Legislation & Programs

Northwest Territories

The Species at Risk (NWT) Act came into force in February 2010. It provides a process and tools to identify, protect and recover species at risk in the Northwest Territories. It allows for concerns about species to be addressed at the NWT level. 

The Species at Risk Committee is an independent group of experts that assesses the biological status of species that may be at risk of extinction in the NWT using both traditional knowledge and scientific information.

The NWT General Status Ranking Program is a collaborative program that collects information on species of the Northwest Territories and does a coarse evaluation of the status of each species. Updated information on each species is kept in a referenced catalogue called the NWT Species Infobase.

The NWT Species Conservation and Recovery Fund provides funding for projects that support the long-term conservation and recovery of species that are at risk in the NWT.


The Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC) is a national committee of experts that assesses the biological status of species in Canada. Each species is assigned to a category of risk based on the best available scientific, community and Aboriginal traditional knowledge. COSEWIC makes a recommendation on “risk level” to the federal government. The evaluation process is independent, open and transparent. For more information on Canadian status assessment go directly to the COSEWIC website or view their Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ).

Some species in the NWT are legally listed under the federal Species at Risk Act (SARA), legislation for the protection of species at risk in Canada. After receiving COSEWIC's assessment and consulting with the appropriate Minister(s) and the wildlife management boards, the Minister of Environment Canada makes a recommendation to the Governor in Council and the decision is made on whether or not to add species to the list of species at risk (Schedule 1) on the Species at Risk Act, or to refer the matter back to COSEWIC for further information or consideration. For more information on SARA, visit the federal Species at Risk Public Registry.

The Habitat Stewardship Program for Species at Risk (HSP) funds projects that conserve and protect species at risk and their habitats. Click here for more info.

The Aboriginal Funds for Species at Risk (AFSAR) funding program is designed to help Aboriginal organizations and communities build capacity to enable them to participate actively in the conservation and recovery of species at risk. Click here for more info.