Joint Meeting of the Canadian Councils of Resource Ministers (CCRM) and Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment (CCME)


YELLOWKNIFE, NORTHWEST TERRITORIES (October 13, 2006) - In the first joint meeting of the Canadian Councils of Resource Ministers (CCRM) and the Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment (CCME), federal, provincial and territorial ministers agreed on a number of initiatives required to sustain Canada's biodiversity and protect species at risk.

Northwest Territories Minister of Environment and Natural Resources Michael Miltenberger, host of the meeting, highlighted its importance and relevance. "With the increase in development activities in Canada, we must ensure our programs maintain the variety of animals and plants for people in Canada." Added the Minister, "Hosting this meeting in the Northwest Territories provided Ministers from across Canada an opportunity to see how important this work is, especially to northern residents who rely on these species for subsistence and economic needs."

Recognizing the link between the health of Canadians, the environment and the economy, Ministers agreed all governments and stakeholders need to work together to meet environmental challenges.

"In coming together as resource and environment ministers to discuss biodiversity issues, we are sending the message that the health and diversity of Canada's ecosystems is critical to Canada's economic future and the well being of Canadians and their environment." said CCRM Co-chair and federal Environment Minister Rona Ambrose.

"This conference has provided an opportunity for ministers to discuss issues that affect all our jurisdictions and impact on all our areas of responsibility," Saskatchewan Environment Minister and out-going CCME President John Nilson said. "We will continue to work to ensure that biodiversity, natural resource management and development and the environment are considered from a strategic and integrated perspective."

Ministers agreed to a national policy framework for the protection of species at risk and placed a priority on implementing the framework through a variety of initiatives. Ministers noted significant progress on completing bilateral cooperation agreements regarding species at risk.

A report on the status of Canada's protected areas was also reviewed and Ministers agreed to release it in the near future. The report documents the clear progress made by all of Canada’s jurisdictions in the establishment and management of Canada's parks and other protected areas. Together, governments have set aside close to one tenth of Canada's lands in protected areas, a growth of 19% over the last five years. Ministers also endorsed further action to enhance protected areas and directed future collaborative work towards this objective.

Ministers approved a Biodiversity Outcomes Framework for Canada developed jointly by federal, provincial and territorial governments. The Framework will be used to influence and connect the considerable biodiversity-related work taking place across Canada. It will be used as a tool to help monitor and report on progress and assist governments in more directly engaging Canadians in conservation planning, implementation and reporting.

Ministers also approved placing the issue of managing the bovine tuberculosis and brucellosis under the National Wildlife Disease Strategy.

Ministers further acknowledged release of Wild Species 2005, the second five-year report on the status of wild species in Canada. They also received the first report on the implementation of the Invasive Alien Species Strategy for Canada.

Canadian Endangered Species Conservation Council (CESCC), which consists of federal, provincial and territorial ministers with responsibilities for wildlife species, received the annual report of the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC) on the status of species at risk in Canada. CESCC Ministers thanked COSEWIC for its work and provided the committee with guidance for the coming year.

CESCC Ministers also approved release of the annual RENEW Report, which highlights actions to recover species at risk.

Ministers recognized the contribution of Aboriginal people to the conservation of Canada's biodiversity. The CESCC met with the National Aboriginal Committee on Species at Risk (NACOSAR) to examine ways to improve the effective involvement by Aboriginal people and communities in natural resource management. Ministers directed that best practices be identified to further involve Aboriginal people and that a report be prepared in the coming year.

All participants agreed that this first joint CCRM/CCME meeting had been particularly productive and that the discussions reinforced the Ministers' commitment to improve intergovernmental and cross-sector collaboration in addressing Canada's common biodiversity issues. Ministers also agreed that next year's meetings should have a special focus on integrating water issues into the biodiversity outcomes framework.

The chairs of the CCRM and CCME will discuss the hosting of next year's meeting.



Judy McLinton
Manager, Public Affairs and Communications
Government of the Northwest Territories
Environment and Natural Resources
(867) 873-7379

Media Relations
Environment Canada

Backgrounder: To follow

Canadian Councils of Resource Ministers / Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment (CCRM/CCME)