Ontario’s natural heritage attacked from all sides

In recent days, the provincial government has put in play three fundamental rewrites of existing laws, which together would undo decades of progress on protecting and restoring Ontario’s natural heritage. These changes include the gutting of Ontario’s Endangered Species Act (ERO# 013-5033); exempting developers from protecting most of Ontario’s threatened and endangered species and their habitats (under omnibus Bill 108 ERO# 019-0021); and cutting away much of the natural heritage mandate of conservation authorities (ERO# 013-5018). Together, these changes would reverse painstaking, collaborative progress by hundreds of groups and innumerable volunteers, working over generations.

Naturally, TFN is extremely concerned about these changes and the impact they will have on natural heritage here in Toronto, as well as all across the province. Our recent letter to The Honourable Ministers Rod Phillips (Environment, Conservation and Parks) and Steve Clark (Municipal Affairs and Housing) outlines some of our most immediate concerns. We strongly urge TFN members and all Ontarians to learn more about the impacts of these changes and to voice your objections for the record.

Obviously, economic development and affordable housing are critical to the health of welfare of Ontarians, but solutions to these issues need not come at the expense of entire species, critical habitat, and rare natural beauty. TFN believes that business and industry in Ontario is capable of greater resourcefulness and innovation than these changes give them credit for.

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Note: As of May 7, 2019, the Environmental Registry does not offer the ability to comment on all schedules of Bill 108. TFN will update the content above when such becomes available on ero.ontario.ca.

The Toronto Field Naturalists wish to acknowledge this land through which we walk. For thousands of years it has been the traditional land of the Wendat, the Seneca, and most recently, the Mississauga of the Credit River. Today it is still the home to many Indigenous peoples from across Turtle Island and we are grateful to have the opportunity to be on this land.