Species At Risk

Avoidance

What is avoidance?

Avoidance means taking steps to prevent having any adverse effects on species at risk or their habitat (Habitat Protection). If you can work around protected species and habitat so that you won’t have any adverse effects on them, you won’t need an authorization under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) for your activity. This can be achieved by doing activities at a different time, in a different location or in a different way.

Examples of avoidance

There are a variety of ways you can avoid having adverse effects on species at risk and their habitat. These include:

Timing: Often, the adverse effects of an activity on a species at risk can be completely avoided by conducting the activity at certain times of the year. For example, by removing brush in the spring before migrating birds return to Ontario to breed, or in the fall after they leave for the winter, you can avoid interfering with their nests and young.

Location: Often, the adverse effects of an activity on a species at risk can be completely avoided by moving the activity to a slightly different location or by reducing the size of the area to be affected by the activity. For example, by planning the layout of a housing development so that it doesn’t overlap with the habitat of a plant species at risk, you can avoid harming the plant and destroying its habitat.

How it's done: There is usually more than one way to perform the same activity. Some ways are often better than others, in terms of whether or how they affect species at risk and their habitat. For example, building a floating or pipe dock rather than a crib dock, to avoid adverse effects to the shoreline in the habitat of species at risk fish.

Related Information


Contact your local MNR office as soon as possible to find solutions specific to your activity, location and species.

What’s at risk in my area?

How are species at risk identified?

How do I get a permit? How do I get a permit?

Find out what steps you need to take in order to get the permit you need.

Do I need a permit? Do I need a permit?

If the activity you are planning to do might affect species at risk then you may need a permit for your activity.

Permit Tracker ESA Permit Tracker

Use this tool to find out the status of permits and applications.

Other Authorizations Other Authorizations

These authorizations are intended to ensure that Ontario’s businesses and residents continue to prosper while protecting and recovering the province’s at-risk animals and plants.

Resources Resources

Check out this page for all kinds of information and how-to’s for a broad range of Endangered Species Act activities and topics.

Contact Us Contact us

Contact your local ministry office

Four steps to smart planning

Want to know if you can avoid adverse effects on species at risk so you won’t need a permit? Finding out if avoidance is possible requires a few steps:

  1. Plan ahead - find out if there are species at risk where your activity will take place. Sources of species at risk information should be reviewed.
  2. Take stock of the effects your activity may have on protected species and habitat. This may involve seeking advice from the Ministry of Natural Resources (MNR) and other species experts.
  3. Assess whether it’s possible to modify your plans to avoid having any adverse effects on the species and habitat.
  4. Check with your local MNR office for any information that could help you perform your activity without needing a permit.

How to avoid having any adverse effects on species at risk and their habitat will depend on the type of activity, species and habitat. Start by finding out what species or habitat are in your area and may be affected by your activity—you need to know what’s on or near your site to avoid adversely affecting it. You can find out more about avoidance measures for different protected species by contacting your local MNR office.

If you don’t think avoidance is an option for you, Ministry staff can advise whether you’ll need a permit for your activity or whether there are any other options that may apply to you.


The Endangered Species Act


Contact your local ministry office


Often the best source of local information on species at risk is your nearest ministry office. Call with your questions or concerns.