk.
The Government of Canada will promote compliance with the general prohibitions of SARA through means that may include online resources posted on the Species at Risk Public Registry, fact sheets, mail-outs and presentations. These means will specifically target groups who may be affected by this Emergency Listing Order and whose activities could contravene the general prohibitions, including other federal government departments, Aboriginal communities, recreational and commercial cavers, mining companies, wind turbine operators, pest control companies, and staff and users of Parks Canada sites.
The listing of the species as Endangered in Schedule 1 of SARA triggers the need to develop a recovery strategy within one year. Recovery strategies identify the threats to survival of the species and also identify the species’ critical habitat, i.e. the habitat necessary for the recovery of species, based solely on biological considerations. It is not always possible to identify critical habitat in a recovery strategy, and in those cases, a schedule of studies outlining the activities required to obtain the information necessary to complete the identification of critical habitat will be included.
If critical habitat is identified on federal lands, it must be legally protected. There are a number of tools under SARA to accomplish this. For example, the Minister of the Environment may post a statement describing how the habitat is protected by existing federal Acts, and/or order additional protection in the event there are gaps in existing federal legislation. For portions of critical habitat on non-federal lands, SARA allows for effective protection of the critical habitat by the responsible management authority (e.g. provinces/territories or other stakeholders). In cases where critical habitat on non-federal lands is assessed as not being protected, the Governor in Council, on the recommendation of the competent minister, can make regulations to protect this critical habitat.
SARA provides for penalties for contraventions to the Act, including liability for costs, fines or imprisonment, alternative measures agreements, and seizure and forfeiture of items seized or of the proceeds of their disposition. SARA also provides for inspections and search and seizure operations by enforcement officers designated under SARA. Under the penalty provisions of the Act, a corporation found guilty of a punishable offence on summary conviction (a less serious offence) is liable to a fine of not more than $300,000, a non-profit corporation is liable to a fine of not more than $50,000, and any other person is liable to a fine of not more than $50,000 or to imprisonment for a term of not more than one year, or to both. A corporation found guilty of an indictable offence (offence of a more serious nature) is liable to a fine of not more than $1,000,000, a non-profit corporation to a fine of not more than $250,000, and any other person to a fine of not more than $250,000 or to imprisonment for a term of not more than five years, or to both.
Wildlife Program Support Division
Canadian Wildlife Service
Department of the Environment
Small Business Lens Checklist
1. Name of the sponsoring regulatory organization:
2. Title of the regulatory proposal:
3. Is the checklist submitted with a RIAS for the Canada Gazette, Part I or Part II?Canada Gazette, Part I Canada Gazette, Part II
A. Small business regulatory design
|Communication and transparency
|Are the proposed Regulations or requirements easily understandable in everyday language?
|Is there a clear connection between the requirements and the purpose (or intent) of the proposed Regulations?
|Will there be an implementation plan that includes communications and compliance promotion activities, that informs small business of a regulatory change and guides them on how to comply with it (e.g. information sessions, sample assessments, toolkits, Web sites)?
|If new forms, reports or processes are introduced, are they consistent in appearance and format with other relevant government forms, reports or processes?
|While affected stakeholders will need to start filling out forms to apply for permits, this regulation is an amendment to the existing Species at Risk Act (SARA) therefore there will be no new forms, reports or processes.
|Simplification and streamlining
|Will streamlined processes be put in place (e.g. through BizPaL, Canada Border Services Agency single window) to collect information from small businesses where possible?
|Streamlining is not applicable because this is an amendment to SARA and existing permitting processes are already in place.
|Have opportunities to align with other obligations imposed on business by federal, provincial, municipal or international or multinational regulatory bodies been assessed?
|Opportunities to align were not assessed because this is an amendment to SARA and existing permitting processes are already in place. In addition, the prohibition only applies on federal lands, where other governments have no jurisdiction.
|Has the impact of the proposed Regulations on international or interprovincial trade been assessed?
|Due to the urgent nature of this Emergency Listing Order, the impact on interprovincial or international trade was not assessed. It is expected that the only very minor impacts on wind energy production will not impact interprovincial trade. It is also expected that no other businesses will be impacted because this listing will not require new standards for manufactured products (which is typically the domain for trade complications — non-tariff barriers etc.).
|If the data or information, other than personal information, required to comply with the proposed Regulations is already collected by another department or jurisdiction, will this information be obtained from that department or jurisdiction instead of requesting the same information from small businesses or other stakeholders? (The collection, retention, use, disclosure and disposal of personal information are all subject to the requirements of the Privacy Act. Any questions with respect to compliance with the Privacy Act should be referred to the department’s or agency’s ATIP office or legal services unit.)
|The permit applicant is required to provide information related to an assessment of whether and how the proposed activity will affect listed species at risk. This information is unique to each permit application, and not likely available through information the stakeholder may have provided to other departments and/or jurisdictions.
|Will forms be pre-populated with information or data already available to the department to reduce the time and cost necessary to complete them? (Example: When a business completes an online application for a licence, upon entering an identifier or a name, the system pre-populates the application with the applicant’s personal particulars, such as contact information, date, etc. when that information is already available to the department.)
|The permit applications require applicants to fill out the form themselves manually. Some items can be selected from a drop down menu, such as species and purpose. If the applicant is renewing a permit, their existing application can be cloned and they can modify as required. Because of the nature of SARA permits (so many different species/activities) and the assessment involved, the information required is very specific to the application.
|Will electronic reporting and data collection be used, including electronic validation and confirmation of receipt of reports where appropriate?
|Will reporting, if required by the proposed Regulations, be aligned with generally used business processes or international standards if possible?
|If additional forms are required, can they be streamlined with existing forms that must be completed for other government information requirements?
|No, because affected stakeholders will be following existing SARA permit application processes.
|Implementation, compliance and service standards
|Has consideration been given to small businesses in remote areas, with special consideration to those that do not have access to high-speed (broadband) Internet?
|If regulatory authorizations (e.g. licences, permits or certifications) are introduced, will service standards addressing timeliness of decision making be developed that are inclusive of complaints about poor service?
|Is there a clearly identified contact point or help desk for small businesses and other stakeholders?
B. Regulatory flexibility analysis and reverse onus
|Regulatory flexibility analysis
|Does the RIAS identify at least one flexible option that has lower compliance or administrative costs for small businesses in the small business lens section?
Examples of flexible options to minimize costs are as follows:
|No flexible option is possible due to the requirements of the Species at Risk Act. The general prohibitions come into effect upon listing the three bat species and there is no legislated authority to provide a regulated exemption for small business, nor an option to delay the implementation of the general prohibitions.
|Does the RIAS include, as part of the Regulatory Flexibility Analysis Statement, quantified and monetized compliance and administrative costs for small businesses associated with the initial option assessed, as well as the flexible, lower-cost option?
|This is not applicable because there is no flexible option being offered.
|Does the RIAS include, as part of the Regulatory Flexibility Analysis Statement, a consideration of the risks associated with the flexible option? (Minimizing administrative or compliance costs for small business cannot be at the expense of greater health, security, safety or environmental risks for Canadians.)
|This is not applicable because there is no flexible option being offered.
|Does the RIAS include a summary of feedback provided by small business during consultations?
|This is because after targeted consultations and follow-up calls in Ontario, which included the affected small businesses (Aboriginal-owned wind farms), no response or comments were received by Environment Canada.
|If the recommended option is not the lower-cost option for small business in terms of administrative or compliance costs, is a reasonable justification provided in the RIAS?
|Since there is no lower cost option being offered through a regulatory flexible option, this does not apply.
- Footnote a
S.C. 2002, c. 29
- Footnote b
S.C. 2002, c. 29
- Footnote 1
S.C. 2002, c. 29
- Footnote 2
COSEWIC. (2012) Technical Summary and Supporting Information for an Emergency Assessment of the Little Brown Myotis Myotis lucifugus, Graham Forbes, Co-Chair, Terrestrial Mammal Subcommittee, COSEWIC, February 2012. p. 2.
- Footnote 3
COSEWIC (2012) Technical Summary and Supporting Information for an Emergency Assessment of the Northern Myotis Myotis septentrionalis, Graham Forbes, Co-Chair, Terrestrial Mammal Subcommittee, COSEWIC February 2012. p. 2, 9.
- Footnote 4
North, R. (2013) Bats may be wiped out by deadly fungus: researchers. CBC News, Canada. Retrieved from http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/nova-scotia/bats-may-be-wiped-out-by-deadly-fungus-researchers-1.1302138.
- Footnote 5
COSEWIC. (2012). Technical Summary and Supporting Information for an Emergency Assessment of the Northern Myotis Myotis septentrionalis, Graham Forbes, Co-Chair, Terrestrial Mammal Subcommittee, COSEWIC February 2012. p. 9.
- Footnote 6
This map was created using three sources: (i) COSEWIC (2013). COSEWIC assessment and status report on the Little Brown Myotis Myotis lucifugus, Northern Myotis Myotis septentrionalis and Tri-colored Bat Perimyotis subflavus in Canada. Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada. Ottawa. xxiv + 93 pp. (http://www.registrelep-sararegistry.gc.ca/default.asp?lang=En&n=24F7211B-1); (ii) Directory of Federal Real Property. Geographic Information vector digital data. Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. Extracted March 4, 2014; (iii) Statistics Canada (2011). Provinces and Territories Cartographic Boundary File. 2011 Census. Catalogue No. 92-160-G. http://www12.statcan.gc.ca/census-recensement/2011/geo/bound-limit/bound-limit-2011-eng.cfm.
- Footnote 7
In the territories, the Emergency Listing Order will apply to federal lands under the authority of the Minister of the Environment or Parks Canada Agency only. Therefore, other types of federal properties or reserve lands in the territories are not shown in the map.
- Footnote 8
All values originally reported in foreign currency were converted using the Bank of Canada’s average annual exchange rates. The values were then inflated to 2013 Canadian dollars, using an online calculator available on the Bank of Canada Web site. All values originally reported in nominal Canadian dollars were also converted to 2013 Canadian dollars using the same online calculator. (http://www.bankofcanada.ca/rates/related/inflation-calculator/).
- Footnote 9
- Footnote 10
- Footnote 11
- Footnote 12
- Footnote 13
Ducummon, S. L. (2000). Ecological and economic importance of bats. Bat Conservation International. Austin, Texas, United States.
- Footnote 14
Kunz, T. H., Braun de Torrez, E., Bauer, D., Lobova, T., and Fleming, T. H. (2011). Ecosystem services provided by bats. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, 1223(1), 1-38.
- Footnote 15
Davy, C. (2013). Ecosystem Services Provided by Bats in Canada.
- Footnote 16
Statistics Canada. No date. Table 002-0001 Farm cash receipts, annual (dollars × 1,000) (table). CANSIM (database). Last updated May 27, 2014. http://www5.statcan.gc.ca/cansim/a26?lang=eng&retrLang=eng&id=0020001&paSer=&pattern=&stByVal=1&p1=1&p2=-1&tabMode=dataTable&csid= (accessed September 2, 2014).
- Footnote 17
Development of reduced-risk strategies through coordinated monitoring, forecasting and risk warning systems for insect pests of field crops in Canada. http://www.agr.gc.ca/eng/?id=1299084179336.
- Footnote 18
Statistics Canada. No date. Table 002-0005 Farm operating expenses and depreciation charges, annual (dollars × 1,000) (table). CANSIM (database). Last updated May 27, 2014. http://www5.statcan.gc.ca/cansim/a26?lang=eng&retrLang=eng&id=0020005&paSer=&pattern=&stByVal=1&p1=1&p2=-1&tabMode= dataTable&csid= (accessed September 2, 2014).
- Footnote 19
Cleveland, C. J., Betke, M., Federico, P., Frank, J. D., Hallam, T. G., Horn, J., and Kunz, T. H. (2006). Economic value of the pest control service provided by Brazilian free-tailed bats in south-central Texas. Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment, 4(5), 238-243.
- Footnote 20
Wilson, J. M., and Barclay, R. M. (2006). Consumption of caterpillars by bats during an outbreak of western spruce budworm. The American midland naturalist, 155(1), 244-249.
- Footnote 21
Randall, L. A., Barclay, R.M., Reid, M. L., and Jung, T. S. (2011). Recent infestation of forest stands by spruce beetles does not predict habitat use by little brown bats (Myotis lucifugus) in southwestern Yukon, Canada. Forest Ecology and Management, 261: 1950-1956.
- Footnote 22
Dodd, L. E., Chapman, E. G., Harwood, J. D., Lacki, M. J., and Rieske, L. K. (2012). Identification of prey of Myotis septentrionalis using DNA-based techniques. Journal of Mammalogy, 93(4), 1119-1128.
- Footnote 23
Davy, C. (2013). Ecosystem Services Provided by Bats in Canada.
- Footnote 24
- Footnote 25
Arrow, K. J., and Fisher, A. C. (1974). Environmental preservation, uncertainty, and irreversibility. The Quarterly Journal of Economics, 312-319.
- Footnote 26
Horn, J. W., Arnett, E. B., and Kunz, T. H. (2008). Behavioral responses of bats to operating wind turbines. The Journal of Wildlife Management, 72(1), 123-132.
- Footnote 27
These three species of bats do not fly when it is windy outside because they only fly when they need to feed. Given that their main source of food (insects) does not fly during windy weather, these three species of bats will not likely be out feeding during windy weather. Therefore, for any incremental loss of production to occur, mitigation measures would only take place when wind speeds are low.
- Footnote 28
This reflects the cubic effect of wind speed on power production.
- Footnote 29
Based on data from the Energy, Environment and Economic (E3MC) Model at Environment Canada.
- Footnote 30
This time range will be subject to the conditions of permits issued.
- Footnote 31
Arnett, E. B., Hein, C. D., and Patterson, R. (2011). The Bats and Wind Energy Cooperative. Retrieved from http://www.batsandwind.org/pdf/BWEC_Synthesis_2004-2011.pdf.
- Footnote 32
Baerwald, E. F., Edworthy, J., Holder, M., and Barclay, R. M. (2009). A Large-Scale Mitigation Experiment to Reduce Bat Fatalities at Wind Energy Facilities. The Journal of Wildlife Management, 73(7), 1077-1081.
- Footnote 33
Since the affected wind facilities may generate power for both in situ use and commercial purpose, the turbine owners may incur both foregone revenue and additional cost to obtain electricity from external sources for in situ use. The text above does not make a distinction between these two possible types of costs. Therefore, the reported “foregone revenue” should be regarded as a proxy that consists of both types of costs.
- Footnote 34
- Footnote 35
Mackasey, W. O., and Sudbury, O. (2000). Abandoned mines in Canada. WOM Geological Associates.
- Footnote 36
Rejuvenation refers to the process of transforming an underground mine into an open-pit mine. It is a type of brownfield redevelopment project.
- Footnote 37
Natural Resources Canada. (2012). Map 900A — Principal Mineral Areas of Canada (Sixty-Second Edition).
- Footnote 38
- Footnote 39
Natural Resources Canada. (2012) Map 900A — Principal Mineral Areas of Canada (Sixty-Second Edition) and the federal property were georeferenced using GIS to determine which active mines were within the area of interest.