Legislation


Background & History
The Nova Scotia Endangered Species Act (NS ESA) was proclaimed in 1999 and was one of the first provincial endangered species acts in Canada. This Act protects species in NS that have been assessed and determined to be at risk of extinction. There are over 20 species that are legally listed under the act - view complete list.

The Act prohibits the killing or disturbing species at risk (s11), destroying or disturbing its residence (s13), and destroying or disturbing of core habitat (s13). Penalties, both for individuals and corporations, can be incurred when the Act is violated (s13). To view the full NS Endangered Species Act click on the image above-right. See also the Regulations under the NS Endangered Species Act.

For more detailed information on the NS Endangered Species Act please contact us.

Species Assessment Process
Species listed under the NS Endangered Species Act are listed by the NS Species at Risk Working Group which consists of at least five academic biologists who, independent of government, scientifically evaluate the status of species. The NS Species at Risk Working Group status is assigned based on an assessment of biological factors and rigorous assessment criteria, followed by classification into categories (see categories below) based on level of risk. Species listed as at risk are then approved by the responsible minister and are included on the list of species at risk in NS and are then protected under the provincial NS Endangered Species Act. There are currently 24 species at risk in NS: view legally listed species at risk.

NS Endangered Species Working Group - NS Endangered Species Act
Species listed as at risk by the NS Endangered Species Working Group are approved by the responsible minister and are included on the list of species at risk in NS and are then protected under the provincial NS Endangered Species Act. The status assigned by the NS Endangered Species Working Group is based on an assessment of biological factors and rigorous assessment criteria, followed by classification into categories based on level of risk. Status categories are as follows:

  • Endangered - a species facing imminent extirpation or extinction.
  • Threatened - a species likely to become endangered if limiting factors are not reversed.
  • Vulnerable - a species of special concern because of characteristics that make it particularly sensitive to human activities or natural events.

COSEWIC (Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada) - Species at Risk Act
Species listed as at risk by COSEWIC (Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada) are approved by the appropriate minister and are included on the Schedule 1 which means they are protected under the national Species at Risk Act (SARA).

The COSEWIC status is assigned based on an assessment of biological factors and rigorous assessment criteria, followed by classification into categories based on level of risk. Status categories are as follows:

  • Endangered - a species facing imminent extirpation or extinction.
  • Threatened - a species likely to become endangered if limiting factors are not reversed.
  • Special Concern - (formerly "vulnerable") a species of special concern because of characteristics that make it particularly sensitive to human activities or natural events.

General Status
For more detailed information on the General Status assessment process please visit the General Status web page. The Nova Scotia General Status Rankings are based on a set of criteria that are evaluated by a group of scientists and wildlife experts. NS General Status ranks are as follows:

  • Red - any species known to be, or believed to be, at risk.
  • Yellow - any species known to be, or believed to be, particularly sensitive to human activities or natural events.
  • Green - any species known to be, or believed to be, not at risk.
  • Grey - Indeterminate species, insufficient information to determine status