Species At Risk

Permits under the Endangered Species Act

What is a permit?

A permit authorizes a person to perform an activity that is not otherwise allowed under the Endangered Species Act (ESA)(e.g., harm or harass a species at risk, or damage or destroy its habitat), as long as certain requirements are met.

What kinds of permits exist under the Endangered Species Act?

There are five types of permits that may be issued under the ESA.

Permit Name Description & Examples
Health or safety
Health and Safety

For activities necessary for the protection of human health or safety

Example: To shore up a rock cliff where a peregrine falcon is nesting nearby to prevent a rock slide onto the road below. More

Protection or Recovery
Protection and Recovery

For activities where the main purpose is to assist the protection or recovery of the species

Example: To do a research project that will identify the habitat needs of an endangered turtle species. More

Social or Economic Benefit to Ontario
Social or Economic Benefit to Ontario

For activities that will result in a significant social or economic benefit to Ontario

Example: To build an international bridge that is expected to increase trade and investment between Canada and the U.S., that will increase border crossing capacity, and is expected to create thousands of construction jobs in Ontario, on land that includes habitat for species at risk. More

Aboriginal permit

For activities performed by Aboriginal persons or groups. More

Overall Benefit
Overall Benefit

For all other activities

Example: To build a housing development where a threatened plant grows, or to cut down an endangered tree to build a trail through private property. More

Find out how to get the permit you need

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.