The deadline for public comments is March 4, 2019.
The Ontario government is reviewing its Endangered Species Act. But so far, the review appears to focus on making the act more efficient for economic development rather than improving outcomes for wildlife and habitat. Your voice can make a difference. But you must speak up now!
The Ontario Endangered Species Act is a last line of defence against extinction in an era that scientists have termed the sixth mass extinction on the planet.
Canada’s wildlife depends on innovative regulations, policies, and programs that make conservation of species at risk the primary goal.
Stronger and more effective action is the key to protection and recovery of Ontario’s endangered species and providing clarity for business, not building further holes in the Endangered Species Act. The Act already contains exemptions and permits for industry and the need for permits has been removed entirely for some activities that negatively impact species at risk.
The government wants to hear from people on four aspects of protecting endangered species that they pose as challenges to economic development.
Here’s what we think:
1. Landscape Approaches
We support recovering species by looking at the entire landscape and taking actions that will contribute the most to improving habitat and protecting species from harm; however, care must be taken to ensure the individual needs of each species are still taken into account. There are situations where a species-specific approach is still warranted.
2. Species Listing Process and Protections
The ability of the Committee on the Status of Species at Risk in Ontario (COSSARO) to determine the status of species, independent of government, is essential to the proper functioning of the Endangered Species Act (ESA). Improved communication and transparency in all aspects of species assessment and protection is warranted to provide clarity for the public and business.
Habitat loss or degradation is a primary cause for species decline. Automatic protection, combined with clear communication on where impacts can and cannot occur, would protect species while providing certainty of what to expect for economic development.
3. Species Recovery Policy and Habitat Regulations
Delays and inaction are detrimental to species while at the same time providing little economic certainty since business is uninformed of the parameters under which they must operate. What is needed for species and economic development is for government to focus resources on quickly providing the framework for protecting habitat and taking action.
4. Permitting Processes
We are in favour of consistent application and streamlining of decisions, which must also include decisions to deny a permit for an activity that would harm a species or its habitat. Permits allowing harm to endangered species or their habitat poses considerable risk so need to come with strict conditions. Extinction is permanent.
What you can do
Let the Ontario government know you want strong protection for Species at Risk in Ontario, which means a prioritization on conserving species at risk and the habitats they depend on through improved implementation of the Endangered Species Act in its current form.
Post your comment on the Environmental Registry by March 4, 2019
Post Your Comment
You can use all or part of CWF’s position as outlined above or craft your own response.
Protect Ontario’s Endangered Species Act. Protect Wildlife. Our economy will benefit by clear regulations, swift responses and improved communications, not by delays and exemptions in applying the Ontario Endangered Species Act, which is a critical backstop against extinction.
Find out more about endangered species in Ontario and CWF’s conservation efforts: