In Canada, the conservation and management of polar bears lies with the Provinces and Territories, the federal government, and wildlife management boards. Their work is coordinated through the Polar Bear Administrative Committee (PBAC) which discusses management and protection measures for the species. Given that some aspects of polar bear management are also affected by international agreements (e.g. Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna or Flora), which are signed by the Government of Canada on behalf of all jurisdictions, PBAC was formed in 1969 to serve as a mechanism through which all interests could be considered and represented by consensus.
The Administrative Committee consists of one representative from each of the Provinces and Territories that have the management authority for polar bears (Manitoba, Newfoundland and Labrador, Northwest Territories, Nunavut, Ontario, Québec, and Yukon); the Canadian Wildlife Service; Parks Canada Agency; and co-management committees or boards that share legal responsibility for polar bears on behalf of aboriginal people.
The purpose of PBAC is to provide a forum for provincial, territorial, and federal jurisdictions to work together towards effective manage polar bears in Canada, and to ensure that Canada fulfills its obligations as a party to The International Agreement on the Conservation of Polar Bears and Their Habitat, as well as any other agreement involving polar bears.
The Polar Bear Technical Committee
The Polar Bear Technical Committee was established by the members of PBAC in 1970. The Technical Committee is composed of biologists from each jurisdiction and invited experts from user groups and other research organizations (such as universities) who have expertise with Aboriginal Traditional Knowledge (ATK) or scientific technical advice. The Technical Committee serves to facilitate management decisions by reviewing and discussing research results, and by making management recommendations to both the PBAC and directly to the constituent jurisdictions.
The Committee meets annually to review recommendations provided to it by the Polar Bear Technical Committee. The meetings also serve to help facilitate coordination among all Canadian jurisdictions that have polar bears, as well as Alaska and Greenland.
The Administrative Committee will discharge these functions by:
- Referring all research needed to conserve polar bears and their habitat in Canada to the Technical Committee;
- Evaluating the recommendations of the Technical Committee, and, when necessary making further recommendations to other advisory and/or decision making bodies; and
- Responding to requests for information from jurisdictions, boards, agencies and other bodies.
For more information, please visit PBAC’s website at www.polarbearcanada.ca