Resource firms face tougher rules if provincial action on threatened caribou deemed lacking – by Shawn McCarthy (Globe and Mail – October 10, 2017)

The federal government is warning it will impose tougher rules for resource companies working in the boreal forest unless provinces act to protect endangered caribou.

Companies involved in oil and gas, mining and forestry are facing a call from scientists and environmental groups that many threatened boreal caribou herds face extinction unless urgent action is taken to protect and restore habitat.

Industry officials, for their part, warn that regulatory uncertainty and the potential for restrictive regulations is jeopardizing investment and threatening the significant job losses in Northern and rural communities.

In a deal reached five years ago under the federal Species at Risk Act, provinces agreed to report to Ottawa last week on their efforts to ensure caribou are protected and threatened herds recover. However, most provinces missed the deadline for full recovery plans.

Environment and Climate Change Minister Catherine McKenna has until April to determine whether the provincial actions are adequate. If federal scientists determine some herds still face serious decline, Ms. McKenna must ask cabinet for an emergency protection order under which the federal government would impose its own plans.

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