Photo Credit: Rachael Merrett


Today, the federal government announced that it has refused to issue an emergency order to protect endangered killer whales under the Species at Risk Actdespite the Ministers of Fisheries and Oceans, and of Environment and Climate Change making a recommendation for one.

An emergency order is a powerful tool that can rapidly cut through bureaucratic red tape to implement the most effective and timely actions required to protect endangered species under the Species At Risk Act. We are deeply disappointed that the Cabinet decided against the recommendation.

This is a unique situation because the Ministers recognized that an emergency order was needed and, if issued, would have made it easier and faster to implement what the science shows is needed to support the 74 remaining orcas. 

What does this mean for the whales?

The government this week made a series of announcements that could be the beginnings of real positive change for the whales—but the devil is in the details. It’s only over time that we’ll see whether these measures are put into place as a starting point in a series of immediate actions needed to save this species.

And this is where you come in.

The government has promised to have many measures in place by the time the whales come back in April and we’ll be calling on you in the coming weeks to tell the Prime Minister and his Cabinet that we expect them to keep their promises. We’ll be reaching out soon to let you know how to get that message to Ottawa loud and clear.

In the meantime, please read the official statement from GSA and our colleagues involved in the recent litigation, and share it.

Thank you for continuing to stand with us as we gain the protection needed to save these endangered whales.


Christianne Wilhelmson

Executive Director, Georgia Strait Alliance