Nesting barn swallows at Norman Rogers Airport, in Kingston, Ontario
Issue(s): Biological diversity, compliance and enforcement, other, transport
Petitioner(s): Canadian organization
Petitioner Location(s): Ottawa, Ontario
Date Received: 21 June 2017
Status: Completed—Response(s) to petition received
Summary: The petition concerns actions taken to control barn swallows at Norman Rogers Airport, in Kingston, Ontario. It alleges that the Species at Risk Act and the Migratory Birds Convention Act, 1994 were violated on two occasions, in 2016 and 2017, when officials sealed off two Barn Swallow colonies’ access to hangars 4 and 5 of the airport.
The petition notes that in 2011, the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada recommended listing the Barn Swallow as a threatened species in the Species at Risk Act, and that the species is already listed as threatened in Ontario’s Endangered Species Act, 2007. The petition points out that on 11 March 2017, Environment and Climate Change Canada issued a proposed amendment to Schedule 1 of the Species at Risk Act to implement the Committee’s recommendation to list the Barn Swallow as threatened.
The petition asks whether sealing off access of these two Barn Swallow colonies to their nests in hangars 4 and 5 violated the Species at Risk Act and the Migratory Birds Convention Act, 1994. It also raises concerns about how Transport Canada’s policies and regulations for airports respect these two acts and protect aerial insectivores, such as barn swallows, and their habitat. The petition asks whether Transport Canada’s management policies for aerial insectivore species at risk are consistent with the Department’s legal obligations to protect these species, and their residences and critical habitats.
The petition asks whether Transport Canada officials were aware of the 2011 recommendation of the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada when they ordered that the nests of barn swallows in hangars 4 and 5 be sealed up to comply with the Department’s policy to prevent bird breeding at airports. The petition presents evidence that the risks to aviation safety from barn swallows are non-existent or minimal, and it asserts that one of the nesting colonies was several decades old. It asks Transport Canada to provide the evidence of Barn Swallow nesting threats to aviation at Norman Rogers Airport that was used to justify the sealing off of hangars 4 and 5.
The petition also asks Transport Canada to confirm the accuracy of the Parliamentary Secretary’s statement to the Minister of Transport on 13 June 2017 in the House of Commons that neither the Minister of Transport nor Department officials had knowledge of the action to remove the barn swallows at Norman Rogers Airport.
Federal departments responsible for reply: Environment and Climate Change Canada, Transport Canada