Premier Doug Ford’s government announced their plans to review the provincial Endangered Species Act to cut the red tape and find efficiencies for businesses. This isn’t the first time Premier Doug Ford is attempting to dismantle Ontario’s environmental and animal protection to make Ontario “open for business”. Recently he tried to implement Bill 66 to open the Greenbelt for development but it was overturned. Now we have to act and speak up against this anti-environmental review. Based on the Discussion Paper, the goals of this review include:
- Ridding case-by-case review (“species-specific” approach) and utilizing a “landscape approach” to all applications
- Abandoning the mandatory protection of species and their habitats by allowing “ministerial discretion” to remove or delay protections
- Undercutting the current science-based listing of species at risk by
adding a review process before listing a species as protected. This second-guesses decisions of the Committee on the Status of Species at Risk in Ontario (COSSARO).
- Watering down legislated timelines for planning and implementation
- Lessening requirements to compensate for the damage done by industry and developers undertaking harmful activities. Companies will be allowed to pay into a conservation fund instead of meeting environmental requirements.
- Discarding the idea that individual habitat regulation is needed for each endangered species. Instead, a generalized habitat protection will apply across the board. This undercuts species-specific regulations.
- To loosen the “Significant social or economic benefit permit”, s. 17(2)(d): This would soften the existing legislation for applicants.
- Emphasize profit over environment
These changes allow industries to bulldoze Ontario’s vulnerable and protected ecosystem. The province is consulting with Ontarians under the guise of improving the “effectiveness” of environmental protections and ensuring a “balanced approach” to improve the environment and economy. However, a strong economy is dependent on a healthy environment.
Actions You Can Take
- Submit your comments to the Environmental Registry of Ontario – The deadline for comment is March 4th. You can use this sample letter from Ontario Nature for submitting online comments.
- Sign Ontario Nature’s petition letter which will go to your MP, Environmental Registry of Ontario and the Minister of Environment, Conservation and Parks, Rod Phillips.
- Share this post with others.
Some of the endangered species in Ontario include:
- Acadian Flycatcher
- Allegheny Mountain Dusky Salamander
- Fowler’s Toad
- Mountain Lion