This month we felt it was important to share some very significant news; News that has been shared around Ontario in many circles and which affects your community, your safety, and your children’s health and wellbeing for the future.
In the last 2 years, massive changes to fish and wildlife protection, wetland and water protection, and nature conservation have occurred – and all while the world was distracted by COVID. Also, we can expect more major changes in the next weeks…
First, the provincial government has undermined protection for species on the brink of extinction in Ontario, and has centralized authority so that Ford and his Ministers will have veto power to override even municipal protections to allow for development in critical wetlands, forests and habitats. This will have a trickle effect harming other species of fish and wildlife whose populations are also struggling; such as kingfishers, moose, painted turtles, lake trout, beaver, loons and more. Ontario was the first province in Canada to pass legislation to protect endangered species in 1971 and the Act was gold standard. It is now flaccid.
- Ontario Government Proposes to Reduce and/or Remove Protection of Species at Risk in Pay to Slay Legislation
Next, the provincial government reduced the rights of Ontarians to be informed and for their voices to be heard when it comes to major development proposals. The dismantling of the Environmental Bill of Rights makes way for major development to occur without the public necessarily knowing or even having any say in the matter.
- The Removal of Environmental Protections and Centralization of Powers (even above Municipalities) in the Name of COVID. Also you can Download the Details/Analysis by the Environmental Law Association
After that, the Ford government allowed forestry companies (and with a view to allowing aggregate companies) exemptions under the law, so that they don’t have to look out for Threatened and Endangered species in their practices- now practices may impact habitats and homes for wildlife from sawhet owls, bears, martins, fishers, songbirds, to caribou, wolverines, and more. This move has trappers and some smaller foresters extremely concerned because trap lines will be empty and seed sources, broad leaved plants, and soil mitochondria will be demolished by the spraying of Glyphosate, jeopardize the ability of functioning forests to regrow:
- Ontario Government Exempts Forestry and Looks to Exempt Aggregate Industry from Endangered Species Act Requirements
And now, in the same omnibus bill brought forward under the guise of COVID economic recovery, Ford, is removing the powers of Conservation Authorities. “The Conservation Authorities Act, 1946 was legislated by the province of Ontario in response to concerns expressed by agricultural, naturalist and sports groups who highlighted that much of the renewable natural resources of the province were in an unhealthy state as a result of poor land, water and forestry practices during the 1930s and 1940s.(Conservation Ontario).” Gutting this legislation removes public support systems that ensure our safety from flooding and that looks after water supplies for lakes, aquifers and food production, and that conserves our wetlands which contribute to water filtration, and provide essential habitat to 70% of Ontario’s fish and wildlife species.
And all these massive changes, which send us back almost a century in wisdom, rights and protections, have taken place in short order. Like his previous dismantling, Ford has rushed these changes through. The public only has almost no time or opportunity to express concerns.
If you wish to join those expressing concerns and be heard, click the link below, send a letter/email to our MPP, and spread the word.