Photo: Ontario species under siege

(Credit: Tin Can Forest)

By Rachel Plotkin, Ontario Science Projects Manager

Yesterday, the Environmental Commissioner of Ontario released a report called Laying Siege to the Last Line of Defence. It concluded that Ontario's Ministry of Natural Resources has failed to implement the province's Endangered Species Act (ESA). The much lauded legislation was supposed to protect species like American badgers, monarch butterflies, woodland caribou and more than 200 species that are at risk of extinction in the province.

Sign up for our newsletter

The Commissioner shares our conclusion that a controversial regulation that came into force this summer has greatly weakened the Act. The ESA originally mandated that companies operating in the habitat of species at risk had to, in most instances, improve a species' habitat. The regulation lowers these requirements to merely mitigating adverse impacts — basically minimizing the havoc they wreak — effectively giving a free pass to the forestry, mining and aggregate industries.

As noted in the Toronto Star today, more than 50 scientists recently stood up for Ontario species by writing a letter to Premier Kathleen Wynne, outlining concerns about the regulation. As one scientist, Professor Dennis Murray from Trent University, notes, "Why bother listing species when their protection status can simply be waived away when they become inconvenient to development?"

Ontario's Endangered Species Act was passed in 2007 and was recognized internationally as a gold standard in species legislation. We hope our elected officials are listening as Ontarians stand up for species. As the Environmental Commissioner noted, if the Endangered Species Act was gutted through regulation, then there is always the hope that it can be mended through regulation, too.

Want to help ? Take action by contacting your local MPP and letting them know that Ontario's endangered species deserve better.

November 7, 2013

Read more

Post a comment


Nov 10, 2013
4:20 PM

Wildlife is so beautiful, wonderful, and innocent, doing no harm to the planet, why are you not recognizing that fact, and not appreciating and respecting what the Devine Creator put on this planet to live in peace. Start using common sense, reasoning, empathy, compassion, wisdom and morals, and close the doors on immigration then start giving people better education, health care, and good paying jobs to help the social system if needed.

Nov 10, 2013
6:54 AM

I am deeply concerned about a government that announces progressive legislation to protect our endangered species/environment then turns around and renegs on it by allowing industry loop holes to destroy our remaining fragile ecosystems for money and profit-the insanity must stop!

The David Suzuki Foundation does not necessarily endorse the comments or views posted within this forum. All contributors acknowledge DSF's right to remove product/service endorsements and refuse publication of comments deemed to be offensive or that contravene our operating principles as a charitable organization. Please note that all comments are pre-moderated. Privacy Policy »