Evidence of meeting #9 for Environment and Sustainable Development in the 40th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament’s site, as are the minutes.) The winning word was species.

A recording is available from Parliament.

On the agenda

MPs speaking

Also speaking

  • Cynthia Wright  Acting Assistant Deputy Minister, Environmental Stewardship Branch, Department of the Environment
  • Pardeep Ahluwalia  Director General, Species at Risk Directorate, Department of Fisheries and Oceans
  • Mike Wong  Executive Director, Ecological Integrity Branch, Parks Canada Agency

9:20 a.m.

Acting Assistant Deputy Minister, Environmental Stewardship Branch, Department of the Environment

Cynthia Wright

At Environment Canada for all activities, it's about $60 million—$59.9 million. That would include science, direct enforcement, our administrative responsibilities, including managing the listing process, the actions we take. It would also include the significant funds to fund other stewardship activities by others, including the habitat stewardship program I mentioned.

That does not include the additional $22 million that was added in budget 2007 for enforcement activities, which now brings the number of enforcement officers in Environment Canada who are SARA-trained to 98.

9:20 a.m.

Liberal

David McGuinty Ottawa South, ON

To 98 officers?

9:20 a.m.

Acting Assistant Deputy Minister, Environmental Stewardship Branch, Department of the Environment

Cynthia Wright

Yes, 98 wildlife-trained officers.

9:20 a.m.

Liberal

David McGuinty Ottawa South, ON

Do you know what DFO is spending on SARA, and what Parks Canada is spending on SARA?

9:20 a.m.

Director General, Species at Risk Directorate, Department of Fisheries and Oceans

Pardeep Ahluwalia

The directed budget for species at risk activities within DFO is in the order of $27 million a year, and from that, as Cynthia has already mentioned, the types of activities are essentially the same. We have partitioned between salaries and operating expenditures, and of the $26 million or $27 million that we have, we directly fund about 104 full-time-equivalent staff positions and the rest of it is on the actual activities. Those 104 staff positions are for people who are dedicated to species at risk work.

9:20 a.m.

Liberal

David McGuinty Ottawa South, ON

Ms. Wright, going back to environment for a second, excluding the new funding for enforcement, how has your budget at Environment Canada for SARA been affected over the past five years?

9:25 a.m.

Acting Assistant Deputy Minister, Environmental Stewardship Branch, Department of the Environment

Cynthia Wright

It has increased. It increased significantly with budget 2007.

9:25 a.m.

Liberal

David McGuinty Ottawa South, ON

By how much? Do you know?

9:25 a.m.

Acting Assistant Deputy Minister, Environmental Stewardship Branch, Department of the Environment

Cynthia Wright

Yes. Overall, in 2006 we were spending $40 million, and in 2007-2008, $51 million. That's exclusive of enforcement.

9:25 a.m.

Liberal

David McGuinty Ottawa South, ON

On page 9 of your overheads, you talk about results and outcome from the COSEWIC species assessment process. You say that it has assessed a total of 775 species and 551 have been determined to be at risk in Canada. Is there a backlog for that assessment?

9:25 a.m.

Acting Assistant Deputy Minister, Environmental Stewardship Branch, Department of the Environment

Cynthia Wright

Mr. Chair, I believe you're inviting the chair of the COSEWIC committee, when you probably can get more into detail.

I wouldn't call it necessarily a backlog. Governments provide a general status report on the status of species in Canada. That's the 7,000-plus that we're tracking. That plus other sources of information go to COSEWIC, who then decide what they will assess. They have a system for selecting priorities. So I suppose it's a backlog in the sense that they haven't gone through all 7,700, but they are looking at trends and trying to assess those that look most likely to be endangered.

9:25 a.m.

Liberal

David McGuinty Ottawa South, ON

We're tracking 7,700 species?

9:25 a.m.

Acting Assistant Deputy Minister, Environmental Stewardship Branch, Department of the Environment

Cynthia Wright

In Canada, yes.

9:25 a.m.

Liberal

David McGuinty Ottawa South, ON

How many species do we have?

9:25 a.m.

Acting Assistant Deputy Minister, Environmental Stewardship Branch, Department of the Environment

Cynthia Wright

I think we have about 70,000 species in Canada.