At over one million square kilometres in size and covering a huge variety of terrain and habitats, Ontario holds a high proportion of Canada’s biodiversity. Yet the government’s State of Ontario’s Biodiversity 2015 report signalled important areas of concern with the status and protection of the province’s species and ecosystems. For example, Ontario’s Endangered Species Act was once celebrated as one of the best laws aimed at protecting species at risk in Canada. But the legislation has been watered down with sweeping exemptions for some industries – including forestry — and undermined by weak and delayed implementation. Meanwhile, endangered species continue to struggle with growing threats, including habitat loss, pollution and climate change. It is time to review the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry’s implementation of the Endangered Species Act over the last eight years, while also acting immediately to help all wild species by expanding the province’s protected areas system.
- Create an independent expert advisory panel to review the implementation of the Endangered Species Act
- Devise, invest in, and implement an action plan to meet the 2020 Aichi Biodiversity Targets under the UN Convention on Biological Diversity, which calls for achieving protection of at least 17% our province’s lands.
- Invest in and commit to targeted monitoring of biodiversity and the effectiveness of recovery actions for species at risk across Ontario.
- Develop a clear regional conservation strategy for Ontario’s Far North that proactively considers ecological and social values for developing a protected areas system that meets Ontario’s commitment to protect at least 50% of the region.
- Work with First Nations and act on their recommendations for protected areas, including community conserved areas and world heritage sites, within their traditional territories.
Information contact: Anne Bell Ontario Nature 416-444-8419 ext. 239 firstname.lastname@example.org